Publications

    Kim PS, Jacob DJ, Mickley LJ, Koplitz SN, Marlier ME, DeFries RS, Myers SS, Chew BN, Mao YH. Sensitivity of Population Smoke Exposure to Fire Locations in Equatorial Asia. Atmospheric Environment [Internet]. 2015;102 :11-17. Publisher's VersionAbstract

    High smoke concentrations in Equatorial Asia, primarily from land conversion to oil palm plantations, affect a densely populated region and represent a serious but poorly quantified air quality concern. Continued expansion of the oil palm industry is expected but the resulting population exposure to smoke is highly dependent on where this expansion takes place. We use the adjoint of the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model to map the sensitivity of smoke concentrations in major Equatorial Asian cities, and for the population-weighted region, to the locations of the fires. We find that fires in southern Sumatra are particularly detrimental, and that a land management policy protecting peatswamp forests in Southeast Sumatra would be of great air quality benefit. Our adjoint sensitivities can be used to immediately infer population exposure to smoke for any future fire emission scenario. 

    Brown LH, Buettner PG, Canyon DV. The energy burden and environmental impact of health services. Am J Public Health [Internet]. 2012;102 (12) :e76-82. Publisher's VersionAbstract

    OBJECTIVES: We reviewed the English-language literature on the energy burden and environmental impact of health services. METHODS: We searched all years of the PubMed, CINAHL, and ScienceDirect databases for publications reporting energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, or the environmental impact of health-related activities. We extracted and tabulated data to enable cross-comparisons among different activities and services; where possible, we calculated per patient or per event emissions. RESULTS: We identified 38 relevant publications. Per patient or per event, health-related energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions are quite modest; in the aggregate, however, they are considerable. In England and the United States, health-related emissions account for 3% and 8% of total national emissions, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Although reducing health-related energy consumption and emissions alone will not resolve all of the problems of energy scarcity and climate change, it could make a meaningful contribution.

    Liu Z, Powers W, Liu H. Greenhouse gas emissions from swine operations: evaluation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change approaches through meta-analysis. J Anim Sci [Internet]. 2013;91 (8) :4017-32. Publisher's VersionAbstract

    The objective was to provide a systematic review of the literature on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from swine operations, with a meta-analysis that integrates results of independent studies. A total of 53 studies that measured GHG emissions from swine operations were included in the analyses. Results showed that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) approaches were effective in estimating the overall CH4 and N2O emission levels from swine operations, but the variation of the measured emissions is not adequately captured. An overestimation by the IPCC approaches for CH4 emissions was observed for swine buildings with pit systems in European studies and the average percentage relative difference (PRD) between the measured and the IPCC values is -21.1%. The observed CH4 emissions from lagoons were lower than the IPCC estimated values and the average PRD is -33.9%. In North American studies the observed N2O emission factors for swine buildings with pit systems were significantly lower than the IPCC default values whereas in European studies they were significantly greater than the IPCC default values. The measured CH4 and N2O emissions were significantly affected by stage of production (P = 0.05 and <0.01, respectively) and geographic regions (P = 0.04 and 0.02, respectively). The IPCC approaches were effective in simulating the effect of temperature on CH4 emissions from outdoor slurry storage facilities whereas they could overestimate CH4 emissions from lagoons at low temperatures. The CH4 emissions from pits inside swine buildings were not significantly affected by average ambient temperatures. A positive relationship between diet CP content and CH4 emissions was confirmed in the meta-analysis. The obtained knowledge can be helpful in efforts to improve estimation of GHG emissions from swine operations.

    Saikat S, Kreis I, Davies B, Bridgman S, Kamanyire R. The impact of PFOS on health in the general population: a review. Environ Sci Process Impacts. 2013;15 (2) :329-35.Abstract

    Perfluorooctane sulphonate (PFOS) is a persistent organic pollutant that is toxic, bioaccumulative and undergoes wide transportation across all environmental media. It has been widely detected in environmental samples but there is limited information about the health effects on humans from environmental exposure. This paper presents the findings of a review of the literature on the impact of PFOS on the health of the general population. Fifteen relevant epidemiological studies were identified that looked at the association between human PFOS exposure and a range of health related outcomes. Small but statistically significant associations have been reported with PFOS and total cholesterol, glucose metabolism, body mass index (BMI), thyroid function, infertility, breast feeding, uric acid and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The true significance of these findings is uncertain due to the inconsistencies in some of the study results and the limitations of the literature. The majority of studies were cross-sectional and considered surrogate markers of health (e.g. cholesterol levels). The available literature is also limited in ascertaining the link between PFOS concentrations in the environment, exposure pathways and health effects. We conclude that the current evidence is inconclusive and further large-scale prospective cohort studies would be useful to assess the association between environmental exposure to PFOS, appropriate biomarkers (e.g. serum levels of PFOS) and health outcomes.

