Athens, Ga. – A University of Georgia College of Public Health professor has received a $650,000 grant for research that aims to better understand the health risks posed to military personnel and civilians who work with jet fuel.
The grant, from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, allows Jeff Fisher in the department of environmental health science to develop a mathematical model that determines the amount of harmful chemicals present in the body based on a breath test. Fisher will also use rats to determine the levels at which the compounds in jet fuel become harmful.
Fisher said jet fuel exposure is probably the most common chemical exposure to military personnel and civilians working on military bases.
“Recent studies in rodents have shown that exposure to vapors from jet fuel may affect the immune system, and people who regularly work with it have complained of symptoms such as skin rashes and headaches,” Fisher said. “With this grant, we hope to generate information that can help minimize health risks to our military personnel and to others who regularly come into contact with jet fuel.”
Founded in 2005, the UGA College of Public Health offers the most comprehensive public health program within the University System of Georgia. It ranks sixth among the university’s 15 colleges and schools in research funding, with $4.7 million in external funding during fiscal year 2005-2006.