What are the Health Benefits of Congestion Pricing?

Congestion Pricing, Air Pollution, and Urban Health (11 page pdf, Emilia Simeonova, Janet Currie, Peter Nilsson and Reed Walker, American Economics Association Meeting, Chicago, Jan. 2017)

Also discussed here: Driving Fee Rolls Back Asthma Attacks in Stockholm (Nala Rogers, Inside Science. Feb. 2, 2017)

Today we review research on the impact of the introduction of congestion pricing in Stockholm, in 2006, and the reduction of traffic that followed on the health of children in that city. Pollution levels in that city are lower than EPA’s standards. Results indicate that the pricing system caused a drop in traffic volumes by 25%, reductions in NO2 and particulate (PM10) pollution of 5 and 10% and a reduction in asthma cases by 12% in the first  seven months which increased to 45% over the longer term (several years). While the benefits in other cities with fewer diesel vehicles (emitting PM) may not be as great, it is clear that there are benefits even when the air quality in a given city (such as Ottawa) is considered “good” and that there are negative health impacts that begin at lower thresholds than EPA standards project.


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Does Exposure to Traffic-Related Pollution Affect Dementia in Older Women?

Particulate air pollutants, APOE alleles and their contributions to cognitive impairment in older women and to amyloidogenesis in experimental models (8 page pdf, M Cacciottolo, X Wang, I Driscoll, N Woodward, A Saffari, J Reyes, M L Serre, W Vizuete, C Sioutas, T E Morgan, M Gatz, H C Chui, S A Shumaker, S M Resnick, M A Espeland, C E Finch and J C Chen, Translational Psychiatry, Jan. 31, 2017)
Also discussed here: Air pollution may cause 21 percent of dementias worldwide, study suggests (The San Diego Union-Tribune, Feb. 1, 2017)

And here: Early Onset Familial AD (Gabrielle Strobel, ALZFORUM)

Today we review research based on longer term exposure by female mice to PM 2.5 and how this could affect older women exposed to traffic-related air pollution in their risks of having dementia. Results indicate that women in the late 60s and 70s are 92% more likely to develop dementia if they live in areas that exceed EPA’s standards for PM2.5. The increase in the elderly and the greater risk of dementia has resulted in an overall increase in this disease, despite the improvements in levels of PM 2.5 over the last decade or two, as well as in the increase of deaths from Alzheimer’s, the sixth leading cause of death nationwide.


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How is the Brain Damaged by Exposure to Traffic Related Air Pollution?

The Polluted Brain – Evidence Builds that Dirty Air Causes Alzheimer’s, Dementia (AAAS Science, Emily UnderwoodJan. 26, 2017)

Also discussed here: Particulate Air Pollutants and White Matter Brain Aging (Abstract, Jiu-Chiuan Chen, Xinhui Wang, Mark A. Espeland, Helena Chui, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, Jul. 2014)
And here: Traffic-related air pollution and brain development (21 page pdf, Nicholas Woodward, Caleb E. Finch and Todd E. Morgan , AIMS Environmental Science. May 6, 2015)

Today we review a series of research articles that reaffirm the health risks presented to people (and mice) who breathe in air polluted by vehicles and containing ultra-fine particles, in particular. Signs of memory loss and Alzheimer’s are evident in mice exposed to UFP. Levels of fine air particles within 50 m of  major roadways are 10 times higher than at 150 m and those within 50 m stand a 12% higher risk of developing dementia. Tests involving prenatal mice showed that fetal damage can be done by fine particles without entering the placenta. The closer people live to major roadways, the smaller their celebral brain volume. What more do city planners and public health officials need to know about running highways and traffic through cities?


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Impact of Nanoparticulates from Traffic Emissions on Viral Lung Infection

Nanoparticle exposure reactivates latent herpesvirus and restores a signature of acute infection (19 page pdf, Christine Sattler, Franco Moritz, Shanze Chen, Beatrix Steer, David Kutschke, Martin Irmler, Johannes Beckers, Oliver Eickelberg, Philippe Schmitt-Kopplin, Heiko Adler and Tobias Stoeger, Particle and Fibre Toxicology, Jan. 10, 2017)

Also discussed here: Nanoparticle exposure can awaken dormant viruses in the lungs (ScienceDaily, Jan. 17, 2017)

Today we review a lab experiment on cells in mice that examined the impact of exposure to nanoparticles (NP). Results indicate that these nanoparticles can “reawaken” latent herpes viruses in the lung by weakening the immune system and allowing viruses to invade the host cell. The researchers would like to examine if these results can be transferred to humans and if so, if exposure to emissions from combustion and traffic-related emissions suggest another serious impact.


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Living Close to Traffic and the Risk of Dementia

Living close to major roads linked to small increase in dementia risk (Abstract, the Lancet, Jan.4, 2017)

Also discussed here: Living near major roads is associated with increased dementia risk, study finds (Susan Mayor, The British Medical Journal, Jan. 5, 2017)

And here: Living near major traffic linked to higher risk of dementia (Public Health Ontario, Jan. 4, 2017)

And here: Does Living by a Busy Road Boost Dementia Risk? Exposure to heavy traffic tied to cognitive decline (Alexandria Bachert , MedPage Today, Jan. 4, 2017)

Today we review a study with over 6.5 million people living in Ontario that examined the impact of living near high traffic roadways and the incidence of dementia, the first time such a study has been conducted in Canada. Results indicate a 7 percent higher risk for those who live within 50m (half a city block)compared to those who live more than 200 m from these roadways who have no higher risk. The specific pollutants found responsible include PM2.5 and NO2. Interesting that other neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis were found to not have a higher risk.


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Do Trees in Cities Help or Harm Our Health?

Air pollution: outdoor air quality and health (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Dec.1, 2016)

Also discussed here: Trees could make urban pollution even worse (quartz, Dec.6, 2016)

And here: Neighborhood greenspace and health in a large urban center (Nature, Scientific Reports, Jul. 9, 2015)

Today we review a guide about urban air pollution that looks into the role that street trees play with respect to reducing air pollution. The overall conclusion was that trees are unlikely to reduce air pollution and could add to it, especially if the trees reduce ventilation of air currents. This is true also of the more recent use of green walls. It is also acknowledged [in a Toronto study]that urban trees can improve health – as much as a $10,000 raise or feeling 7 years younger. Pine trees are singled out as a particular contributer to urban pollution through their emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) which combine with the NO2 in car emissions to produce low level ozone, one of a handful of pollutants harmful to health.


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How Does Air Pollution Accelerate Aging?

