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June 7, 2004

Environmental Health Sciences Researchers Receive Aerosol Paper Award

May 2004 graduate Aleksandr Stefaniak, PhD, and Professor Patrick Breysse, PhD, MHS, with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Department of Environmental Health Sciences, along with co-authors, were recently awarded the 2003 David L. Swift Memorial Award. The award is given annually by the Aerosol Technology Committee of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA).

The paper, entitled, “Surface Area of Respirable Beryllium Metal, Oxide and Copper Alloy Aerosols and Implications for Assessment of Exposure Risk of Chronic Beryllium Disease,” deals with chronic beryllium disease in the work place. Epidemiologic studies of chronic beryllium disease suggest that all beryllium materials from different sources with different chemical properties may have different toxicity. Current practice, however, is to measure the mass of total beryllium in air assuming all beryllium materials have equal toxicity. Stefaniak, Breysse and colleagues found that there are important differences in various beryllium materials that may help to explain the differences in toxicity. The authors investigated mechanisms of particle formation and concluded that surface area of beryllium particles is an important determinant of toxicity. The study was published in the May/June 2003 issue of the American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal.

Dr. Stefaniak, the study's lead author, said, "Up until recently, people where focusing on how much beryllium a person was exposed to, but we think people should look at how much actually disolves in the lungs. We would like to see our surface area research change the way people think about beryllium exposure."

The award was presented at the AIHA’s 2004 Conference and Expo on May 10, during the podium session, “Aerosols Technology.” The award honors the memory of Johns Hopkins professor David L. Swift for his contributions to aerosol and industrial hygiene research.

“I am particularly appreciative of this award as I was a student and colleague of Dr. Swift. He was my mentor and a valued colleague. David made many outstanding contributions to science and education. It is quite an honor to be recognized in this manner,” said Dr. Breysse.

"Dr. Swift was one of the reasons I wanted to come to Hopkins. He was such an admired faculty member here and to receive this award as a student is a priviledge," said Dr. Stefaniak. -- Kenna L. Lowe

Public Affairs media contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Kenna Lowe or Tim Parsons at 410-955-6878 or paffairs@jhsph.edu.