    Jablonski LM, Wang X, Curtis PS. Plant reproduction under elevated CO2 conditions: A meta-analysis of reports on 79 crop and wild species. New Phytologist [Internet]. 2002;156 (1) :9-26. Publisher's VersionAbstract

    Reproductive traits are key characteristics for predicting the response of communities and ecosystems to global change, We used meta-analysis to integrate data on eight reproductive traits from 159 CO2 enrichment papers that provided information on 79 species, Across all species, CO2 enrichment (500-800 mul l-1) resulted in more flowers (+19%), more fruits (+18%), more seeds (+16%), greater individual seed mass (+4%), greater total seed mass(+25%), and lower seed nitrogen concentration, (N) (-14%). Crops and undomesticated (wild) species did not differ in total mass response to elevated CO2 (+31%), but crops allocated more mass to reproduction and produced more fruits (+28% vs +4%) and seeds (+21% vs +4%) than did wild species when grown at high CO2. Seed (N) was not affected by high CO2 concentrations in legumes, but declined significantly in most nonlegumes, Our results provide robust estimates of average plant reproductive responses to CO2 enrichment and demonstrate important differences among individual taxa and among functional groups. In particular, crops were more responsive to elevated CO2 than were wild species. These differences and the substantial decline in seed (N) in many species have broad implications for the functioning of future natural and agro-ecosystems.

    Lewis JJ, Pattanayak SK. Who adopts improved fuels and cookstoves? A systematic review. Environ Health Perspect [Internet]. 2012;120 (5) :637-45. Publisher's VersionAbstract

    Background: The global focus on improved cookstoves (ICSs) and clean fuels has increased because of their potential for delivering triple dividends: household health, local environmental quality, and regional climate benefits. However, ICS and clean fuel dissemination programs have met with low rates of adoption.

    Objectives: We reviewed empirical studies on ICSs and fuel choice to describe the literature, examine determinants of fuel and stove choice, and identify knowledge gaps.

    Methods: We conducted a systematic review of the literature on the adoption of ICSs or cleaner fuels by households in developing countries. Results are synthesized through a simple vote-counting meta-analysis. RESULTS: We identified 32 research studies that reported 146 separate regression analyses of ICS adoption (11 analyses) or fuel choice (135 analyses) from Asia (60%), Africa (27%), and Latin America (19%). Most studies apply multivariate regression methods to consider 7-13 determinants of choice. Income, education, and urban location were positively associated with adoption in most but not all studies. However, the influence of fuel availability and prices, household size and composition, and sex is unclear. Potentially important drivers such as credit, supply-chain strengthening, and social marketing have been ignored.

    Conclusions: Adoption studies of ICSs or clean energy are scarce, scattered, and of differential quality, even though global distribution programs are quickly expanding. Future research should examine an expanded set of contextual variables to improve implementation of stove programs that can realize the "win-win-win" of health, local environmental quality, and climate associated with these technologies.

    Feng Z, Kobayashi K. Assessing the impacts of current and future concentrations of surface ozone on crop yield with meta-analysis. Atmospheric Environment [Internet]. 2009;43 (8) :1510-1519. Publisher's VersionAbstract

    Meta-analysis was conducted to quantitatively assess the effects of rising ozone concentrations ([O3]) on yield and yield components of major food crops: potato, barley, wheat, rice, bean and soybean in 406 experimental observations. Yield loss of the crops under current and future [O3] was expressed relative to the yield under base [O3] (≤26 ppb). With potato, current [O3] (31–50 ppb) reduced the yield by 5.3%, and it reduced the yield of barley, wheat and rice by 8.9%, 9.7% and 17.5%, respectively. In bean and soybean, the yield losses were 19.0% and 7.7%, respectively. Compared with yield loss at current [O3], future [O3] (51–75 ppb) drove a further 10% loss in yield of soybean, wheat and rice, and 20% loss in bean. Mass of individual grain, seed, or tuber was often the major cause of the yield loss at current and future [O3], whereas other yield components also contributed to the yield loss in some cases. No significant difference was found between the responses in crops grown in pots and those in the ground for any yield parameters. The ameliorating effect of elevated [CO2] was significant in the yields of wheat and potato, and the individual grain weight in wheat exposed to future [O3]. These findings confirm the rising [O3] as a threat to food security for the growing global population in this century.

