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Modeling the concentrations of on-road air pollutants in southern California.
ABSTRACT: High concentrations of air pollutants on roadways, relative to ambient concentrations, contribute significantly to total personal exposure. Estimation of these exposures requires measurements or prediction of roadway concentrations. Our study develops, compares, and evaluates linear regression and nonlinear generalized additive models (GAMs) to estimate on-road concentrations of four key air pollutants, particle-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PB-PAH), particle number count (PNC), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter with diameter <2.5 ?m (PM2.5) using traffic, meteorology, and elevation variables. Critical predictors included wind speed and direction for all the pollutants, traffic-related variables for PB-PAH, PNC, and NOx, and air temperatures and relative humidity for PM2.5. GAMs explained 50%, 55%, 46%, and 71% of the variance for log or square-root transformed concentrations of PB-PAH, PNC, NOx, and PM2.5, respectively, an improvement of 5% to over 15% over the linear models. Accounting for temporal autocorrelation in the GAMs further improved the prediction, explaining 57-89% of the variance. We concluded that traffic and meteorological data are good predictors in estimating on-road traffic-related air pollutant concentrations and GAMs perform better for nonlinear variables, such as meteorological parameters.
Project description:Relatively few studies have characterized differences in intra- and inter-neighborhood traffic-related air pollutant (TRAP) concentrations and distance-decay gradients in along an urban highway for the purposes of exposure assessment. The goal of this work was to determine the extent to which intra- and inter-neighborhood differences in TRAP concentrations can be explained by traffic and meteorology in three pairs of neighborhoods along Interstate 93 (I-93) in the metropolitan Boston area (USA). We measured distance-decay gradients of seven TRAPs (PNC, pPAH, NO, NOX, BC, CO, PM2.5) in near-highway (<400 m) and background areas (>1 km) in Somerville, Dorchester/South Boston, Chinatown and Malden to determine whether (1) spatial patterns in concentrations and inter-pollutant correlations differ between neighborhoods, and (2) variation within and between neighborhoods can be explained by traffic and meteorology. The neighborhoods ranged in area from 0.5 to 2.3 km2. Mobile monitoring was performed over the course of one year in each pair of neighborhoods (one pair of neighborhoods per year in three successive years; 35-47 days of monitoring in each neighborhood). Pollutant levels generally increased with highway proximity, consistent with I-93 being a major source of TRAP; however, the slope and extent of the distance-decay gradients varied by neighborhood as well as by pollutant, season and time of day. Correlations among pollutants differed between neighborhoods (e.g., ? = 0.35-0.80 between PNC and NOX and ? = 0.11-0.60 between PNC and BC) and were generally lower in Dorchester/South Boston than in the other neighborhoods. We found that the generalizability of near-road gradients and near-highway/urban background contrasts was limited for near-highway neighborhoods in a metropolitan area with substantial local street traffic. Our findings illustrate the importance of measuring gradients of multiple pollutants under different ambient conditions in individual near-highway neighborhoods for health studies involving inter-neighborhood comparisons.
Project description:Numerous studies have linked criteria air pollutants with adverse birth outcomes, but there is less information on the importance of specific emission sources, such as traffic, and air toxics.We used three exposure data sources to examine odds of term low birth weight (LBW) in Los Angeles, California, women when exposed to high levels of traffic-related air pollutants during pregnancy.We identified term births during 1 June 2004 to 30 March 2006 to women residing within 5 miles of a South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Multiple Air Toxics Exposure Study (MATES III) monitoring station. Pregnancy period average exposures were estimated for air toxics, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), source-specific particulate matter < 2.5 ?m in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5) based on a chemical mass balance model, criteria air pollutants from government monitoring data, and land use regression (LUR) model estimates of nitric oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Associations between these metrics and odds of term LBW (< 2,500 g) were examined using logistic regression.Odds of term LBW increased approximately 5% per interquartile range increase in entire pregnancy exposures to several correlated traffic pollutants: LUR measures of NO, NO2, and NOx, elemental carbon, and PM2.5 from diesel and gasoline combustion and paved road dust (geological PM2.5).These analyses provide additional evidence of the potential impact of traffic-related air pollution on fetal growth. Particles from traffic sources should be a focus of future studies.