Long-term exposure to air pollution is associated with biological aging (16 page pdf, Cavin K. Ward-Caviness, Jamaji C. Nwanaji-Enwerem, Kathrin Wolf, Simone Wahl, Elena Colicino, Letizia Trevisi, Itai Kloog, Allan C. Just, Pantel Vokonas, Josef Cyrys, Christian Gieger, Joel Schwartz, Andrea A. Baccarelli, Alexandra Schneider and Annette Peters, Oncotarget, Oct. 25, 2016)

Also discussed here: Telomere (Wikipedia)

Today we review research conducted with older men and women (median age 74) where several measures of aging and old age illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and cognitive  abilities, were studied including chromosome characteristics (telomere length) and immune cell counts. Results indicate that air pollution exposure over a long time can damage the DNA, alter immune cell counts and add to oxidative stress with greater impact on men than women.


Telomere (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The Tire and Brake Share of Traffic-Related Air Pollution

Air pollution: Tyre and brake fatigue compound an exhausting problem (OECD, Shayne MacLachlan, OECD Environment Directorate, Sep.8, 2016)

Today we review research into the impact of particles generated from tires and brake wear. The amount of particulate matter for an average urban arterial road with 25K vehicles per day can produce up to 9 kg of dust per km- bigger roads or highways with 100K VPD can produce four times that. Recycled tires from the billion cars in the road globally into materials used in playgrounds is being called the new asbestos. Banning petrol powered cars from cities to encourage e-cars and cycling means less emissions from the tailpipe and good for carbon emission reduction but it also means the same wear and particles from brakes and tires, in terms of air pollution and health, even from bicycles!

Studded tyre Español: Neumático de invierno co...

Studded tyre Español: Neumático de invierno con clavos, modelo Nokian Hakkapeliitta 4 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The Future of the World and Cities in It

Urban futures: anticipating a world of cities (6 page pdf, Geci Karuri-Sebina, Karel-Herman Haegeman and Apiwat Ratanawaraha, Foresight, Sep. 10, 2016)

Today we review an introduction to a series of papers on cities from a foresight point of view. It begins with a prediction that the city has evolved from the city-state in Ancient Greece to city-worlds in the next 100 years. By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas, compared to 54% today. While cities can improve economic prosperity, reducing poverty and becoming more inclusive socially, there are also downside risks of unemployment and poverty, as well as tensions based on religion, race and values – in addition to the major health threats that resulting congestion and emissions from downtown traffic where city government has not taken steps to alleviate. While cities are good at generating problems they also have a problem solving capability. The paper ends on an optimistic note: “In a world that increasingly appears ungovernable, cities – not states – are the islands of governance on which the future world order will be built”- something that those who try to come to grips with climate change and urban air pollution need to acknowledge and take count of in reducing carbon emissions and adapting to the challenge.

Indoor and Built Environment

Indoor and Built Environment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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How is Air Pollution Linked to Type 2 Diabetes?

Association Between Long-Term Exposure to Air Pollution and Biomarkers Related to Insulin Resistance, Subclinical Inflammation and Adipokines (Abstract, Kathrin Wolf, Anita Popp, Alexandra Schneider, Susanne Breitner, Regina Hampel, Wolfgang Rathmann, Christian Herder, Michael Roden, Wolfgang Koenig, Christa Meisinger, Annette Peters, KORA-Study Group, Diabetes, Aug. 8, 2016)

Also discussed here: Air pollution a risk factor for diabetes, say researchers (ScienceDaily, Sep.8,  2016)

And here: Diabetes Research – Risk Factor Air Pollution (Press Release, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Sep. 8, 2016)

And here: Air pollution exposure found to be risk factor for type 2 diabetes (Green Car Congress, Sep. 8, 2016)

Today we review research from Germany which examined the level of air pollution at the places of residence of 3,000 participants and how this relates to blood marker levels such as impaled glucose metabolism and the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Results indicate that a 7.9μg/m3 increment in particulate matter <10μm was associated with insulin resistance and that NO2, in particular, had a highly significant effects with pre-diabetic individuals as opposed to those who were either diabetic or not.


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Measuring Exposure to Urban Air Pollution Where People Work rather than Where they Live.

The Impact of Mobile-Device-Based Mobility Patterns on Quantifying Population Exposure to Air Pollution (11 page pdf, Marguerite Nyhan, Sebastian Grauwin, Rex Britter, Bruce Misstear, Aonghus McNabola, Francine Laden, Steven R. H. Barrett, and Carlo Ratti, Environmental Science and Trechnology, Aug. 12, 2016)

Also discussed here: Air pollution threat hidden as research ‘presumes people are at home’: study (The Guardian, Aug. 24, 2016)

And here: Urban air pollution is worse than we think—but better data might solve the problem (Barbara Eldredge, CURBED, Aug. 30, 2016)

Today we review research into a study in New York City that compared the exposure to urban air pollution during an active day at the place of work and travelling to that rather than as earlier exposure studies have done only at the place of residence. The results indicate, first of all, that the highest concentration of PM2.5 is not surprisingly in central Brooklyn and Queens and in the southern half of Manhattan Island. Pollution levels at places of work compared to those at residences was 10 μg/m3 higher which suggests that a higher congestion charge be applied to vehicles which enter the high emission zones (which is the basis for the [present congestion charge zone in London, UK) .Future applications of this research when self driving cars are the norm might involve automatically controlling their movement to avoid adding to the pollution levels in some packets of the city.


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Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Alzheimer’s Disease

High-resolution analytical imaging and electron holography of magnetite particles in amyloid cores of Alzheimer’s disease (12 page pdf, Germán Plascencia-Villa, Arturo Ponce, Joanna F. Collingwood, M. Josefina Arellano-Jiménez, Xiongwei Zhu, Jack T. Rogers, Israel Betancourt, Miguel José-Yacamán & George Perry, Nature Scientific Reports, Apr. 28, 2016)

Also discussed here: Toxic air pollution particles found in human brains (Guardian, Sep. 5, 2016)

And here: ‘Air pollution’ particles linked to Alzheimer’s found in human brain (Sarah Knapton, The Telegraph, Sep. 5, 2016)

Today we review research that has found tiny iron oxide [magnetite] particulates, produced by diesel engines as well as from brake wear in cars and trains, can enter the human brain where they pose a risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s which affects more than 5 million people over 65  in the USA alone.Researchers found magnetite in the brains of 37 people in their study areas of Manchester and Mexico.


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How Does Heat Stress Affect the Thinking Ability of Old Men?

