Dr. Tian is an environmental epidemiologist with a focus on air pollution and health. He is conducting field epidemiology and laboratory work on indoor air pollution and lung cancer in Xuan Wei County, which has the highest lung cancer rates among women in China. Using spatial analysis of coal use patterns and lung cancer rates in hundreds of villages, he has raised the hypothesis that crystalline silica (quartz) in coal smoke is an important risk factor in the lung cancer epidemic in rural Xuan Wei. Currently he is working to quantify quartz and other carcinogens in coal smoke and to determine whether an exposure-response relationship can be found. Should such a linkage be found he would advocate a ban of certain types of toxic coals for residential use in China. Further, he would identify reference carcinogenic materials in coal smoke for further laboratory carcinogenesis studies.
Urbanized Hong Kong provides another unique setting to study air pollution and health. Its high density of people and vehicles, high-rise buildings, a rich resource of accessible environmental measurement and healthcare data, and various air pollution control policies offers a great opportunity for valuable environmental epidemiology. Dr. Tian has completed exploratory analysis of publicly available data at the population level and has generated interesting hypotheses relating adverse health outcomes which may be impacted by the Hong Kong’s pollutants and sources. Analytical studies which include personal exposure and biomarker measurements will be conducted to further test these hypotheses, infer possible causal relationships, and to inform risk-based air quality control policies.
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