Project description:Objective To investigate the relation between exposure to both air and noise pollution from road traffic and birth weight outcomes.Design Retrospective population based cohort study.Setting Greater London and surrounding counties up to the M25 motorway (2317 km2), UK, from 2006 to 2010.Participants 540?365 singleton term live births.Main outcome measures Term low birth weight (LBW), small for gestational age (SGA) at term, and term birth weight.Results Average air pollutant exposures across pregnancy were 41 ?g/m3 nitrogen dioxide (NO2), 73 ?g/m3 nitrogen oxides (NOx), 14 ?g/m3 particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter <2.5 ?m (PM2.5), 23 ?g/m3 particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter <10 ?m (PM10), and 32 ?g/m3 ozone (O3). Average daytime (LAeq,16hr) and night-time (Lnight) road traffic A-weighted noise levels were 58 dB and 53 dB respectively. Interquartile range increases in NO2, NOx, PM2.5, PM10, and source specific PM2.5 from traffic exhaust (PM2.5 traffic exhaust) and traffic non-exhaust (brake or tyre wear and resuspension) (PM2.5 traffic non-exhaust) were associated with 2% to 6% increased odds of term LBW, and 1% to 3% increased odds of term SGA. Air pollutant associations were robust to adjustment for road traffic noise. Trends of decreasing birth weight across increasing road traffic noise categories were observed, but were strongly attenuated when adjusted for primary traffic related air pollutants. Only PM2.5 traffic exhaust and PM2.5 were consistently associated with increased risk of term LBW after adjustment for each of the other air pollutants. It was estimated that 3% of term LBW cases in London are directly attributable to residential exposure to PM2.5>13.8 ?g/m3during pregnancy.Conclusions The findings suggest that air pollution from road traffic in London is adversely affecting fetal growth. The results suggest little evidence for an independent exposure-response effect of traffic related noise on birth weight outcomes.
Project description:Numerous studies have associated air pollutant exposures with adverse birth outcomes, but there is still relatively little information to attribute effects to specific emission sources or air toxics. We used three exposure data sources to examine risks of preterm birth in Los Angeles women when exposed to high levels of traffic-related air pollutants--including specific toxics--during pregnancy.We identified births during 6/1/04-3/31/06 to women residing within five miles of a Southern California Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Multiple Air Toxics Exposure Study (MATES III) monitoring station. We identified preterm cases and, using a risk set approach, matched cases to controls based on gestational age at birth. Pregnancy period exposure averages were estimated for a number of air toxics including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), source-specific PM2.5 (fine particulates with aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 ?m) based on a Chemical Mass Balance model, criteria air pollutants based on government monitoring data, and land use regression (LUR) estimates of nitric oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Associations between these metrics and odds of preterm birth were estimated using conditional logistic regression.Odds of preterm birth increased 6-21% per inter-quartile range increase in entire pregnancy exposures to organic carbon (OC), elemental carbon (EC), benzene, and diesel, biomass burning and ammonium nitrate PM2.5, and 30% per inter-quartile increase in PAHs; these pollutants were positively correlated and clustered together in a factor analysis. Associations with LUR exposure metrics were weaker (3-4% per inter-quartile range increase).These latest analyses provide additional evidence of traffic-related air pollution's impact on preterm birth for women living in Southern California and indicate PAHs as a pollutant of concern that should be a focus of future studies. Other PAH sources besides traffic were also associated with higher odds of preterm birth, as was ammonium nitrate PM2.5, the latter suggesting potential importance of secondary pollutants. Future studies should focus on accurate modeling of both local and regional spatial and temporal distributions, and incorporation of source information.
Project description:Ultrafine particles are emitted at high rates by jet aircraft. To determine the possible impacts of aviation activities on ambient ultrafine particle number concentrations (PNCs), we analyzed PNCs measured from 3 months to 3.67 years at three sites within 7.3 km of Logan International Airport (Boston, MA). At sites 4.0 and 7.3 km from the airport, average PNCs were 2- and 1.33-fold higher, respectively, when winds were from the direction of the airport compared to other directions, indicating that aviation impacts on PNC extend many kilometers downwind of Logan airport. Furthermore, PNCs were positively correlated with flight activity after taking meteorology, time of day and week, and traffic volume into account. Also, when winds were from the direction of the airport, PNCs increased with increasing wind speed, suggesting that buoyant aircraft exhaust plumes were the likely source. Concentrations of other pollutants [CO, black carbon (BC), NO, NO2, NOx, SO2, and fine particulate matter (PM2.5)] decreased with increasing wind speed when winds were from the direction of the airport, indicating a different dominant source (likely roadway traffic emissions). Except for oxides of nitrogen, other pollutants were not correlated with flight activity. Our findings point to the need for PNC exposure assessment studies to take aircraft emissions into consideration, particularly in populated areas near airports.