Cognitive function and short-term exposure to residential air temperature: A repeated measures study based on spatiotemporal estimates of temperature  (Abstract, Lingzhen Dai, Itai Kloog, Brent A. Coull, David Sparrow, Avron Spiro III, Pantel S. Vokonas, Joel D. Schwartz, Environmental Research, Jul. 5, 2016)
Today we review research into the cognitive abilities of a sample of older men (average age 74) in the northeast USA to exposure to indoor temperatures of up to 25.7 C for short periods of time. This is important for at least two reasons: over the next 20 years, climate change will lead to a doubling of the number of days above 30C and, in addition, the number of people over 70 is also expected to double over the next 20 years. Earlier studies indicate that exposure to outdoor temperatures above 32C (and below -10C) led to the greatest drop in cognitive abilities.  Heat stress may lead to poor decision making that adds to the health risk that these people face during heat waves. Results indicate that higher temperatures affect hippocampal neural activities that are crucial for brain functions like learning and memory. Both hot and cold temperatures are associated with a loss of cognitive abilities and this may be greater for persons over the age of 70. Further research along these lines is needed to examine the impact on older women.


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How Polluted is Rome’s Air?

Assessment of the Air Pollution Level in the City of Rome (Italy) (15 page pdf, Gabriele Battista, Tiziano Pagliaroli, Luca Mauri, Carmine Basilicata and Roberto De Lieto Vollaro, Sustainability, Aug. 23, 2016)

Today we review an assessment of urban pollution in Italy’s largest city, Rome, whose population in the metropolitan area reaches 4.3 million. Emissions from private vehicles, used by 60% of the population, are the main source of pollution, particularly in winter,  with peaks twice daily at rush hour, like many other large cities in the developed world. PM2.5 is one of a small number of pollutants with major health impacts as well as damage to monuments and historical buildings n the urban area which are many in this city with a long history. Reduction or elimination of the post polluting vehicles (Euro class 0,1  and 2) is seen as the most effective way to reduce pollution levels.


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What is the Future for the Summer Olympics with Global Warming?

The last Summer Olympics? Climate change, health, and work outdoors (Kirk. R. Smith, The Lancet, Aug. 13, 2016)

Also discussed here: When Will It Get Too Hot to Hold the Summer Olympics? (Linda Poon, MSN, Aug. 15, 2016)

And here: By 2085, most cities could be too hot for the Summer Olympics (Chris Mooney, Washington Post, Aug. 16, 2016)

And here: Are the Winter Olympics at Risk because of Global Climate Warming? (Pollution Free Cities, Mar.5, 2014)

Today we review a new report about the feasibility of holding the summer Olympic games when the temperatures and humidity get to levels unsafe for vigorous activities. Just as lack of cold and snow will make the choice of sites for Winter Olympics difficult, so it is with high levels of heat and moisture in the air with the Summer Olympics  The authors predict that with the course climate warming is on now that, in 50-60 years (2085), there will only be 8 cities out of  543 cities outside western Europe that would be “low risk” or acceptable. This same threat applies more generally to anyone attempting to work or exercise physically outdoors during the summer heat.


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Does Air Pollution Affect Productivity?

The Effect of Pollution on Worker Productivity: Evidence from Call-Center Workers in China (Abstract, Tom Chang, Joshua Graff Zivin, Tal Gross, Matthew Neidell, NBER Working Paper No. 22328, Jun. 2016)
Also discussed here: The effect of pollution on worker productivity: Evidence from call-centre workers in China (Tom Chang, Tal Gross, Joshua Graff Zivin, Matthew Neidell, VOX- CEPR’s Policy Portal, Jul. 15, 016)

And here:Pollution is bad for your health, but is it also making you less productive? (Tal Gross, Tom Chang, Joshua Graff Zivin, Matthew NeidellWorld Economic Forum, Jul. 25, 2016)

Today we review research that looks at how the productivity of call workers in China was affected by higher levels of pollution. Results indicate that a 10% increase in the Air Pollution Index (API) was associated with a 0.3% drop in calls handled each day. Translated to China’s office workers as a whole, a 10% improvement in air pollution equates to $2.2 Billion/year in productivity. Or, to put it in a big city North American context (Los Angeles), were the 90 days that pollution levels exceeded EPA standards eliminated, the productivity for that city alone would be $378 greater. As the authors comment in terms of broader implications, pollution restrictions, aimed at an improved environment, are sometimes seen as a negative, unfair “tax” by businesses. This paper shows that it could help rather than hinder their bottom line.


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Exposure to Traffic-Related Air Pollution (TRAP) by Children up to 15 Years Old

Long-term air pollution exposure and lung function in 15 year-old adolescents living in an urban and rural area in Germany: The GINIplus and LISAplus cohorts (Abstract,  Elaine Fuertes, Johannes Bracher , Claudia Flexeder , Iana Markevych , Claudia Klümper, Barbara Hoffmann , Ursula Krämer, Andrea von Berg , Carl-Peter Bauer , Sibylle Koletzko , Dietrich Berdel, Joachim Heinrich, Holger Schulz, International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, Mar. 2015)

Today we review research that tries to answer the question of whether exposure to traffic-related air pollution by children has both a short term and long term effect on their lung development. Results indicate that while no link was found between long term exposure on lung development, that those who had asthma did show a link with long term exposure to NO2. It was also observed that the impact of short term exposure may be reversible later in their lives.

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Pathways for Carbon Free Energy for the World

100% Clean and Renewable Wind, Water, and Sunlight (WWS) All-Sector Energy Roadmaps for 139 Countries of the World (62 page pdf, Mark Z. Jacobson, Mark A. Delucchi, Zack A.F. Bauer, Savannah C. Goodman, William E. Chapman, Mary A. Cameron, Alphabetical: Cedric Bozonnat, Liat Chobadi, Jenny R. Erwin, Simone N. Fobi, Owen K. Goldstrom, Sophie H. Harrison, Ted M. Kwasnik, Jonathan Lo, Jingyi Liu, Chun J. Yi, Sean B. Morris, Kevin R. Moy, Patrick L. O’Neill, Stephanie Redfern, Robin Schucker, Mike A. Sontag, Jingfan Wang, Eric Weiner, Alex S. Yachanin, Stanford University, Apr. 24, 2016)

Also discussed here: Clean Energy Could Fuel Most Countries by 2050, Study Shows (Zahra Hirji, InsideClimate News, Niv. 27, 2015)

Today we review a draft report prepared for the 2015 UN Climate Conference in Paris that provides an analysis of the ways that renewable energy source could be applied in 139 countries to replace the carbon sources currently used. Currently, only 3.8% of the power capacity is installed to reach 100% clean energy worldwide. In Canada, as an example, a power load of 412.1 gigawatts  is required by 2050 under a business as usual scenario . Under a clean energy scenario, however, the country would need only 240.2 gigawatts of power. Most of the energy would come from onshore and offshore wind (58%), utility-scale and rooftop solar (21%), hydropower (16.5 %) and a mix of other sources, including geothermal (2%) and wave energy. The avoided health costs would be $107.6B per year which represents 4% of GDP or 9,598 air pollution deaths avoided every year. The estimated total electricity, health and climate cost savings of this transition would amount to about $8,887 per Canadian per year (in 2013 dollars).


