The presence of contaminants in the atmosphere can produce a wide variety of adverse effects, including increased mortality and morbidity in the public and deterioration of buildings and monuments. The adverse health effects of atmospheric contaminants cannot be avoided by staying inside either, since ambient air and its pollutants are transported indoors.
As a center, we already have significant intellectual resources to bring to bear on the problems of air pollution. The Center for Air Resources Engineering & Science (CARES) brings together a consortium of investigators to provide the focus and coordination to measure, model and suggest strategies that will lead to improved atmospheric conditions. This includes conditions in the ambient atmosphere, indoor atmospheres in homes and hospitals, and controlled atmospheres in commercial manufacturing operations.
Although we have substantially improved the ambient air quality over the past 30 years, a number of problems attributed to air pollution remain. Recent studies have shown that there has been a sharp rise in childhood asthma that has been linked with air pollution, but its causes are as yet unknown.