Project description:Background:Air pollution exposures are novel contributors to the growing childhood obesity epidemic. One possible mechanism linking air pollution exposures and obesity is through changes in food consumption patterns. Objective:The aim of this study was to examine the longitudinal association between childhood exposure to air pollutants and changes in diet among adolescents. Design:School-age children were enrolled in the Southern California Children's Health Study during 1993-1994 (n = 3100) and were followed for 4-8 y. Community-level regional air pollutants [e.g., nitrogen dioxide (NO2), elemental carbon (EC), and fine particles with aerodynamic diameter <2.5 µm (PM2.5)] were measured at central monitoring stations. Line dispersion modeling was used to estimate concentrations of traffic-related air pollutants based on nitrogen oxides (NOx) at participants' residential addresses. In addition, self-reported diet information was collected annually using a structured youth/adolescent food-frequency questionnaire during 1997-2001. Generalized linear mixed-effects models were used in the association analyses. Results:Higher exposures to regional and traffic-related air pollutants were associated with intake of a high-trans-fat diet, after adjusting for confounders including socioeconomic status and access to fast food in the community. A 2-SD (12.2 parts per billion) increase in regional NO2 exposure was associated with a 34% increased risk of consuming a high-trans-fat diet compared with a low-trans-fat diet (OR: 1.34; 95% CI: 1.05, 1.72). In addition, higher exposures to acid vapor, EC, PM2.5, and non-freeway NOx were all associated with higher consumption of dietary trans fat (all P < 0.04). Notably, higher exposures to regional NO2, acid vapor, and EC were also associated with a higher consumption of fast food (all P < 0.05). Conclusions:Childhood exposures to regional and traffic-related air pollutants were associated with increased consumption by adolescents of trans fat and fast foods. Our results indicate that air pollution exposures may contribute to obesogenic behaviors. This study was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT03379298.
Project description:This study evaluates the COVID-19 impacts on traffic-related air pollution, including ultrafine particles (UFPs), PM2.5, black carbon (BC), NO, NO2, NOx, and CO in a Northwestern US city. Hourly traffic, air pollutants, and meteorological data on/near a major freeway in the downtown of Seattle, Washington, were collected for five weeks before and ten weeks after the Washington Stay Home Order (SHO) was enacted, respectively (February 17-May 31, 2020). The pollutants between pre- and post-SHO periods were compared, and their differences were statistically tested. Besides, first-order multivariate autoregressive (MAR(1)) models were developed to reveal the impacts specific to the change of traffic due to the COVID-19 responses while controlling for meteorological conditions. Results indicate that compared with those in the post-SHO period, the median traffic volume and road occupancy decreased by 37% and 52%, respectively. As for pollutants, the median BC and PM2.5 levels significantly decreased by 25% and 33%, relatively, while NO, NO2, NOx, and CO decreased by 33%, 29%, 30%, and 17%, respectively. In contrast, neither size-resolved UFPs nor total UFPs showed significant changes between the two periods, although larger particles (?115.5 nm) decreased by 4-29%. Additionally, significant differences were found in meteorological conditions between the two periods. Based on the MAR(1) models, controlling for meteorological conditions, the COVID-19 responses were associated with significant decreases in median levels of traffic-related pollutants including 11.5-154.0 nm particles (ranging from -3% [95% confidence interval (CI): -1%, -4%] to -12% [95% CI: -10%, -14%]), total UFPs (-7% [95% CI: -5%, -8%]), BC (-6% [95% CI: -5%, -7%]), PM2.5 (-2% [95% CI: -1%, -3%]), NO, NO2, NOx (ranging from -3% [95% CI: -2%, -4%] to -10% [95% CI: -18%, -12%]), and CO (-4% [95% CI, -3%, -5%]). These findings illustrate that the conclusion of the COVID-19 impacts on urban traffic-related air pollutant levels could be completely different in scenarios whether meteorology was adjusted for or not. Fully adjusting for meteorology, this study shows that the COVID-19 responses were associated with much more reductions in traffic-related UFPs than PM2.5 in the Seattle region, in contrast to the reverse trend from the direct empirical data comparison.