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Kidney Disease and Air Pollution

Long-Term Exposure to Air Pollution and Increased Risk of Membranous Nephropathy in China (Abstract, Xin Xu, Guobao Wang, Nan Chen, Tao Lu*, Sheng Nie*, Gang Xu, Ping Zhang§, Yang Luo, Yongping Wang*, Xiaobin Wang, Joel Schwartz**, Jian Geng††‡‡ and Fan Fan Hou, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, Jun. 30, 2016)

Also discussed here: Air pollution linked to increased rates of kidney disease – Regions in China with high levels of fine particulate air pollution have elevated rates of membranous nephropathy (Science Daily, Jun. 30, 2016)

Today we review research on the impact of particulate matter (average annual PM2.5 in the range 6 to 114 μg/m3) on the risk of developing membranous nephropathy (MN), an immune disorder of the kidneys that can lead to kidney failure. Results showed that MN increased 13% over in the eleven year period.


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How Does Exposure to Air Pollution Vary by Race, Age and Location?

Factors influencing time-location patterns and their impact on estimates of exposure: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and Air Pollution (MESA Air) (8 page pdf, Elizabeth W. Spalt, Cynthia L. Curl, Ryan W. Allen, Martin Cohen, Kayleen Williams, Jana A. Hirsch, Sara D. Adar and Joel D. Kaufman, Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, Apr. 29, 2015)

Today we review research that looked into the factors that affect long term exposure to air pollution and its impacts on cardiovascular disease (CVD) and how these compare to assumptions made in promulgating standards such as by the EPA in the USA. These factors include racial origins, time spent indoors and outdoors and age. Results indicate that Chinese spend more time indoors (3 hours more than whites for example) and that standards overestimate air pollution predictions.

English: Smog and air pollution in Pasadena Hi...

English: Smog and air pollution in Pasadena Highway, downtown Los Angeles فارسی: آلودگی شدید هوا در بزرگراه پاسادنا، مرکز شهر لس آنجلس (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Air Pollution – a Leading Risk Factor for Strokes

Global burden of stroke and risk factors in 188 countries, during 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 (Abstract, Valery L Feigin, Gregory A Roth, Mohsen Naghavi, Priya Parmar, Rita Krishnamurthi, Sumeet Chugh,George A Mensah, Bo Norrving, Ivy Shiue, Marie Ng, Kara Estep, Kelly Cercy, Christopher J L Murray, Mohammad H Forouzanfar, The Lancet, Jun. 9, 2016)

Also discussed here: For the first time, air pollution emerges as a leading risk factor for stroke worldwide (Science Daily, Jun. 9, 2016)

Today we review research into 17 risk factors for stroke which affects 15 million people each year though death (6 million) or permanently disability (5 million) or other impacts. The risk of strokes from environmental air pollution (PM2.5) has increased by 33% from 1990 to 2003. The research showed that indoor and outdoor air pollution was responsible for 30% of strokes and made this the largest risk factor. Action by governments to tax high risk factors (such as salt, sugar and tobacco) and for public health to treat high blood pressure are seen as effective ways to reduce strokes.

strokes and ap

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What is the Impact of Air Pollution on the World- Present and Future?

The Economic Consequences of Outdoor Air Pollution (20 page pdf, OECD, Jun. 9. 2016)

Also discussed here: Air pollution to cause 6-9 million premature deaths and cost 1% GDP by 2060 (OECD Press Release, , Jun. 9. 2016)

Today we review a report from the OECD which estimates the impact of air pollution in terms of economic costs and on health costs and premature lives lost. Global costs are expected to rise from $21B in 2015 to $176B in 2060 (in constant 2010 dollars). The number of lost sick days which affects productivity is expected to rise from 1.2 B to 3.7 B in 2060. The number of premature deaths due to outdoor air pollution is expected to rise from 3 million in 2015 to 6-9 million in 2060. Policies to address this include incentives aimed at technology to reduce vehicle emissions, the implementation of improved air quality standards and introduction of emission/congestion/road pricing. The highest per capita costs are found in China, followed by Korea, Eastern Europe and the Caspian region and this is also where premature deaths per capita are highest.

oecd impacts

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How Does Air Pollution Cause Hypertension and Heart Attacks?

Associations of Short-Term and Long-Term Exposure to Ambient Air Pollutants With Hypertension A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (16 page pdf, Yuanyuan Cai, Bo Zhang, Weixia Ke, Baixiang Feng, Hualiang Lin, Jianpeng Xiao, Weilin Zeng, Xing Li, Jun Tao, Zuyao Yang, Wenjun Ma, Tao Liu, Hypertension, Jun. 1, 2016)

Also discussed here: High blood pressure linked to short-, long-term exposure to some air pollutants (Science Daily, May 31, 2016)

Today we review a meta-analysis of the links between high blood pressure and hypertension which lead to the number one cause of death in the world, cardiovascular disease, with air pollutants for both short and long term exposure. Results indicate short term exposure ot particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) and sulphur dioxide (associated with diesel vehicle emissions and coal burning) as well as long term exposure to nitrogen dioxide and PM10 (associated with vehicle emissions) are linked to a higher risk of hypertension. The mechanisms that lead to hypertension include inflammation and oxidative stress from exposure to air pollutants as well as imbalance of the nervous system from particulates.

English: Main complications of persistent high...

English: Main complications of persistent high blood pressure. Sources are found in main article: Wikipedia:Hypertension#Complications. To discuss image, please see Template_talk:Häggström diagrams. To edit, please use the svg version, convert to png and update both versions online. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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How Does Particulate Pollution Affect the Calcification of Arteries?

English: Coronary circulation, with coronary a...

English: Coronary circulation, with coronary arteries labeled in red text and other landmarks in blue text. This vector graphics image was originally created with Adobe Illustrator, and modified with Inkscape. 32px|alt=W3C|link=http://validator.w3.org/✓ The source code of this SVG is valid. Category:Valid SVG (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Association between air pollution and coronary artery calcification within six metropolitan areas in the USA (the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and Air Pollution): a longitudinal cohort study (Abstract, 1 page pdf, Joel D Kaufman, Sara D Adar, R Graham Barr,  Matthew Budoff, Gregory L Burke, Cynthia L Curl,  Martha L Daviglus,  Ana V Diez Roux, Amanda J Gassett,  David R Jacobs Jr, Prof Richard Kronmal, Timothy V Larson, Ana Navas-Acien, Casey Olives, Paul D Sampson, Lianne Sheppard, David S Siscovick,  James H Stein, Adam A Szpiro,  Karol E Watson, The Lancet, May 24, 2016

Also discussed here: Decade-long study shows how air pollution is killing you (ZME Science, May 26, 2016)

Today we review research conducted over a decade on the biological impacts of  traffic-related air pollution (PM2.5 and NOx)  on the arteries which in turn results in a higher risk of heart attack.. Results indicate  coronary calcium increased with increases in PM2.5 by 4.1 Agaston units/yr and in NOx by 4.8 Agaston units/yr. The authors suggest that increases in traffic related pollution especially in urban areas world-wide can be associated with increased cardiovascular diseases.

