47,179 research outputs found

    Simple traffic measures significantly reduce the exposure of primary school children to NO<sub>2</sub>

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    According to Public Health England (PHE, 2019) air quality is the largest environmental health risk in the UK; long-term exposure to air pollution claims some 28-36,000 premature deaths each year. It shortens lives and contributes to chronic illness. Health can be affected both by short-term, high-pollution episodes and by long-term exposure to lower levels of pollution. Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) are directly involved in managing and monitoring local air quality, but often direct action is only taken when there are exceedances of statutory limits and standards. A previous publication, REHIS Journal Autumn 2018, makes the case that long term exposure to lower than limit levels of air pollution can have significant health impacts in later life and that the developing lungs of children are at risk. PHE goes on to state that ‘effective communication of health messages about air pollution and appropriate action can save lives and improve quality of life for many’ (PHE, 2019)

    Export of Asian pollution during two cold front episodes of the TRACE-P experiment

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    Two cold front episodes were sampled during the two flights out of Yokota, Japan, during the Transport and Chemical Evolution Over the Pacific (TRACE-P) experiment during March 2001. The data from these two flights are examined using a mesoscale three-dimensional model. We show how these cyclonic systems have impacted the export of pollution out of the Asian continent. We contrast the relative role of convection and ascent in the warm conveyor belts associated with the cyclone during these two episodes. Although the necessary meteorological conditions for an efficient export of pollution are met during flight 13 (i.e., the occurrences of the warm conveyor belt near the source regions), no significant pollution is simulated in the mid-Pacific in the lower and middle troposphere. The efficient ventilation of the WCB by convection near the coast, the advection by the anticyclonical flow above 700 hPa, and the downward motion associated with the Pacific high in the remote ocean significantly prevent any long-range transport of undiluted pollution in the WCB. During flight 15 the conveyor belts have already moved to the remote ocean. The polluted plume is split by the rising air in the warm conveyor belt which transports CO-poor air northward and by the oceanic convection which transports clean air masses upward. These mechanisms lead to the dilution of Asian pollution in WCB en route to North America and add to the episodic nature of the Asian outflow by fragmenting the pollution plume

    Long-term Changes in Extreme Air Pollution Meteorology and Implications for Air Quality

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    Extreme air pollution meteorology, such as heat waves, temperature inversions, and atmospheric stagnation episodes, can significantly affect air quality. In this study, we analyze their long-term trends and the potential impacts on air quality. The significant increasing trends for the occurrences of extreme meteorological events in 1951-2010 are identified with the reanalysis data, especially over the continental regions. A statistical analysis combining air quality data and meteorological data indicates strong sensitivities of air quality, including both average air pollutant concentrations and high pollution episodes, to extreme meteorological events. Results also show significant seasonal and spatial variations in the sensitivity of air quality to extreme air pollution meteorology. Based on the sensitivity studies of air quality to air pollution meteorology, statistical models are constructed to predict the likelihood of extreme air pollution episodes with the status of extreme air pollution meteorology in two consecutive days. Our statistical models present reasonable estimation of air pollution days validated with observations. Our method is more computational efficiency and user-friendly than the complicated atmospheric chemistry models. It could be a useful tool for air quality forecast, in particular for projecting the risk of extreme air pollution episodes. Extreme meteorological events related to precipitation, such as drought or heavy precipitation, are also important for air quality. To get a better understanding of the relationship between precipitation features and air quality, we examine the sensitivities of air pollutants to the changes of various precipitation characteristics in the context of climate change. Perturbation studies are tested with GEOS-Chem model to isolate the roles of precipitation frequency, precipitation intensity, and total precipitation amount in the lifetime of black carbon (BC). We find that the atmospheric lifetimes of BC are more sensitive to precipitation frequency than precipitation intensity. The relationship between the lifetime of aerosols and the change of precipitation characteristics offer a simple tool to examine the effects of long-term changes of precipitation characteristics on atmospheric aerosols in various regions

    Increased Risk of Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation Episodes Associated with Acute Increases in Ambient Air Pollution

