How Many Deaths World-Wide are Caused by Transportation-Related Air Pollution?

Estimating source-attributable health impacts of ambient fine particulate matter exposure: global premature mortality from surface transportation emissions in 2005 (11 page pdf, S E Chambliss, R Silva, J J West, M Zeinali and R Minjares, Environmental Research Letters, Oct. 10, 2014)
Today we review an estimate of the number of air pollution deaths globally caused by transportation, principally PM 2.5. Results indicate that out of 3.2 million air pollution deaths, 242,000 are caused by transportation, with higher numbers in the USA and central Europe related to the proximity of busy roads and an older society, more subject to chronic diseases aggravated by air pollution.

global deaths

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How Likely is a Heart Attack after Exposure to High levels of Air Pollution?

Outdoor Air Pollution and Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest in Okayama, Japan (Abstract, Takashi Yorifuji, Etsuji Suzuki, Saori Kashima, Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, Oct. 2014)
Also discussed here: High-pollution days linked to increased risk of cardiac arrest (ScienceDaily, Oct. 7, 2014)

Today we review research into the risk of heart attacks after several days of high levels of air pollution. Results indicate a greater risk of between 17 and 40% after exposure to particulate matter or ozone respectively.



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Why are there No Regulations to Control Spills at Gas Stations?

Infiltration and Evaporation of Small Hydrocarbon Spills at Gas Stations (Abstract,Markus Hilpert , Patrick N. Breysse, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, Sep. 19, 2014)
Also discussed here: Small spills at gas stations could cause significant public health risks over time (ScienceDaily, Oct. 7, 2014)

Today we review research into the potential health threat posed by accidental spills that occur when individuals fill up their vehicles at gas stations which themselves are becoming much larger by an order of magnitude. Estimates are that each gas station has 1,500 litres of spills each year which evaporates into the air or makes its way and pollutes the groundwater and drains which empty into rivers which supply municipal water supplies. Regulations generally do not cover these spills which result in “non-negligible human exposure to toxic and carcinogenic gasoline compounds.”

Old gasoline pumps, Norway

Old gasoline pumps, Norway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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How is Exposure to Pollution affected by Where the Pollution is Measured?

Before the Air Pollution Control Act of 1955, ...

Before the Air Pollution Control Act of 1955, air pollution was not considered a national environmental problem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Identifying exposure disparities in air pollution epidemiology specific to adverse birth outcomes (4 page pdf, Laura A Geer, Environmental Research Letters, Oct. 8, 2014)

Today we review a short research note that pointed out that almost half of the population of the USA live in areas with higher air pollution levels than standards allow. At the same time, standard reference air quality monitors tend to be located in high pollution areas and also in areas where certain sectors of the population live, some of whom are more vulnerable to those impacts- such as pregnant women with low incomes. Unless these biases are taken into account, general conclusions drawn may exaggerate the impacts. This suggests both more care in monitor siting and allowance for bias in population exposure.

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How Much of a Health Threat is it to Live Near a Highway?

Residential Proximity to Major Roadways and Prevalent Hypertension Among Postmenopausal Women: Results From the Women’s Health Initiative San Diego Cohort (12 page pdf, Kipruto Kirwa, Melissa N. Eliot, Yi Wang, Marc A. Adams, Cindy G. Morgan, Jacqueline Kerr , Gregory J. Norman, Charles B. Eaton, Matthew A. Allison and Gregory A. Wellenius, J Am Heart Assoc., Oct. 1, 2014)

Also discussed here: Hypertension risk rises closer to major roadways (ScienceDaily, Oct. 1, 2014)

And here: Living Near a Highway May Be Bad for Your Blood Pressure (MedlinePLus, Oct. 1, 2014)
Today we review research into the possible links between the prevalence of hypertension for older women (average age 65) and how far they live from a busy roadway or highway. Results indicate that women living within 100 m of a busy road have a 22% higher risk of developing high blood pressure which equates to aging two additional years, compared to women living more than 1000 m from a busy road. The reason for hypertension which affects 1/3 of the USA population may be either noise or air pollution related to emissions from traffic or both.

distance to highway

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What is the Health Impact from Short Term Exposure to a Combination of Air Pollutants?

A Comparison of Risk Estimates for the Effect of Short-Term Exposure to PM, NO2 and CO on Cardiovascular Hospitalizations and Emergency Department Visits: Effect Size Modeling of Study Findings (14 page pdf, Ellen Kirrane, David Svendsgaard, Mary Ross, Barbara Buckley, Allen Davis, Doug Johns 1, Dennis Kotchmar, Thomas C. Long, Thomas J. Luben, Genee Smith and Lindsay Wichers Stanek, Atmopshere, Dec. 6, 2011)

Today we review research that statistically examines the degree to which one pollutant in combination with one or two others (CO, NO2 and PM) on a short term basis (a few days after exposure) affects health impacts and how much correlation exists between pollutants in causing these impacts. Results indicate that there is an association between NO2 and PM as one might expect this from transportation emissions and also the association between NO2 and cardiovascular diseases. The authors recommend a greater density of monitors to measure the pollutant concentrations and to isolate the influence of each.

PM CO and NO2 correlations

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World-wide Causes of Death from Climate Change to the Mid 21st century

Quantitative risk assessment of the effects of climate change on selected causes of death, 2030s and 2050s (128 page pdf, Editors: Simon Hales, Sari Kovats, Simon Lloyd, Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, World Health Organization, Sep. 21, 2014)

Also discussed here: Quantitative risk assessment of the effects of climate change on selected causes of death, 2030s and 2050s (Press Release, WHO, Sep. 21, 2014)

Today we review an updated estimate of the impact of climate change on health by the World Health Organization. Not including deaths from extreme events, the WHO estimates that an additional 241,000 deaths per year by 2030 (rising to 250,000 /yr to 2050) will be caused by climate change impacts that include under-nutrition of children, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress for the elderly. The greatest impacts geographically are in southeast Asia and India with significant impacts also in central and southeast Africa and southeast USA. Because of sea level rise brought about by climate warming and sea ice melt, coastal floods caused by cyclones. While reductions in emissions and mitigation may reduce some of the impacts, deaths from heat exposure and stress are expected to continue to rise above 100,000/yr by 2050.

world map excessive deaths

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