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Links between Particulate Pollution, Diabetes and Heart Attack Risk

The Association Between Air Pollution Exposure and Glucose and Lipids Levels (8 page pdf, Maayan Yitshak Sade, Itai Kloog, Idit F. Liberty, Joel Schwartz, and Victor Novack, J Clin Endocrinol Metab, May 24, 2016)

Also discussed here: Air pollution exposure may raise heart disease risk – Study found exposure linked to poorer blood sugar, cholesterol measures (ScienceDaily, May 24, 2016)

Today we review research into the the side effects of exposure to particulate air pollutants regarding cardiovascular disease(the leading cause of death in the USA), blood glucose levels and  cholesterol  levels. Results indicate that even a higher exposure to air pollution in the preceding three months leads to higher glucose levels and even a small change in this leads to increased risk of heart attack.

English: A graph of particulate pollution (PM ...

English: A graph of particulate pollution (PM 2.5 vs date) for sensors located in . The particulate pollution shows a seasonal variation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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What Impact Do Local Emission Controls have on Air Pollution?

Response of SO2 and particulate air pollution to local and regional emission controls: A case study in Maryland (16 page pdf, Hao He, Konstantin Y. Vinnikov, Can Li, Nickolay A. Krotkov, Andrew R. Jongeward, Zhanqing Li, JeffreyW. Stehr, Jennifer C. Hains, and Russell R. Dickerson, Earth’s Future, AGU, Apr. 12, 2016)

Today we review the changes that emission controls implemented in the state of Maryland with the Healthy Air Act in 2009, had on the concentration of SO2 and PM2.5 using measurements from satellites in space as well as ground measurements over the last 10 years. Results indicate that emissions from (coal burning) power plants were reduced by 90% while concentrations of SO2 were reduced by 50% and PM2.5 by 25%- with all of the decline of PM2.5 due to a reduction in sulphur. Results were striking in the decrease of the seasonal peak of SO2 in mid summer when there is a higher power demand. The difference between the greater SO2 emission reduction  and concentration reductions shows the added input to the pollution from other than power plants (such as diesel vehicle emissions).

local emission controls

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What is the Impact of Hydraulic Fracturing?

Fracking Communities (22 page pdf, Colin Jerolmack and Nina Berman, Climate Change and the Future of Cities: Mitigation, Adaptation, and Social Change on an Urban Planet, Public Culture, Duke University Press, May 2, 2016)

Also discussed here: Fracking Hits Milestone as Natural Gas Use Rises in U.S. (Bobby Magill, Climate Central, May 6, 2016)
Today we review an article that chronicles the impact fracking has and is having on rural communities and the natural forests and parks that lie among them. Although fracking natural gas (and closing coal plants) has been credited with the 12% reduction in CO2 in the USA from 2007 to 2012, the process involves over 1,000 truckloads of water for just one well and 1,020 shale wells have been approved in Pennsylvania alone. More than 15 million Americans in 11 states live within a mile of a fracked well. New York is the only state where municipal bans are legal. As methane is 20 times more radiatively active in the atmosphere than CO2, leaks of more than 3% from a well eliminate the greenhouse gas benefit that methane enjoys over emissions from coal.

fracking traffic

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How Does Stress Add to Health Impacts of Air Pollution?

A Framework for Examining Social Stress and Susceptibility to Air Pollution in Respiratory Health (8 page pdf Jane E. Clougherty, Laura D. Kubzansky, Environmental Health Perspectives, Sep. 2009)

Also discussed here:EPA Workshop on Interactions between Social Stressors and Environmental Hazards (Abstracts, Environmental Protection Agency, Sep. 19, 2012)

And here: London parents see toxic air as ‘the biggest health threat to their children (Nicholas Cecil , Evening Standard, Mar. 21, 2016)
Today we examine a literature review into the links between psychological stresses and air pollution. Historically studies have shown that asthma is exacerbated when a person is also exposed to traffic related air pollution. Some air pollutants affect oxidative stress and cell production. Stress also may affect the permeability of bodily membranes to allow greater chemical uptake by organs including the brain. Roadway noise causes higher stress and depression as well as a higher heart rate for those who live near traffic.

stress and aq in london

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How Does Early Action to Cut Carbon Emissions Reduce Impacts from Climate Change?

Differential climate impacts for policy-relevant limits to global warming: the case of 1.5 _C and 2 _C (25 page pdf,Carl-Friedrich Schleussner, Tabea K. Lissner, Erich M. Fischer, Jan Wohland, Mahé Perrette, Antonius Golly, Joeri Rogelj, Katelin Childers, Jacob Schewe, Katja Frieler, Matthias Mengel, William Hare, and Michiel Schaeffer, Earth System Dynamics, Apr. 21, 2016)

Also discussed here: 1.5°C vs 2°C: Why half a degree matters (Newsletter, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Apr. 21, 2016)

Today we review research using scenarios with global climate models that show the difference in impacts from limiting global warming to 1.5 deg C or to 2.0 deg C by taking action to reduce carbon emissions and how quickly this is done. Many authoritative sources from COP 21 in Paris indicated that unless cuts of the order of 50% are taken within a decade (2025) that the 1.5 deg goal will be breached and unless the cuts reach 100% by 2050 that the 2 deg goal is probably unachievable. The paper examines the consequences of taking action too slowly or to a less than acceptable degree.

The impacts affect the length of heat waves (lasting 2 months more for 1.5C or 3 months for 2C), water availability, sea level rise, coral reefs and reduced crop yields. Perhaps the largest impact, sea level rise, has the largest implications because the processes involved in melting ice sheets are so large and slow moving. Once the Greenland ice sheet begins to breakdown, sea level rises of 5-7 m are inevitable over centuries with warming over 2C and will accelerate beyond 2100, while early action to limit warming to 1.5C would limit the sea level rise to 40 cm. Clearly policy makers at both the international and national/subnational levels need to step up to the challenge and soon.

2 deg climate impacts

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What Are the Health Impacts from Urban Building Demolitions?

Ambient exposure to coarse and fine particle emissions from building demolition (Abstract, Farhad Azarmi & Prashant Kumar , Atmospheric Environment, Apr. 22, 2016)
Today we review research into the dispersion of fine particles, including Aluminum(Al), silicate(Si) Zinc (Zn) and Magnesium (Mg), from a building demolition in London, UK, using a dispersion model that took into account windspeed and direction,  decay over time and distance from the site. Demolition of buildings is expected to increase significantly, as a result of a 60% greater urban population over the next two decades, in addition to newer urban design forms and technologies.

