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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Reduce Carbon Gas Emissions using Diesel Vehicles or Eliminate Particulates – a choice between Mitigating Climate Change or Health Impacts

Beyond a One-Time Scandal: Europe’s Ongoing Diesel Pollution Problem (4 page pdf, Charles W. Schmidt, Environ Health Perspect, Jan. 2, 2016)
Today we review a recent assessment of the role of diesel vehicles in causing PM2.5 and NO2 and greater mortality as a result while also being the technology of choice, particularly in Europe with over 50% of vehicles with it, to reduce C02 emissions and mitigate climate change. The comparison with the US and Canada is striking where less than 3% of vehicles are diesel and CO2 emissions have soared from gasoline powered vehicles and less attention to emission reduction than in the EU. Clearly an optimum choice or balance needs to be made that looks at both the immediate health impacts of diesel and the equally important need to reduce carbon emissions.

diesel pm eu

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What are the Health Impacts of Low Concentrations of PM2.5?

Low-Concentration PM2.5 and Mortality: Estimating Acute and Chronic Effects in a Population-Based Study (7 page pdf, Liuhua Shi, Antonella Zanobetti, Itai Kloog, Brent A. Coull, Petros Koutrakis, Steven J. Melly, and Joel D. Schwart, Environmental Health Perspectives, Jan. 1, 2016)

Today we review research into the mortality impact, resulting from exposures to low concentrations of PM2.5 on both the short and long term, among a large population cohort in New England over the age of 65. The question is whether concentrations below EPA standards (12 μg/m3 of annual average PM2.5, 35 μg/m3 daily) still present a risk of death. Results indicate that low concentrations present a risk that varies according to the sources and composition of the particles with may include secondary aerosols. A major conclusion with public health policy implications was that improving air quality even at low levels of PM2.5 can yield health benefits.

low levels pm

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Where does the Particulate Matter in Cities Come From?

Contributions to cities’ ambient particulate matter (PM): A systematic review of local source contributions at global level (9 page pdf, Federico Karagulian, Claudio A. Belis, Carlos Francisco C. Dora, Annette M. Prüss-Ustün b, Sophie Bonjour b, Heather Adair-Rohani b, Markus Amann, Atmopsheric Environment, Nov. 2015)

Also discussed here: Urban air pollution: What are the main sources across the world? (Science Daily, Dec. 1, 2015)

Today we summarize the results of a paper that reviewed sources of PM2.5 and PM10 in 51 countries. By far the greatest source globally is traffic-related urban air pollution which amounted to 25% of ambient PM. The highest traffic emissions come from North America, Western Europe, Turkey and the Republic of Korea. The highest industrial pollution was found in Japan, Middle East and Southern Asia, Turkey, Brazil, Central Europe, and South Eastern Asia.

pollution sources

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Impacts of Long Term Exposure to Particulate Matter on Heart Rate Variability

Exposure to sub-chronic and long-term particulate air pollution and heart rate variability in an elderly cohort: the Normative Aging Study (10 page pdf, Irina Mordukhovich, Brent Coull, Itai Kloog, Petros Koutrakis, Pantel Vokonas and Joel Schwartz, Environmental Health, Nov. 2015).

Today we review research into the health impact of long term exposure to particulate matter, specifically, heart rate variability which is associated with increased mortality risk. Results indicate a positive association in elderly men, even when the levels of PM2.5 consistently at or below EPA standards which is typical in the city where the research took place (Boston). This is one of few studies that examine the cardiovascular impacts beyond a couple of days

English: A schematic of the global air polluti...

English: A schematic of the global air pollution. The map was made by User:KVDP using the GIMP. It was based on the global air pollution map by the ESA (see http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEM340NKPZD_index_0.html , http://esamultimedia.esa.int/images/EarthObservation/pollution_global_hires.jpg ) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The Link between Air Pollution and Hypertension

Long-Term Air Pollution Exposure and Blood Pressure in the Sister Study (8 page pdf, Stephanie H. Chan, Victor C. Van Hee, Silas Bergen, Adam A. Szpiro, Lisa A. DeRoo, Stephanie J. London, Julian D. Marshall, Joel D. Kaufman, and Dale P. Sandler, Environ Health Perspect, Oct. 1, 2015)
Today we review research conducted across a wide area with a large sample made up of sisters of women with breast cancer with the aim to find out the mechanisms between particulate and NO2 pollution and heart disease. The authors found that long term air pollution from PM2.5 and NO2 is closely associated with higher blood pressure and hypertension.

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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