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    Objectives: We reported previously that 24-hr moving average ambient air pollution concentrations were positively associated with ventricular arrhythmias detected by implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). ICDs also detect paroxysmal atrial fibrillation episodes (PAF) that result in rapid ventricular rates. In this same cohort of ICD patients, we assessed the association between ambient air pollution and episodes of PAF. Design: We performed a case–crossover study. Participants: Patients who lived in the Boston, Massachusetts, metropolitan area and who had ICDs implanted between June 1995 and December 1999 (n = 203) were followed until July 2002. Evaluations/Measurements: We used conditional logistic regression to explore the association between community air pollution and 91 electrophysiologist-confirmed episodes of PAF among 29 subjects. Results: We found a statistically significant positive association between episodes of PAF and increased ozone concentration (22 ppb) in the hour before the arrhythmia (odds ratio = 2.08; 95% confidence interval = 1.22, 3.54; p = 0.001). The risk estimate for a longer (24-hr) moving average was smaller, thus suggesting an immediate effect. Positive but not statistically significant risks were associated with fine particles, nitrogen dioxide, and black carbon. Conclusions: Increased ambient O(3) pollution was associated with increased risk of episodes of rapid ventricular response due to PAF, thereby suggesting that community air pollution may be a precipitant of these events

    Environmental exposures and cardiac arrhythmias

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    Cardiac arrhythmias lead to substantial mortality and morbidity world-wide. The most severe form of cardiac arrhythmia, cardiac arrest, is one of the leading causes of death in Europe and North America. Further, the prevalence of atrial fibrillation, the most common arrhythmias among adults, is expected to increase substantially during the coming decades with increased mortality and morbidity as a consequence. At present atrial fibrillation affects more than 30 million people world-wide. Ambient environmental exposures, i.e. temperature and air pollution, have a well-established association to cardiovascular disease with significant health impact. The association to cardiac arrhythmias is less well understood. The aim of this thesis was to investigate the associations between short-term exposure to ambient temperature, and air pollution with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, hereafter referred to as cardiac arrest, and atrial fibrillation. In Study I we investigated the association between ambient temperature and cardiac arrest. The study included 5,961 cases of cardiac arrest in Stockholm. We observed a V-shaped relationship between preceding mean 24-hour and 1-hour ambient temperature and the occurrence of cardiac arrest with statistically significant associations for temperatures below the optimum temperature. In Study II we investigated the association between short-term air pollution exposures and cardiac arrest. We estimated daily air pollution levels in 1x1 km grids using a satellite-based machine learning model. Among 29,604 cases of cardiac arrests from all of Sweden we observed a higher risk associated with short-term particulate matter <2.5 μm (PM2.5) and particulate matter <10 μm (PM10) exposure. In Study III we investigated short-term air pollution exposure and risk of atrial fibrillation episodes in 75-year-olds living in Stockholm, Sweden that underwent atrial fibrillation screening. We estimated air pollution exposure by use of single fixed monitors representing urban background levels. Among 218 participants with 469 episodes of atrial fibrillation we observed increased risks associated with PM10 exposure. The associations were more pronounced for participants with overweight and diabetes. In Study IV we investigated the association between air pollution and atrial fibrillation in patients with intracardiac devices, i.e. pacemakers, able to store atrial fibrillation episodes. Air pollution exposure was assessed in a similar way as in Study III. 91 participants contributed data to the final analysis of 584 episodes of atrial fibrillation. We observed increased risk of atrial fibrillation episodes with short-term exposure to PM2.5. In conclusion, our findings indicate an increased risk of cardiac arrhythmias with exposure to ambient temperature and air pollution. We observed associations for air pollution exposure even at very low levels, below current regulatory guidelines

    Association of Air Pollution with Increased Incidence of Ventricular Tachyarrhythmias Recorded by Implanted Cardioverter Defibrillators