The exposure to the particles noted above are linked to lung and kidney (renal) diseases, greater mortality and cardiovascular and Alzheimer diseases. Results indicate that concentrations of particulate matter (PM1, PM2.5 and PM 10) downwind of the demolition site is 4 to 11 times (respectively) greater than background levels, Males near or in the site inhale more dust than females and thus have a higher health risk. One could expect similar impacts from the digging of roads and construction of tunnels and ditches for Light and Heavy Rail Transit in large cities, currently in progress and planned for cities such as Toronto and Ottawa.

demolition pm graph
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What is the Risk of Cancer from Exposure to Particulate Matter?

Cancer Mortality Risks from Long-term Exposure to Ambient Fine Particle (Abstract, Chit Ming Wong, Hilda Tsang, Hak Kan Lai, G. Neil Thomas, Kin Bong Lam, King Pan Chan, Qishi Zheng, Jon G. Ayres, Siu Yin Lee, Tai Hing Lam, and Thuan Quoc Thach. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, Feb. 22, 2016)
Also discussed here: Exposure to particulate air pollutants associated with numerous cancers (ScienceDaily, Apr. 29, 2016)

Today we review research that looks at the impact of fine particulates on health, specifically on the risk of cancer, based on 10 years of exposure to this pollution for a large sample of older people (older than 65), living in an urban environment (Hong Kong). Results indicate for every 10 µg/m³ increase in exposure, the risk of dying by cancer goes up by 35% for men (mainly in the digestive tract) and for women the risk of mortality because of breast cancer goes up by 80%. The authors caution that more research is needed to look at the link between cancer other air pollutants in combination with particulate matter.

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Do Wind Turbines Really Impact the Health of Nearby Residents?

Wind turbines and idiopathic symptoms: The confounding effect of concurrent environmental exposures (Abstract, Victoria Blanes-Vidal,  Joel Schwartz, Neurotoxicology and Teratology, Apr. 18, 2016)

Today we review research conducted in Denmark, the world’s leader in the use of wind turbines to generate electricity with over 39% of its power generated this way in 2014 and over 5,000 wind turbines located on or offshore. The purpose of the study was to assess the relationship between direct and indirect impacts on health of residents living near the turbines (mean distance to the closest turbine to a house was 2 km). Results indicate no significant relationship with turbine proximity and direct health effects, except for a significant indirect association with wind noise and annoyance, which is one of several “confounding” factors that may be caused other noise sources (such as nearby traffic or indoor odours resulting from less ventilation and fresh air with the windows closed to keep out the noise).

English: Taken by Neutronic

English: Taken by Neutronic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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How Will Climate Change Affect the Health of Americans?

Executive Summary:The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States (24 page pdf, Crimmins, A., J. Balbus, J.L. Gamble, C.B. Beard, J.E. Bell, D. Dodgen, R.J. Eisen, N. Fann, M.D. Hawkins, S.C. Herring, L. Jantarasami, D.M. Mills, S. Saha, M.C. Sarofim, J. Trtanj, and L. Ziska, Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, Apr. 12, 2016)

Also discussed here: Full Report:The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States (312 pp,Crimmins, A., J. Balbus, J.L. Gamble, C.B. Beard, J.E. Bell, D. Dodgen, R.J. Eisen, N. Fann, M.D. Hawkins, S.C. Herring, L. Jantarasami, D.M. Mills, S. Saha, M.C. Sarofim, J. Trtanj, and L. Ziska, Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, Apr. 12, 2016)

Today we review a report that provide a comprehensive analysis of the impacts of climate change on health of Americans and an estimate of the risk they pose.  These impacts come about in two ways: changing the severity and frequency of health impacts from the current weather and  by creating threats to health in places that have not experienced them before. The specific impacts range from many more deaths from extreme heat  especially form the elderly and children, to more air pollution from particulates form wildfires and from greater exposure to allergens to impacts from extreme events, such as flooding, drought and wildfires to mental distress and trauma (PTSD) for people experiencing these extreme events.

cl impacts USA

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What is the Social Cost of Climate Change?

Expert Consensus on the Economics of Climate Change (41 page pdf, Peter Howard and Derek Sylvan, Institute for Policy Integrity, New York University School of Law, Dec. 2015)

Today we review a survey of 365 leading economists from around the world on the economic and social impacts of climate change and how they expect this cost will grow in the future. Most believed that there will net negative global impacts by 2025, hitting agriculture, fishing, utilities (electricity, water, sanitation), forestry, tourism/outdoor recreation, insurance, and health services. The social cost was projected to start at $100/metric ton in 2015, rising to above $300/ton in 2050 and this cost was suggested as a basis for carbon pricing to reduce emissions which most thought should be above $37/ton to start. Currently in Canada, the highest price put on carbon is in British Columbia at $30/ton (and frozen at that level for the last 3 years) with some provinces (Quebec, Ontario, Alberta)  setting it between $10 and 15/ton, leaving others with no price (Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Atlantic provinces).

social cost by year from cl ch

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How is Air Pollution Linked to Diabetes and Insulin Sensitivity?

Ambient Air Pollutants Have Adverse Effects on Insulin and Glucose Homeostasis in Mexican Americans (Abstract, Zhanghua Chen, Muhammad T. Salam, Claudia Toledo-Corral, Richard M. Watanabe, Anny H. Xiang, Thomas A. Buchanan, Rima Habre, Theresa M. Bastain, Fred Lurmann, John P. Wilson, Enrique Trigo and Frank D. Gilliland, Diabetes Care, Mar.29, 2016)

Today we review research conducted in Mexico that examined the links between air pollution and insulin sensitivity. Results indicated that short term (under 2 months) exposure to fine particulates (PM2.5) was linked to lower insulin sensitivity and higher cholesterol and this effect was highest with obese patients.

English: idealized curves of human blood gluco...

English: idealized curves of human blood glucose and insulin concentrations during the course of a day containing three meals; in addition, effect of sugar-rich meal is highlighted; (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Literature Review on the Impacts of Climate Change on Infectious Diseases

Impact of climate change on human infectious diseases: Empirical evidence and human adaptation (10 page pdf, Xiaoxu Wu, Yongmei Lu, Sen Zhou, Lifan Chen, Bing Xu, Environment International, Jan. 2016)

Today we review an analysis of literature concerning the links between weather and climate and the spread of infectious diseases which need three ingredients: a pathogen or source, a vector or host and a transmission environment. Climate change can change the geographical and seasonal distribution of diseases while weather (especially extreme weather events) affects the timing and intensity of disease outbreaks. Shifts in precipitation patterns can have impacts on water-borne pathogens while stronger wind patterns can extend the spatial distribution of mosquitoes and the spread of diseases such as malaria.

infectious diseases and ck ch

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The Environmental and Health Benefits of Trees in Cities– a Literature Review

Health and climate related ecosystem services provided by street trees in the urban environment (17 page pdf, Environmental Health, Mar. 8, 2016)

Today we review an extensive literature review (with 156 references) of research concerned with the role of trees in an urban ecosystem services (ESS) framework and how that affects the environment, health and climate change mitigation for cities. Past studies have focused not only on the health benefits of trees, but also the conditions where trees can lead to lower air quality. The paper describes the physical role of trees in allowing for more moisture to be released from the soil to the atmosphere as well as the effectiveness of some trees (with large leaves) to capture air pollutants while at the same time reducing the ventilation and dilution of pollution along tree-lined streets. Pollen from trees causes asthma and allergies in as much as half the population of some cities. The authors suggest that a systems dynamics approach might help to consider the many dynamic processes involved in order to improve urban planning into the use of trees.