    Shaw C, Hales S, Howden-Chapman P, Edwards R. Health co-benefits of climate change mitigation policies in the transport sector. Nature Climate Change [Internet]. 2014;4 (6) :427-433. Publisher's VersionAbstract

    Theory, common sense and modelling studies suggest that some interventions to mitigate carbon emissions in the transport sector can also have substantial short-term benefits for population health. Policies that encourage active modes of transportation such as cycling may, for example, increase population physical activity and decrease air pollution, thus reducing the burden of conditions such as some cancers, diabetes, heart disease and dementia. In this Perspective we systematically review the evidence from 'real life' transport policies and their impacts on health and CO2 emissions. We identified a few studies that mostly involved personalized travel planning and showed modest increases in active transport such as walking, and reductions in vehicle use and CO2 emissions. Given the poor quality of the studies identified, urgent action is needed to provide more robust evidence for policies.

    De Guise S, Lagace A, Beland P. Tumors in St Lawrence Beluga Whales (Delphinapterus leucas). Veterinary Pathology [Internet]. 1994;31 :444-449. Publisher's VersionAbstract

    Necropsied belugas from the polluted estuary of the St. Lawrence River had high tissue concentrations of industrial contaminants known to be carcinogenic and/or immunosuppressive malignant and benign tumors, irrespective of age. This summary is not an official abstract. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract

    Smith KR, Corvalán CF, Kjellström T. How Much Global Ill Health Is Attributable to Environmental Factors?. Epidemiology [Internet]. 1999;10 :573-584. Publisher's VersionAbstract

    25-33% of burden of disease globally is due to environmental risk factors; children < 5 bear the largest burden, and the % of disease due to environmental risks decreases with economic development. This summary is not an official abstract. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract

    Agency EP. Guidelines for Preparing Economic Analyses. EPA [Internet]. 2000;240-R-00-003. Publisher's VersionAbstract

    This report discusses cost benefit analysis, economic impact analysis, and equity assessments as part of EPA’s continuing effort to improve guidance on the use of sound science to support decision-making. This summary is not an official abstract. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract

    Choe K, Whittington D, Lauria DT. Economic Benefits of Surface Water Quality Improvements in Developing Countries: A Case Study of Davao, Philippines. Land Economics [Internet]. 1996;72 :519-537. Publisher's VersionAbstract

    Two nonmarket valuation techniques- CV and the travel cost model-are used to estimate the economic value that people in the Philippines place on improving the water quality of rivers and the sea near their community. Both estimates approximate each other and are low in both absolute terms and as a percentage of household income. This suggests that water pollution control is not a high priority for local residents and support the argument that households' willingness to pay for environmental amenities such as improved water quality is low. This summary is not an official abstract. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract

    Barton DN, Mourato S. Transferring the Benefits of Avoided Health Effects from Water Pollution Between Portugal and Costa Rica. Environment and Development Economics [Internet]. 2003;8 :351-371. Publisher's VersionAbstract

    Two CV surveys elicited information on willingness-to-pay (upper and lower bounds) to avoid eye irritation, gastroenteritis, and coughing episodes due to seawater pollution among beach visitors in two countries. Health benefit transfer from one to the other lead to very high errors illustrating the challenge of applying this approach across different countries - and how doing so could be inappropriate (and potentially harmful) for informing policy. This summary is not an official abstract. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract

    Eilers P, Groot B. Effects of ambient particulate matter and ozone on daily mortality in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Arch. Environ. Health [Internet]. 1997;52 :455. Publisher's VersionAbstract

    The association between daily variations in all-cause mortality from 1983-1991 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and ambient air pollution was investigated. Twenty-four-hour average concentrations of total suspended particulates, Black Smoke, ozone, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide were available on a daily basis. Every other day, total iron content in total suspended particulates samples was available. Poisson regression analysis was used to study associations between air pollution and mortality; generalized additive models were used to adjust for confounders (e.g., seasonal trends, weather). Daily mortality was associated most consistently with previous-day concentrations of total suspended particulates (relative risk = 1.05 for a change of 91 microg/m3) and ozone (relative risk = 1.06 for a change of 67 microg/m3). Total iron was associated less consistently with mortality than total suspended particulate mass was. The associations of mortality with ozone and total suspended particulates were independent of sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide. The relative risks of total suspended particulates and particularly ozone were higher for subjects older than 78 y. The relationship between mortality and ozone did not deviate significantly from linear. The relationship between mortality and total suspended particulates was linear below 100 microg/m3 and leveled off at higher concentrations. If a threshold exists for the effects on mortality of these components, it exists at very low levels.

