Association of modeled long-term personal exposure to ultrafine particles with inflammatory and coagulation biomarkers.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Long-term exposure to fine particulate matter has been linked to cardiovascular disease and systemic inflammatory responses; however, evidence is limited regarding the effects of long-term exposure to ultrafine particulate matter (UFP, <100nm). We used a cross-sectional study design to examine the association of long-term exposure to near-highway UFP with measures of systemic inflammation and coagulation. METHODS:We analyzed blood samples from 408 individuals aged 40-91years living in three near-highway and three urban background areas in and near Boston, Massachusetts. We conducted mobile monitoring of particle number concentration (PNC) in each area, and used the data to develop and validate highly resolved spatiotemporal (hourly, 20m) PNC regression models. These models were linked with participant time-activity data to determine individual time-activity adjusted (TAA) annual average PNC exposures. Multivariable regression modeling and stratification were used to assess the association between TAA-PNC and single peripheral blood measures of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor-necrosis factor alpha receptor II (TNFRII) and fibrinogen. RESULTS:After adjusting for age, sex, education, body mass index, smoking and race/ethnicity, an interquartile-range (10,000particles/cm(3)) increase in TAA-PNC had a positive non-significant association with a 14.0% (95% CI: -4.6%, 36.2%) positive difference in hsCRP, an 8.9% (95% CI: -0.4%, 10.9%) positive difference in IL-6, and a 5.1% (95% CI: -0.4%, 10.9%) positive difference in TNFRII. Stratification by race/ethnicity revealed that TAA-PNC had larger effect estimates for all three inflammatory markers and was significantly associated with hsCRP and TNFRII in white non-Hispanic, but not East Asian participants. Fibrinogen had a negative non-significant association with TAA-PNC. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings suggest an association between annual average near-highway TAA-PNC and subclinical inflammatory markers of CVD risk.
Project description:Elevated cardiovascular disease risk has been reported with proximity to highways or busy roadways, but proximity measures can be challenging to interpret given potential confounders and exposure error.We conducted a cross sectional analysis of plasma levels of C-Reactive Protein (hsCRP), Interleukin-6 (IL-6), Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha receptor II (TNF-RII) and fibrinogen with distance of residence to a highway in and around Boston, Massachusetts. Distance was assigned using ortho-photo corrected parcel matching, as well as less precise approaches such as simple parcel matching and geocoding addresses to street networks. We used a combined random and convenience sample of 260 adults >40 years old. We screened a large number of individual-level variables including some infrequently collected for assessment of highway proximity, and included a subset in our final regression models. We monitored ultrafine particle (UFP) levels in the study areas to help interpret proximity measures.Using the orthophoto corrected geocoding, in a fully adjusted model, hsCRP and IL-6 differed by distance category relative to urban background: 43% (-16%,141%) and 49% (6%,110%) increase for 0-50 m; 7% (-39%,45%) and 41% (6%,86%) for 50-150 m; 54% (-2%,142%) and 18% (-11%,57%) for 150-250 m, and 49% (-4%, 131%) and 42% (6%, 89%) for 250-450 m. There was little evidence for association for TNF-RII or fibrinogen. Ortho-photo corrected geocoding resulted in stronger associations than traditional methods which introduced differential misclassification. Restricted analysis found the effect of proximity on biomarkers was mostly downwind from the highway or upwind where there was considerable local street traffic, consistent with patterns of monitored UFP levels.We found associations between highway proximity and both hsCRP and IL-6, with non-monotonic patterns explained partly by individual-level factors and differences between proximity and UFP concentrations. Our analyses emphasize the importance of controlling for the risk of differential exposure misclassification from geocoding error.
Project description:Background:Exposure to airborne ultrafine particle (UFP; <100 nm in aerodynamic diameter) is an emerging public health problem. Nevertheless, the benefit of using high efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filtration to reduce UFP concentrations in homes is not yet clear. Methods:We conducted a randomized crossover study of HEPA filtration without a washout period in 23 homes of low-income Puerto Ricans in Boston and Chelsea, MA (USA). Most participants were female, older adults who were overweight or obese. Particle number concentrations (PNC, a proxy for UFP) were measured indoors and outdoors at each home continuously for six weeks. Homes received both HEPA filtration and sham filtration for three weeks each in random order. Results:Median PNC under HEPA filtration was 50-85% lower compared to sham filtration in most homes, but we found no benefit in terms of reduced inflammation; associations between hsCRP, IL-6, or TNFRII in blood samples and indoor PNC were inverse and not statistically significant. Conclusions:Limitations to our study design likely contributed to our findings. Limitations included carry-over effects, a population that may have been relatively unresponsive to UFP, reduction in PNC even during sham filtration that limited differences between HEPA and sham filtration, window opening by participants, and lack of fine-grained (room-specific) participant time-activity information. Our approach was similar to other recent HEPA intervention studies of particulate matter exposure and cardiovascular risk, suggesting that there is a need for better study designs.