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    Epidemiologic studies have demonstrated a consistent link between sudden cardiac deaths and particulate air pollution. We used implanted cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) records of ventricular tachyarrhythmias to assess the role of air pollution as a trigger of these potentially life-threatening events. The study cohort consisted of 203 cardiac patients with ICD devices in the Boston metropolitan area who were followed for an average of 3.1 years between 1995 and 2002. Fine particle mass and gaseous air pollution plus temperature and relative humidity were measured on almost all days, and black carbon, sulfate, and particle number on a subset of days. Date, time, and intracardiac electrograms of ICD-detected arrhythmias were downloaded at the patients’ regular follow-up visits (about every 3 months). Ventricular tachyarrhythmias were identified by electrophysiologist review. Risk of ventricular arrhythmias associated with air pollution was estimated with logistic regression, adjusting for season, temperature, relative humidity, day of the week, patient, and a recent prior arrhythmia. We found increased risks of ventricular arrhythmias associated with 2-day mean exposure for all air pollutants considered, although these associations were not statistically significant. We found statistically significant associations between air pollution and ventricular arrhythmias for episodes within 3 days of a previous arrhythmia. The associations of ventricular tachyarrhythmias with fine particle mass, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and black carbon suggest a link with motor vehicle pollutants. The associations with sulfate suggest a link with stationary fossil fuel combustion sources

    Fresh air in the 21st century?

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    Ozone is an air quality problem today for much of the world's population. Regions can exceed the ozone air quality standards (AQS) through a combination of local emissions, meteorology favoring pollution episodes, and the clean-air baseline levels of ozone upon which pollution builds. The IPCC 2001 assessment studied a range of global emission scenarios and found that all but one projects increases in global tropospheric ozone during the 21st century. By 2030, near-surface increases over much of the northern hemisphere are estimated to be about 5 ppb (+2 to +7 ppb over the range of scenarios). By 2100 the two more extreme scenarios project baseline ozone increases of >20 ppb, while the other four scenarios give changes of -4 to +10 ppb. Even modest increases in the background abundance of tropospheric ozone might defeat current AQS strategies. The larger increases, however, would gravely threaten both urban and rural air quality over most of the northern hemisphere

    Meteorological drivers and mortality associated with O3 and PM2.5 air pollution episodes in the UK in 2006

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    In this study we examine the meteorological drivers resulting in concurrent high levels of ozone (O3) and particulate matter smaller than 2.5 andmu;m in diameter (PM2.5) during two five-day air pollution episodes in 2006 (1st - 5th July and 18th andndash; 22nd July) using an air quality model (AQUM) at 12 km horizontal resolution to simulate air pollutant concentrations. The resultant UK health burden associated with short-term exposure to simulated maximum daily 8-h O3andnbsp;(MDA8 O3) and daily mean PM2.5andnbsp;is estimated at the national and regional level. Both episodes were found to be driven by anticyclonic conditions with light easterly and south easterly winds and high temperatures that aided pollution build up in the UK. The estimated total mortality burden associated with short-term exposure to MDA8 O3andnbsp;is similar during the chosen episodes with about 70 daily deaths brought forward (summed across the UK) during the first and second episode, respectively. The estimated health burden associated with short-term exposure to daily mean PM2.5andnbsp;concentrations differs between the first and second episode resulting in about 43 and 36 daily deaths brought forward, respectively. The corresponding percentage of all-cause mortality due to short-term exposure to MDA8 O3andnbsp;and daily mean PM2.5during these two episodes and across the UK regions, ranges from 3.4% to 5.2% and from 1.6% to 3.9%, respectively. The attributable percentage of all-cause mortality differs between the regions depending on the pollution levels in each episode, but the overall estimated health burdens are highest in regions with higher population totals. We estimate that during these episodes the short-term exposure to MDA8 O3and daily mean PM2.5andnbsp;is between 36-38% and 39andndash;56% higher, respectively, than if the pollution levels represented typical seasonal-mean concentrations. This highlights the potential of air pollution episodes to have substantial short-term impacts on public health.</p

    Air pollution and stroke - an overview of the evidence base

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    Air pollution is being increasingly recognized as a significant risk factor for stroke. There are numerous sources of air pollution including industry, road transport and domestic use of biomass and solid fuels. Early reports of the association between air pollution and stroke come from studies investigating health effects of severe pollution episodes. Several daily time series and case-crossover studies have reported associations with stroke. There is also evidence linking chronic air pollution exposure with stroke and with reduced survival after stroke. A conceptual framework linking air pollution exposure and stroke is proposed. It links acute and chronic exposure to air pollution with pathways to acute and chronic effects on stroke risk. Current evidence regarding potential mechanisms mainly relate to particulate air pollution. Whilst further evidence would be useful, there is already sufficient evidence to support consideration of reduction in air pollution as a preventative measure to reduce the stroke burden globally
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