    Knowlton K, Rosenthal JE, Hogrefe C, Lynn B, Gaffin S. Assessing ozone-related health impacts under a changing climate. Environ. Health Perspect. [Internet]. 2004;112 :1557-63. Publisher's VersionAbstract

    Climate change may increase the frequency and intensity of ozone episodes in future summers in the United States. However, only recently have models become available that can assess the impact of climate change on O3 concentrations and health effects at regional and local scales that are relevant to adaptive planning. We developed and applied an integrated modeling framework to assess potential O3-related health impacts in future decades under a changing climate. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration–Goddard Institute for Space Studies global climate model at 4° × 5° resolution was linked to the Penn State/National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesoscale Model 5 and the Community Multiscale Air Quality atmospheric chemistry model at 36 km horizontal grid resolution to simulate hourly regional meteorology and O3 in five summers of the 2050s decade across the 31-county New York metropolitan region. We assessed changes in O3-related impacts on summer mortality resulting from climate change alone and with climate change superimposed on changes in O3 precursor emissions and population growth. Considering climate change alone, there was a median 4.5% increase in O3-related acute mortality across the 31 counties. Incorporating O3 precursor emission increases along with climate change yielded similar results. When population growth was factored into the projections, absolute impacts increased substantially. Counties with the highest percent increases in projected O3 mortality spread beyond the urban core into less densely populated suburban counties. This modeling framework provides a potentially useful new tool for assessing the health risks of climate change.

    Anenberg SC, Horowitz LW, Tong DQ, West J. An Estimate of the Global Burden of Anthropogenic Ozone and Fine Particulate Matter on Premature Human Mortality Using Atmospheric Modeling. Environmental Health Perspectives [Internet]. 2010;118 :1189-1196. Publisher's VersionAbstract

    BACKGROUND:

    Ground-level concentrations of ozone (O3) and fine particulate matter [< or = 2.5 microm in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5)] have increased since preindustrial times in urban and rural regions and are associated with cardiovascular and respiratory mortality.

    OBJECTIVES:

    We estimated the global burden of mortality due to O3 and PM2.5 from anthropogenic emissions using global atmospheric chemical transport model simulations of preindustrial and present-day (2000) concentrations to derive exposure estimates.

    METHODS:

    Attributable mortalities were estimated using health impact functions based on long-term relative risk estimates for O3 and PM2.5 from the epidemiology literature. Using simulated concentrations rather than previous methods based on measurements allows the inclusion of rural areas where measurements are often unavailable and avoids making assumptions for background air pollution.

    RESULTS:

    Anthropogenic O3 was associated with an estimated 0.7 +/- 0.3 million respiratory mortalities (6.3 +/- 3.0 million years of life lost) annually. Anthropogenic PM2.5 was associated with 3.5 +/- 0.9 million cardiopulmonary and 220,000 +/- 80,000 lung cancer mortalities (30 +/- 7.6 million years of life lost) annually. Mortality estimates were reduced approximately 30% when we assumed low-concentration thresholds of 33.3 ppb for O3 and 5.8 microg/m3 for PM2.5. These estimates were sensitive to concentration thresholds and concentration-mortality relationships, often by > 50%.

    CONCLUSIONS:

    Anthropogenic O3 and PM2.5 contribute substantially to global premature mortality. PM2.5 mortality estimates are about 50% higher than previous measurement-based estimates based on common assumptions, mainly because of methodologic differences. Specifically, we included rural populations, suggesting higher estimates; however, the coarse resolution of the global atmospheric model may underestimate urban PM(2.5) exposures.