Project description:Exposures to ultrafine particles (<100?nm, estimated as particle number concentration, PNC) differ from ambient concentrations because of the spatial and temporal variability of both PNC and people. Our goal was to evaluate the influence of time-activity adjustment on exposure assignment and associations with blood biomarkers for a near-highway population. A regression model based on mobile monitoring and spatial and temporal variables was used to generate hourly ambient residential PNC for a full year for a subset of participants (n=140) in the Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health study. We modified the ambient estimates for each hour using personal estimates of hourly time spent in five micro-environments (inside home, outside home, at work, commuting, other) as well as particle infiltration. Time-activity adjusted (TAA)-PNC values differed from residential ambient annual average (RAA)-PNC, with lower exposures predicted for participants who spent more time away from home. Employment status and distance to highway had a differential effect on TAA-PNC. We found associations of RAA-PNC with high sensitivity C-reactive protein and Interleukin-6, although exposure-response functions were non-monotonic. TAA-PNC associations had larger effect estimates and linear exposure-response functions. Our findings suggest that time-activity adjustment improves exposure assessment for air pollutants that vary greatly in space and time.
Project description:Ultrafine particles (UFP; aerodynamic diameter < 0.1 micrometers) are a ubiquitous exposure in the urban environment and are elevated near highways. Most epidemiological studies of UFP health effects use central site monitoring data, which may misclassify exposure. Our aims were to: (1) examine the relationship between distant and proximate monitoring sites and their ability to predict hourly UFP concentration measured at residences in an urban community with a major interstate highway and; (2) determine if meteorology and proximity to traffic improve explanatory power. Short-term (1 - 3 weeks) residential monitoring of UFP concentration was conducted at 18 homes. Long-term monitoring was conducted at two near-highway monitoring sites and a central site. We created models of outdoor residential UFP concentration based on concentrations at the near-highway site, at the central site, at both sites together and without fixed sites. UFP concentration at residential sites was more highly correlated with those at a near-highway site than a central site. In regression models of each site alone, a 10% increase in UFP concentration at a near-highway site was associated with a 6% (95% CI: 6%, 7%) increase at residences while a 10% increase in UFP concentration at the central site was associated with a 3% (95% CI: 2%, 3%) increase at residences. A model including both sites showed minimal change in the magnitude of the association between the near-highway site and the residences, but the estimated association with UFP concentration at the central site was substantially attenuated. These associations remained after adjustment for other significant predictors of residential UFP concentration, including distance from highway, wind speed, wind direction, highway traffic volume and precipitation. The use of a central site as an estimate of personal exposure for populations near local emissions of traffic-related air pollutants may result in exposure misclassification.
Project description:Few longitudinal studies have examined the association between ultrafine particulate matter (UFP, particles <?0.1 ?m aerodynamic diameter) exposure and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. We used data from 791 adults participating in the longitudinal Boston Puerto Rican Health Study (Massachusetts, USA) between 2004 and 2015 to assess whether UFP exposure was associated with blood pressure and high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP, a biomarker of systemic inflammation).Residential annual average UFP exposure (measured as particle number concentration, PNC) was assigned using a model accounting for spatial and temporal trends. We also adjusted PNC values for participants' inhalation rate to obtain the particle inhalation rate (PIR) as a secondary exposure measure. Multilevel linear models with a random intercept for each participant were used to examine the association of UFP with blood pressure and hsCRP.Overall, in adjusted models, an inter-quartile range increase in PNC was associated with increased hsCRP (??=?6.8; 95% CI?=?-?0.3, 14.0%) but not with increased systolic blood pressure (??=?0.96; 95% CI?=?-?0.33, 2.25 mmHg), pulse pressure (??=?0.70; 95% CI?=?-?0.27, 1.67 mmHg), or diastolic blood pressure (??=?0.55; 95% CI?=?-?0.20, 1.30 mmHg). There were generally stronger positive associations among women and never smokers. Among men, there were inverse associations of PNC with systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure. In contrast to the primary findings, an inter-quartile range increase in the PIR was positively associated with systolic blood pressure (??=?1.03; 95% CI?=?0.00, 2.06 mmHg) and diastolic blood pressure (??=?1.01; 95% CI?=?0.36, 1.66 mmHg), but not with pulse pressure or hsCRP.We observed that exposure to PNC was associated with increases in measures of CVD risk markers, especially among certain sub-populations. The exploratory PIR exposure metric should be further developed.