Lost Ecosystem Services and Vanishing Ecologic...

Lost Ecosystem Services and Vanishing Ecological Roles. Forest ecosystems in the tropics and subtropics are being quickly replaced by industrial crops and plantations. This provides large amounts of goods for national and international markets, but results in the loss of crucial ecosystem services mediated by ecological processes. In Argentina and Bolivia, the Chaco thorn forest (A) is being felled at a rate considered among the highest in the world (B), to give way to soybean cultivation (C). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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How Does Noise in the City Affect Its Residents?

How City Noise Affects Residents’ Health (The Atlantic , Mar. 1, 2016)

Also discussed here: Noise and the City Blog

And here: Greater Boston Neighborhood Noise Survey (Noise and the City)

And here: Pinpointing the Health Impacts of Urban Noise

Today we review progress on a project by a PhD candidate at Harvard School of Public Health to measure and monitor the noise in neighbourhoods of a large American city (Boston) as well as conduct a survey of residents to assess their reaction to noise. The noises include traditional road noise from traffic, as well as the hidden ones such as vibrations and low frequency noises from underground subways or idling trucks. While we await her thesis, those interested in the project can follow progress at her blog at http://noiseandthecity.org/monitoring-and-surveying-at-a-glance/ .

Boston_ Monitoring and Surveying at a Glance - Noiseandthecity.org_Page_1 boston noice map-big


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What are Countries Doing to Protect Human Health and Ecosystems?

Global Metrics for the Environment, 2016 REPORT, Environmental Performance Index (12 page pdf,  Yale University, Jan. 24, 2016)

Also discussed here: U.S. Could Do Much More To Protect The Environment, Report Finds (Huffington Post, Jan. 27, 2016)

And here:Environmental Performance Index- Air Quality (Yale University, Jan. 24, 2016)

Today we review the 2016 Environmental Performance Index, prepared by Yale University which ranks the performance of countries in two areas: protection of human health and protection of Ecosystems. While improvements were seen in most categories, air quality is becoming worse mainly as a result of increased concentrations of fine particulate matter, especially in urban areas. While only 2% of global deaths (1.24 million) are caused by unsafe drinking water (and that is due to 80% of waste water not being treated), poor air quality caused 10% of global deaths (5.52 deaths). Overall, Finland tops the list in all categories with policy commitments made to achieve carbon neutral status by 2050. Other Scandinavian countries are near the top while North American countries such as Canada (ranked overall at #16) or the USA (ranked 26) are not achieving as much. This also applies to air quality where Canada at #26 and USA at #36.

env perf index 2016

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The Relationship between Traffic-Related Air Pollution and the Incidence of Parkinson’s Disease.

Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Parkinson’s Disease in Denmark: A Case–Control Study (6 page pdf, Beate Ritz, Pei-Chen Lee, Johnni Hansen, Christina Funch Lassen, Matthias Ketzel, Mette Sørensen, and Ole Raaschou-Nielsen, Environmental Health Perspectives, Mar. 1, 2016)

Today we review research into the relationship between exposure to traffic-related air pollution and the incidence of Parkinson’s Disease, the second most common neurodegenerative disorder. Results from a large sample over 15 years  in Denmark indicates that this exposure increases the incidence of PD.

Histological sample of Substantia nigra in Par...

Histological sample of Substantia nigra in Parkinson’s disease. A. SNpc neuron with a Lewy body, extracellular neuromelanin and pigment-laden macrophages. Haematoxylin/Eosin stain, 500×. B. Alpha-synuclein-positive Lewy neurit, 400×. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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How is Traffic-Related Air Pollution Related to Dementia?

Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Dementia Incidence in Northern Sweden: A Longitudinal Study (7 Page pdf, Anna Oudin, Bertil Forsberg, Annelie Nordin Adolfsson, Nina Lind, Lars Modig, Maria Nordin, Steven Nordin, Rolf Adolfsson, and Lars-Göran Nilsson, Environmental Health Perspectives, Mar. 1, 2016)

Today we review research which assessed the exposure of a cohort of elderly patients (79-81 years old) to traffic related air pollution (represented by NO2) in a northern Swedish city. Conclusions included observed associations between dementia incidence and local traffic pollution. The magnitude of the association was similar for both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.  The importance of further research  is underlined by the predicted tripling of Alzheimer’s Disease over the next 40 years unless preventive measures are taken.

sweden dementia no2

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How do Air Pollution and Climate Change affect the Risk of Heart Attacks?

Number of strokes increase as pollution levels rise (Abstract, Hui Liu, M.S.; Xuan Yang, M.P.H.; Feng Jia, B.Sc.and Mingquan Wang, American Stroke Association, Feb. 17, 2016)

Also discussed here: Number of strokes increase as pollution levels rise (Science Daily, Feb. 17, 2016)

And  here: Stroke Prevalence Linked to Poor Air Quality (Nancy A. Melville, Medscape Medical News, Feb. 19. 2016)

Today we review research into the links between higher levels of particulate pollution in the two countries with the highest emissions in the world, China and the USA, on the frequency of strokes. Results indicate that the number of strokes rose 1.19% for each 10 ugm/m3 increase if PM 2.5. Also the number of strokes were higher in regions of each country with higher annual PM2.5 (the American South compared to the West). Longer episodes of extreme heat, as a result of climate change, contributes also to more strokes.

Age-standardised disability-adjusted life year...

Age-standardised disability-adjusted life year (DALY) rates from Cardiovascular diseases by country (per 100,000 inhabitants). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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What has Europe Done to Reduce Air Pollution and Related Premature Deaths?

The impact of European legislative and technology measures to reduce air pollutants on air quality, human health and climate (11 page pdf, S T Turnock, E W Butt, T B Richardson, G W Mann, C L Reddington1, P M Forster, J Haywood, M Crippa, G Janssens-Maenhout, C E Johnson, Environ. Res. Lett., Feb 12, 2016)

Today we review a paper that estimates, using two simulation models,  how many premature deaths were prevented with and without the technology and regulatory changes over the period from 1970 to 2010. Results indicate that the adoption of  the PM2.5 concentration to 15 μgm−3 prevented 80,000 deaths and economic benefits of $232 each year. Mitigation measures reduced the premature deaths by 3 to 4 premature deaths annually per 10 000 people in central and eastern Europe ..and 5 to 6 premature deaths annually per 10 000 people in south eastern Europe (Romania and Bulgaria).

premature deaths in EU

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Can Exposure to Air Pollution Make you Fat?