Project description:Commuting in automobiles can contribute substantially to total traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) exposure, yet measuring commuting exposures for studies of health outcomes remains challenging. To estimate real-world TRAP exposures, we developed and evaluated the robustness of a scripted drive protocol on the NJ Turnpike and local roads between April 2007 and October 2014. Study participants were driven in a car with closed windows and open vents during morning rush hours on 190 days. Real-time measurements of PM2.5, PNC, CO, and BC, and integrated samples of NO2, were made in the car cabin. Exposure measures included in-vehicle concentrations on the NJ Turnpike and local roads and the differences and ratios of these concentrations. Median in-cabin concentrations were 11 ?g/m3 PM2.5, 40 000 particles/cm3, 0.3 ppm CO, 4 ?g/m3 BC, and 20.6 ppb NO2. In-cabin concentrations on the NJ Turnpike were higher than in-cabin concentrations on local roads by a factor of 1.4 for PM2.5, 3.5 for PNC, 1.0 for CO, and 4 for BC. Median concentrations of NO2 for full rides were 2.4 times higher than ambient concentrations. Results were generally robust relative to season, traffic congestion, ventilation setting, and study year, except for PNC and PM2.5, which had secular and seasonal trends. Ratios of concentrations were more stable than differences or absolute concentrations. Scripted drives can be used for generating reasonably consistent in-cabin increments of exposure to traffic-related air pollution.
Project description:Traffic-related air pollution is associated with increased mortality and morbidity, yet few studies have examined strategies to reduce individual exposure while commuting. The present study aimed to quantify how choice of mode and route type affects personal exposure to air pollutants during commuting. We analyzed within-person difference in exposures to multiple air pollutants (black carbon (BC), carbon monoxide (CO), ultrafine particle number concentration (PNC), and fine particulate matter (PM2.5)) during commutes between the home and workplace for 45 participants. Participants completed 8 days of commuting by car and bicycle on direct and alternative (reduced traffic) routes. Mean within-person exposures to BC, PM2.5, and PNC were higher when commuting by cycling than when driving, but mean CO exposure was lower when cycling. Exposures to CO and BC were reduced when commuting along alternative routes. When cumulative exposure was considered, the benefits from cycling were attenuated, in the case of CO, or exacerbated, in the case of particulate exposures, owing to the increased duration of the commute. Although choice of route can reduce mean exposure, the effect of route length and duration often offsets these reductions when cumulative exposure is considered. Furthermore, increased ventilation rate when cycling may result in a more harmful dose than inhalation at a lower ventilation rate.
Project description:Epidemiological evidence on the association between ambient air pollution and brain tumor risk is sparse and inconsistent.In 12 cohorts from 6 European countries, individual estimates of annual mean air pollution levels at the baseline residence were estimated by standardized land-use regression models developed within the ESCAPE and TRANSPHORM projects: particulate matter (PM) ?2.5, ?10, and 2.5-10 ?m in diameter (PM2.5, PM10, and PMcoarse), PM2.5 absorbance, nitrogen oxides (NO2 and NOx) and elemental composition of PM. We estimated cohort-specific associations of air pollutant concentrations and traffic intensity with total, malignant, and nonmalignant brain tumor, in separate Cox regression models, adjusting for risk factors, and pooled cohort-specific estimates using random-effects meta-analyses.Of 282194 subjects from 12 cohorts, 466 developed malignant brain tumors during 12 years of follow-up. Six of the cohorts also had data on nonmalignant brain tumor, where among 106786 subjects, 366 developed brain tumor: 176 nonmalignant and 190 malignant. We found a positive, statistically nonsignificant association between malignant brain tumor and PM2.5 absorbance (hazard ratio and 95% CI: 1.67; 0.89-3.14 per 10-5/m3), and weak positive or null associations with the other pollutants. Hazard ratio for PM2.5 absorbance (1.01; 0.38-2.71 per 10-5/m3) and all other pollutants were lower for nonmalignant than for malignant brain tumors.We found suggestive evidence of an association between long-term exposure to PM2.5 absorbance indicating traffic-related air pollution and malignant brain tumors, and no association with overall or nonmalignant brain tumors.