Project description:Estimating ultrafine particle number concentrations (PNC) near highways for exposure assessment in chronic health studies requires models capable of capturing PNC spatial and temporal variations over the course of a full year. The objectives of this work were to describe the relationship between near-highway PNC and potential predictors, and to build and validate hourly log-linear regression models. PNC was measured near Interstate 93 (I-93) in Somerville, MA using a mobile monitoring platform driven for 234 h on 43 days between August 2009 and September 2010. Compared to urban background, PNC levels were consistently elevated within 100-200 m of I-93, with gradients impacted by meteorological and traffic conditions. Temporal and spatial variables including wind speed and direction, temperature, highway traffic, and distance to I-93 and major roads contributed significantly to the full regression model. Cross-validated model R(2) values ranged from 0.38 to 0.47, with higher values achieved (0.43 to 0.53) when short-duration PNC spikes were removed. The model predicts highest PNC near major roads and on cold days with low wind speeds. The model allows estimation of hourly ambient PNC at 20-m resolution in a near-highway neighborhood.
Project description:Elevated blood pressure is an indicator of cardiovascular stress and increased risk of cardiovascular-related morbidity and mortality. There is emerging evidence suggesting air pollutants, including particulate matter (PM), could promote hypertension, thereby increasing cardiovascular disease risk. Repeated measurement analyses were conducted to examine the associations of three types of PM with systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and pulse pressure (PP) in 220 participants, (mean age=58.5 years) from the Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health study (CAFEH), most of whom live near a major highway. Ambient levels of air pollutants including particle number concentration (PNC; a measure of ultrafine particle (UFP) concentration), fine PM (PM2.5, Particle diameter<2.5 µm), and black carbon (BC) were measured at a central site<7 km from the study areas. Central sites are good at capturing short-term temporal trends in pollution associated with meteorological changes over regional areas. Linear mixed-effect models that accounted for repeated measures within one person were used to examine the associations between blood pressure variables and daily average of ambient PNC, PM2.5, or BC, controlling for demographic characteristics and major confounders including temperature. Our PNC model predicted that a higher PNC of 10,000 particles/cm3 was associated with higher DBP of 2.40 mmHg (p=0.03), independent of other factors in the model. There were no significant associations for PM2.5 or BC. Post hoc subgroup analyses by obesity status showed that positive associations of DBP with PNC were more pronounced among obese individuals than non-obese individuals. These results suggested that PNC levels are associated with increased blood pressure, which may contribute to cardiovascular disease risk. More research is needed to assess the relationship between PNC and blood pressure and to address possible residual confounding.
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:Accurate quantification of exposures to traffic-related air pollution in near-highway neighborhoods is challenging due to the high degree of spatial and temporal variation of pollutant levels. The objective of this study was to measure air pollutant levels in a near-highway urban area over a wide range of traffic and meteorological conditions using a mobile monitoring platform. The study was performed in a 2.3-km(2) area in Somerville, Massachusetts (USA), near Interstate I-93, a highway that carries 150,000 vehicles per day. The mobile platform was equipped with rapid-response instruments and was driven repeatedly along a 15.4-km route on 55 days between September 2009 and August 2010. Monitoring was performed in 4-6-hour shifts in the morning, afternoon and evening on both weekdays and weekends in winter, spring, summer and fall. Measurements were made of particle number concentration (PNC; 4-3,000 nm), particle size distribution, fine particle mass (PM(2.5)), particle-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (pPAH), black carbon (BC), carbon monoxide (CO), and nitrogen oxides (NO and NO(x)). The highest pollutant concentrations were measured within 0-50 m of I-93 with distance-decay gradients varying depending on traffic and meteorology. The most pronounced variations were observed for PNC. Annual median PNC 0-50 m from I-93 was two-fold higher compared to the background area (>1 km from I-93). In general, PNC levels were highest in winter and lowest in summer and fall, higher on weekdays and Saturdays compared to Sundays, and higher during morning rush hour compared to later in the day. Similar spatial and temporal trends were observed for NO, CO and BC, but not for PM(2.5). Spatial variations in PNC distance-decay gradients were non-uniform largely due to contributions from local street traffic. Hour-to-hour, day-to-day and season-to-season variations in PNC were of the same magnitude as spatial variations. Datasets containing fine-scale temporal and spatial variation of air pollution levels near highways may help to inform exposure assessment efforts.
Project description:Comparative evaluations are needed to assess the suitability of near-road air pollution models for traffic-related ultrafine particle number concentration (PNC). Our goal was to evaluate the ability of dispersion (CALINE4, AERMOD, R-LINE, and QUIC) and regression models to predict PNC in a residential neighborhood (Somerville) and an urban center (Chinatown) near highways in and near Boston, Massachusetts. PNC was measured in each area, and models were compared to each other and measurements for hot (>18 °C) and cold (<10 °C) hours with wind directions parallel to and perpendicular downwind from highways. In Somerville, correlation and error statistics were typically acceptable, and all models predicted concentration gradients extending ?100 m from the highway. In contrast, in Chinatown, PNC trends differed among models, and predictions were poorly correlated with measurements likely due to effects of street canyons and nonhighway particle sources. Our results demonstrate the importance of selecting PNC models that align with study area characteristics (e.g., dominant sources and building geometry). We applied widely available models to typical urban study areas; therefore, our results should be generalizable to models of hourly averaged PNC in similar urban areas.