     

    Arbex MA, Saldiva PHário N, Pereira LAA, Braga FA. Impact of outdoor biomass air pollution on hypertension hospital admissions. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health [Internet]. 2009;64 :573-579. Publisher's VersionAbstract

    Background This study aimed to evaluate the association between the total suspended particles (TSP) generated from burning sugar cane plantations and the incidence of hospital admissions from hypertension in the city of Araraquara.Methods The study was an ecological time-series study. Total daily records of hypertension (ICD 10th I10-15) were obtained from admitted patients of all ages in a hospital in Araraquara, São Paulo State, Brazil, from 23 March 2003 to 27 July 2004. The daily concentration of TSP (μg/m3) was obtained using a Handi-Vol sampler placed in downtown Araraquara. The local airport provided daily measures of temperature and humidity. In generalised linear Poisson regression models, the daily number of hospital admissions for hypertension was considered to be the dependent variable and the daily TSP concentration the independent variable.Results TSP presented a lagged effect on hypertension admissions, which was first observed 1 day after a TSP increase and remained almost unchanged for the following 2 days. A 10 μg/m3 increase in the TSP 3 day moving average lagged in 1 day led to an increase in hypertension-related hospital admissions during the harvest period (12.5%, 95% CI 5.6% to 19.9%) that was almost 30% higher than during non-harvest periods (9.0%, 95% CI 4.0% to 14.3%).Conclusions Increases in TSP concentrations were associated with hypertension-related hospital admissions. Despite the benefits of reduced air pollution in urban cities achieved by using ethanol produced from sugar cane to power automobiles, areas where the sugar cane is produced and harvested were found to have increased public health risk.

    Avnery S, Mauzerall DL, Liu JF, Horowitz LW. Global crop yield reductions due to surface ozone exposure: 1 year 2000 crop production losses and economic damage. Atmospheric Environment [Internet]. 2011;45 :2284-2296. Publisher's VersionAbstract

    Exposure to elevated concentrations of surface ozone (O3) causes substantial reductions in the agricultural yields of many crops. As emissions of O3 precursors rise in many parts of the world over the next few decades, yield reductions from O3 exposure appear likely to increase the challenges of feeding a global population projected to grow from 6 to 9 billion between 2000 and 2050. This study estimates year 2000 global yield reductions of three key staple crops (soybean, maize, and wheat) due to surface ozone exposure using hourly O3 concentrations simulated by the Model for Ozone and Related Chemical Tracers version 2.4 (MOZART-2). We calculate crop losses according to two metrics of ozone exposure e seasonal daytime (08:00e19:59) mean O3 (M12) and accumulated O3 above a threshold of 40 ppbv (AOT40) e and predict crop yield losses using crop-specific O3 concentration:response functions established by field studies. Our results indicate that year 2000 O3-induced global yield reductions ranged, depending on the metric used, from 8.5e14% for soybean, 3.9e15% for wheat, and 2.2e5.5% for maize. Global crop production losses totaled 79e121 million metric tons, worth $11e18 billion annually (USD2000). Our calculated yield reductions agree well with previous estimates, providing further evidence that yields of major crops across the globe are already being substantially reduced by exposure to surface ozone e a risk that will grow unless O3-precursor emissions are curbed in the future or crop cultivars are developed and utilized that are resistant to O3.

    Bell ML, Goldberg R, Hogrefe C, Kinney P, Knowlton K, Lynn B, Rosenthal J, Rosenzweig C, Patz JA. Climate change, ambient ozone, and health in 50 U.S. cities. Climatic Change [Internet]. 2007;82 :61-76. Publisher's VersionAbstract

    We investigated how climate change could affect ambient ozone concentrations and the subsequent human health impacts. Hourly concentrations were estimated for 50 eastern US cities for five representative summers each in the 1990s and 2050s, reflecting current and projected future climates, respectively. Estimates of future concentrations were based on the IPCC A2 scenario using global climate, regional climate, and regional air quality models. This work does not explore the effects of future changes in anthropogenic emissions, but isolates the impact of altered climate on ozone and health. The cities' ozone levels are estimated to increase under predicted future climatic conditions, with the largest increases in cities with present-day high pollution. On average across the 50 cities, the summertime daily 1-h maximum increased 4.8 ppb, with the largest increase at 9.6 ppb. The average number of days/summer exceeding the 8-h regulatory standard increased 68%. Elevated ozone levels correspond to approximately a 0.11% to 0.27% increase in daily total mortality. While actual future ozone concentrations depend on climate and other influences such as changes in emissions of anthropogenic precursors, the results presented here indicate that with other factors constant, climate change could detrimentally affect air quality and thereby harm human health.

Pages