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Richard  Peltier - University of Massachusetts Amherst. Amherst, MA, US

Richard Peltier

Professor of Environmental Health Sciences | University of Massachusetts Amherst


Richard Peltier's research looks at how poor air quality affects human health.

Expertise (6)

Air Pollution and Health

Environmental Health

Face Masks

Aerosol filtration

Air Quality

Global Health


Richard Peltier heads the Aerosol Lab at UMass Amherst which investigates the chemical components of ambient particulate matter that have a significant effect on human health. His findings on the protective properties of face masks as protection against air pollution have been widely reported.

His urgent research at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic testing whether health care workers could safely reuse face masks designed for one-time use was noted around the world.

He is also known for his research on the properties of face masks as protection against air pollution.

Peltier’s expertise is often sought by national media outlets, government agencies and NGOs, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency He currently serves on the World Health Organization's Global Air Pollution and Health Technical Advisory Group.






Professor Richard Peltier Explains Mask Research Richard Peltier, a UMass Amherst Scientist, Works to Test Medical Face Masks for Reuse Richard Peltier talks about Air Pollution on WGBY | Connecting Point


Education (3)

Georgia Institute of Technology: Ph.D., Atmospheric Chemistry

Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health: Masters of Public Health, Public Health

University of Massachusetts: B.S., Biology

Select Media Coverage (9)

California and other Western states see spikes in unhealthy air pollution as national levels improve

NBC News  online


Wildfires were largely responsible for the short-term spikes, according to Richard Peltier, an associate professor of environmental health sciences at University of Massachusetts Amherst, who was not involved in the report. “We’ve made great strides across the United States to improve our air quality, but we’re still getting pinched by these external effects like wildfires that are related to climate change,” he said.

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Only hot spots and flare-ups are left of the Indiana plastics recycling plant fire. But residents’ health worries linger as EPA detects asbestos and organic pollutants

CNN  tv


“Contaminated soil will continue (to) leech contaminants, both up into the air, and down into the surrounding ground,” Richard Peltier, an environmental health scientist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, told CNN in an email. “Every time it rains, a flood of new contaminants will enter the ecosystem.”

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Woman wants Haverhill cemetery soil tested after 'suspicious' waste dumped

CBS Boston  tv


It sure looks suspicious if there are hazardous components. I'd be very concerned about the soil contamination, and water contamination nearby because these things, once they get into the ground and into the soil, they will move whenever it rains," explained Richard Peltier, a University of Massachusetts Amherst Professor of Environmental Health Sciences.

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Pollution's fatal threat gains urgency after 9 million died in one year

NBC News  online


Richard Peltie comments on a newly-published report showing that air, water and toxic chemical pollution is responsible for around 9 million premature deaths each year, or one in six globally, on a par with deaths from smoking.

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The Flaming Lips Performed to People in Literal Bubbles. Is It Safer?

The New York Times  online


Richard Peltier comments about the safety of individual bubbles being used by audience and band members during recent concerts by the Flaming Lips.

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UMass study shows certain decontamination methods might not be safest for N95 masks

WHDH  tv


Richard Peltier said the study tested N95 masks that were used in hospitals to measure the impact of different cleaning techniques through a grant from the National “You can’t just assume that when we manipulate these masks, which really are meant to be disposable, that we’re not damaging them in a way that we don’t intend,” Peltier said. “This is a public health issue and public health has to be led by science.”

Richard Peltier

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Questions mount over mask decontamination machine once hailed as a game-changer

The Boston Globe  print


“It actually kind of blows my mind," Peltier said. "There are lots of people who are worried about wearing these things . . . At the same time, you have these corporate entities who are making decisions on what’s safe for somebody to wear, really in the absence of sound data.”

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Coronavirus Prompts Hospitals to Find Ways to Reuse Masks Amid Shortages

The Wall Street Journal  print


Richard Peltier, a health sciences professor at the University of Massachusetts, is investigating whether N95 masks can be reused by medical personnel.

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UMass Study Shows N95 Face Masks Can Be Reused After Sterilization

New England Public Radio  radio


UMass Amherst scientist Richard Peltier says he's shown that a high-grade medical mask — often considered disposable — can be sterilized and re-used at least once.

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Select Publications (1)

There’s no reason not to wear a mask — and still plenty of reasons to wear one

The Washington Post

Richard Peltier


Richard Peltier, writes a column about the benefits of continuing to wear a mask to protect against COVID-19 and why he chooses to still wear one. Peltier says “it is not a sign of weakness to wear a mask but a sign of compassion for others. It is not a political statement; it is one based in science.”

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