The air that makes you fat (David Robson, BBC Future, Feb. 1, 2016)

Also discussed here: Residential Proximity to Major Roadways and Prevalent Hypertension Among Postmenopausal Women: Results From the Women’s Health Initiative San Diego Cohort (12 page pdf, J Am Heart Assoc., Oct 1, 2014)

Today we review research based on exposing mice to the various types of air pollution found in American cities. Results indicate their fat cells were 20% larger when exposed to high levels of air pollution after just 10 weeks because of less sensitivity to insulin which converts blood sugar into energy. This conclusion is similar to a study in Ontario where the risk of diabetes rose 11% for every 10 mico gram/m3 increase in particulate matter.

pollution fat

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What is the Social Cost of Carbon Pollution?

How do we define climate pollution’s cost to society? (Elizabeth Shogren, DC Dispatch Jan. 27, 2016)

Also discussed here: Evidence on the Impact of Sustained Exposure to Air Pollution on Life Expectancy from China’s Huai River Policy (53 page pdg, , Yuyu Chen, Avraham Ebenstein, Michael Greenstone and Hongbin Li, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Economics, Working Paper Series, Jun.20, 2013)

And here: Americans Are Living Longer, Thanks to the Clean Air Act (Melissa C. Lott, Scientific American, Jan. 31, 2016
Today we review a paper by an Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Carbon (United States Government) which estimated the economic benefit of carbon pollution reductions, taking into account future discount rates and, using a model, the atmospheric impact of a metric ton of carbon, and how it affects earth temperatures in terms of a range of impacts such stresses to agriculture and increased need for air conditioning etc. Estimated costs to 2050 range from $11 (at a predicted 5% average rate) to $221(at 3% rate) per metric ton of CO2. The opposite side of this issue is the cost of imposing a government policy which results in damages to the public.


One example of air pollution policy yielding benefits is the Clean Air Act in the USA which has produced 336 million life-years since 1970. Another example from Northern China (with a 500M population, greater than the entire USA) where an earlier policy (which was reversed in 2007) to burn coal to support industry resulted in health impacts and a loss of 2.5 million life years of life expectancy for the region- or 5.5 years per person. The need to consider this direct cost and benefit, as well as the incentive value of carbon pricing to encourage renewable energy use, is obvious.

social cost poll

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What are the Health Impacts from Roadside Emissions while Reducing Greenhouse Gases?

Near-Roadway Air Pollution and Coronary Heart Disease: Burden of Disease and Potential Impact of a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategy in Southern California (8 page pdf, Rakesh Ghosh, Frederick Lurmann, Laura Perez, Bryan Penfold, Sylvia Brandt, John Wilson, Meredith Milet, Nino Künzli, and Rob McConnell, Environmental Health Perspectives, Feb. 1, 2016)

Today we review research into the impact of roadside emissions for people living near (within 50 m) of major highways in Southern California. While various policies have been put in place recently and into the future to reduce PM2.5 and greenhouse gas emissions, this study concentrated on the specific health impacts from roadside gases as they affect coronary heart disease. Results indicate that although emissions have lessened that more and more people live closer to the highways so that the health impacts become greater. Several options are suggested to alleviate this including a switch to zero emission electric vehicles and putting a buffer between the highways and residential areas.

south calif health

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Preterm Births and Exposure to Urban Air Pollution

Exposure to airborne particulate matter during pregnancy is associated with preterm birth: a population-based cohort study ( 8 page pdf, Emily DeFranco, William Moravec, Fan Xu, Eric Hall, Monir Hossain, Erin N. Haynes, Louis Muglia and Aimin Chen, Environmental Health, Jan. 15 2016)

Also discussed here: Exposure to high levels of air pollution associated with higher risk of preterm birth (ScienceDaily. Jan. 26, 206)
Today we review research into the link between preterm births and exposure during pregnancy to Particuate Matter (PM2.5) in an urban environment. Results indicate a 19% overall increased risk with the greatest risk during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy (prior to the 37th week) Dropping PM2.5 levels to below the EPA standard of 15μg/m3 could result in a 17% improvement in the frequency of preterm births.

preterm births

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What Toxic Metals Come out of the Catalytic Converters on Car Mufflers?

Analysis of model Pd- and Pt-containing contaminants in aqueous media using ESI-MS and the fragment partitioning approach (Abstract, Leonid V. Romashov, Gleb D. Rukhovichb and Valentine P. Ananikov, RSC Advances, Institute of Organic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Dec. 7, 2015)

Also discussed here: What happens with the environment when your car moves? (ScienceDaily. Jan.13 2016)

Today we review research from Russia into the inadvertent release of toxic metals from catalytic converters (or autocatalyst as it is termed here) which convert exhaust gases such as NOx, CO and other dangerous compounds to CO2, water and nitrogen. However, contact with water leaches the precious metals such as paladium, platinum and rhodium into toxic clusters – how toxic must be evaluated in the future but may put into question the role of the converters.

muffler metals

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Does Exposure to Noise near Airports Cause Heart Attacks?

Residential exposure to aircraft noise and hospital admissions for cardiovascular diseases: multi-airport retrospective study (11 page pdf, Andrew W Correia, Junenette L Peters,Jonathan I Levy,Steven Melly, Francesca Dominici, the BMJ, Oct. 8, 2013)
Today we review research into the risk of heart disease for seniors over 65 living near each of 89 airports across the USA and exposed to noise above 45 db. Results indicate that there is a significantly higher rate of hospitalization from exposure to the higher level of airport noise (above 55 db)

airport noise

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What is the Risk of a Stroke after a One Day Exposure to Air Pollution?

Short term exposure to air pollution and stroke: systematic review and meta-analysis (10 page pdf, Anoop S V Shah, Kuan Ken Lee, David A McAllister, Amanda Hunter, Harish Nair, William Whiteley, Jeremy P Langrish, David E Newby, Nicholas L Mills, British Medical Journal, Feb. 5, 2015)

Today we look at a literature review into the risk of strokes, the second most common cause of death, from a short term exposure to air pollution. Results indicate that one or two day exposure to air pollution, particularly PM2.5 and NO2, have a clear association with strokes or mortality from stroke. Many studies of health impacts from air pollution come from research in developed countries although the worst air pollution tends to occur in developing countries which as a consequence suffer the greatest health impacts, as demonstrated in this study.

aq and strokes

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