Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: November 27, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412953948 | Print ISBN: 9781412928168 | Online ISBN: 9781412953948| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Harvard Six Cities Study
The Harvard Six Cities Study was a large-scale study of the effects on human health of fossil fuel emissions, in particular, sulfur dioxide and respirable particulate matter (soot). It was inaugurated by Benjamin Ferris and involved many faculty members and researchers at Harvard University, including John Spengler, Douglas Dockery, and Frank Speizer. This study provided evidence that, in concert with similar results from other studies, prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to raise air quality standards. One impetus for the study was a belief in the United States in the 1970s that, due to the Middle East oil embargo, high-sulfur coal would be used more widely as an energy source in the future. Coal was a well-known source of air pollution (e.g., the combination of pollution due to soft coal combustion and a temperature inversion was associated with a temporary doubling in the death rate in the London smog disaster of ...