How Does Air Pollution Affect the Health of the Elderly?

Time after Time: Environmental Influences on the Aging Brain (Elizabeth Grossman, Environmental Health Perspectives, Sep. 2, 2014)
Today we review a paper that analyses the impacts of exposure to outdoor air pollution as it relates to the health of the elderly portion of the population – those over 80 are projected to quadruple since 2000. While exercise and intellectual stimuli can keep the brain healthy and may reduce the onset of Alzheimers, exposure to lead or organic pollutants may decrease the defensive mechanisms and increase vascular problems.

oldage pollution

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What are the Health Impacts for People Living Near Biodegradable Waste Sites?

Respiratory and sensory irritation symptoms among residents exposed to low-to-moderate air pollution from biodegradable wastes (Abstract, Victoria Blanes-Vidal, Jesper Bælum, Joel Schwartz, Per Løfstrøm and Lars P Christensen, Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, Aug. 21, 2014)
Also discussed here: Respiratory, Sensory and General Health Symptoms among Populations Exposed to Air Pollution from Biodegradable Wastes (1 page pdf, Victoria Blanes-Vidal, Jesper Bælum, Joel Schwartz, Esmaeil S. Nadimi, Per Løfstrøm, Lars P. Christensen, Poster Paper, International Society for Environmental Epidemiology, Aug. 21, 2014)

Today we review research from Denmark which examined the direct and indirect impacts for people in residences near biodegradable waste sites. Results indicate increased frequency of respiratory and sensory irritation symptoms directly related to dose and exposure.

bio waste

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What is E-Waste and What Health Risks does it Bring?

E-Waste: Health Impacts in Developing Countries (EHS Journal, Jul. 19, 2014)

Today we review a paper that describes the size and health threat of the annual disposal of 40M tones of e-waste, nearly 50% of which comes from EU and USA/Canada, with most of the disposal and processing taking place in Asian countries such as India, China and Pakistan. E-waste is considered more dangerous than most other municipal waste because of the harmful metals that when incinerated produce high health risk dioxins and furans. Government and public health regulations are called for in the manufacturing and recycling of electronic devices, as well as in the safe handling of the waste management.

ewaste

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Does Pollution from Afar have a Greater Health Impact than Locally Produced Traffic-Related Pollution?

The effect of secondary inorganic aerosols, soot and the geographical origin of air mass on acute myocardial infarction hospitalisations in Gothenburg, Sweden during 1985-2010: a case-crossover study (29 page pdf, Janine Wichmann, Karin Sjöberg, Lin Tang, Marie Haeger-Eugensson, Annika Rosengren, Eva M Andersson, Lars Barregard and Gerd Sallsten, Environmental Health, Jul. 29, 2014)

Today we review an extensive statistical analysis of 26 years of environmental and health data from Gothenburg, Sweden aimed at finding any associations from long range transport of air pollutants (especially with coal burning plants to the east that could affect Gothenburg) and from pollution created locally from vehicle emissions etc. Results indicate an increase in heart disease in winter from local emissions and no significant cross-relationship with pollutants from long range.

English: Smokestacks from a wartime production...

English: Smokestacks from a wartime production plant, World War II. Myanmasa:  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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How Bad is the Air Quality from LNG facilities at Kitimat, the end of the KeyStone XL pipeline?

Kitimat Airshed Emissions Effects Assessment(363 page pdf, Julian Aherne, Susan Barnes, Beth Beaudry, Simon Casley, Hui Cheng, Alexander Hall, Anna Henolson, Daniel Krewski, John Laurence, David Marmorek, Carol Murray, Greg Paoli, Shaun Watmough, prepared by ESSA Technologies Ltd. for British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Apr. 25, 2014)

Also discussed here: New airshed study is a “nail in the coffin” for government LNG dreams in Kitimat(Andrew Weaver, Jul. 18, 2014)

Today we review an environmental impact assessment report prepared for the British Columbian government in anticipation of developments associated with Liquid Natural Gas Terminals that could affect human health and the environment. The developments include an existing aluminum smelter, four proposed LNG terminals, a proposed oil refinery, and gas turbine powered electrical generation facilities, as well as related marine transportation sources. The assessment used a colour-coded system for impacts of air pollution on human health ranging from green for “clean environment” though yellow and orange to red for values that breach the US EPA National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Similarly for natural environmental impacts on vegetation, lakes and soil they range from green for negligible impact through to red where the impact is considered to be “extremely unacceptable”.

The results indicate a red for human health for hourly SO2 and a red for aquatic ecosystems. In the words of Dr. Andrew Weaver, the only member of the provincial parliament with an advanced degree in environmental science, in addition to be a world leader in climate science and modeling “The study undeniably concludes that if you put four LNG plants into Kitimat you will have critical impacts on human health.”.

Nothing more needs to be said …. except STOP.

kitimat cove

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When Do you Become “Old”?

Population ageing: the timebomb that isn’t? (5 page pdf, Jeroen Spijker and John MacInnes, BMJ(British Medical Journal), Nov. 12, 2013)

Today we review a paper about aging and the implications of using a fixed age, such as 65, to indicate when to worry about “old age” diseases, particularly those such as heart and lung diseases that are aggravated by air pollution. The authors contend that the important statistic to use is the years of remaining life expectancy when the average life expectancy in the UK has increased by 34 years, thus moving the yard stick from the pension age of 65 to later. Over time improvements in medical technology and, indirectly in air quality in some places, seniors are living longer which has increased the size of the older generation, while growing obesity has resulted in earlier occurrence of diabetes with negative impacts on life expectancy. It is clear that the dynamics that affect health of the elderly has changed.

old age dependency

 

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Reporting Local Industrial Air Pollution in Canada’s Largest City

Tracking and Reducing Chemicals in Toronto: Third Annual ChemTRAC Report (David McKeown, Medical Officer of Health, Toronto Board of Health, Jun. 13, 2014)

Also discussed here : ChemTRAC – Improving Toronto’s Air: 2014 Annual Report (David McKeown, Medical Officer of Health, Toronto Board of Health, Jun. 13, 2014)

And here: Toronto Public Health Reveals Local Air Pollution Sources (Jennifer Kalnins Temple, Envirolaw, Jul. 10, 2014)

Today we review the third annual report from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health on the monitoring of local industrial air pollutants, a program (ChemTRAC) that requires local industries to emissions of 25 specific pollutants- the top three of which are VOCs, NOx and PM2.5. The Health Board estimates that of the 1300 deaths caused by air pollution each year, local industry is responsible for 120, in addition to 200 hospitalizations. This not only underlines the importance of the program but also allows for identification of sources of health risks not previously defined- the mercury releases from incineration of human remains at crematoria for example- and allows companies to take measure to reduce the release of critical pollutants. A large majority (90%) of the reporting companies found the ChemTRAC program helpful and 2/3s found that the program helped them to reduce harmful emissions The only question one might ask- why is this not required in other cities, especially large ones with industrial pollution within their boundaries?

map of toronto air poll sources

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