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EPA Awards over $900,000 to TU to Research Impacts of Climate Change in Tribal Areas

Release Date: 07/23/2014
Contact Information: Joe Hubbard or Jennah Durant at 214-665-2200 or

DALLAS – (July 23, 2014) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the University of Tulsa (TU) are seeking new ways to protect tribal communities. EPA awarded $919,988 to TU to study methods to improve indoor air quality and reduce asthma triggers in schools. 

 “EPA is pleased to be working with University of Tulsa to help find new and innovative ways to improve air quality on tribal communities,” said Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “This effort gives us an opportunity to improve indoor air quality by increasing awareness of environmental health risks.”

Air quality information from the Cherokee Nation of northeast Oklahoma, the Nez Perce Tribe Reservation and surrounding area of west central Idaho, and the Navajo Nation in the Shiprock, New Mexico region will be used to study the health impacts of climate change and indoor air pollution on tribal communities. Tribal nations rely on many natural resources to maintain traditional diets, customs, and languages. The research will identify the impacts of pollution and climate change, and influence decisions to reduce health risks.

“We’re trying to develop a deeper understanding of the interactions in and between school and home environments pertaining to the health of children,” said Richard Shaughnessy, Founder and Director of Research for TU’s Indoor Air Program. “Attention to both settings will help us draft a more complete profile of the air quality tribal children are exposed to throughout the day.”

Since 2000, EPA has funded 10 research projects focused on tribal communities through the Science to Achieve Results Tribal Environmental Health grants. The tribal research grants have helped reform local policies and provided communities with tools to inform them about the potential dangers.

EPA regularly works with organizations to reduce the environmental health risks of indoor air contaminants such as radon and asthma triggers. Indoor air pollutants in homes, buildings, and schools can negatively impact the health of occupants. Some pollutants cause health problems such as sore eyes, burning in the nose and throat, headaches or fatigue. Others can cause or worsen allergies, respiratory illnesses (such as asthma) or even cancer (from radon gas).

For more information on Tribal Environmental Health Research:

Information on the American Indian Environmental Office Tribal portal:

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