Center for the Biology of Natural Systems

Borough of Queens, NY, United States

Center for the Biology of Natural Systems

Borough of Queens, NY, United States
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Ross Z.,ZevRoss Spatial Analysis | Eisl H.,Center for the Biology of Natural Systems | Gorczynski J.E.,Center for the Biology of Natural Systems | Markowitz S.,Center for the Biology of Natural Systems | Clougherty J.E.,University of Pittsburgh
Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology | Year: 2013

Routine air monitoring provides data to assess urban scale temporal variation in pollution concentrations in relation to regulatory standards, but is not well suited to characterizing intraurban spatial variation in pollutant concentrations from local sources. To address these limitations and inform local control strategies, New York City developed a program to track spatial patterns of multiple air pollutants in each season of the year. Monitor locations include 150 distributed street-level sites chosen to represent a range of traffic, land-use and other characteristics. Integrated samples are collected at each distributed site for one 2-week session each season and in every 2-week period at five reference locations to track city-wide temporal variation. Pollutants sampled include PM 2.5 and constituents, nitrogen oxides, black carbon, ozone (summer only) and sulfur dioxide (winter only). During the first full year of monitoring more than 95% of designed samples were completed. Agreement between colocated samples was good (absolute mean % difference 3.2-8.9%). Street-level pollutant concentrations spanned a much greater range than did concentrations at regulatory monitors, especially for oxides of nitrogen and sulfur dioxide. Monitoring to characterize intraurban spatial gradients in ambient pollution usefully complements regulatory monitoring data to inform local air quality management. © 2013 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.

Clougherty J.E.,University of Pittsburgh | Eisl H.M.,Center for the Biology of Natural Systems | Ross Z.,ZevRoss Spatial Analysis | Gorczynski J.E.,Center for the Biology of Natural Systems | Markowitz S.,Center for the Biology of Natural Systems
Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology | Year: 2013

Although intra-urban air pollution differs by season, few monitoring networks provide adequate geographic density and year-round coverage to fully characterize seasonal patterns. Here, we report winter intra-urban monitoring and land-use regression (LUR) results from the New York City Community Air Survey (NYCCAS). Two-week integrated samples of fine particles (PM 2.5), black carbon (BC), nitrogen oxides (NO x) and sulfur dioxide (SO 2) were collected at 155 city-wide street-level locations during winter 2008-2009. Sites were selected using stratified random sampling, randomized across sampling sessions to minimize spatio-temporal confounding. LUR was used to identify GIS-based source indicators associated with higher concentrations. Prediction surfaces were produced using kriging with external drift. Each pollutant varied twofold or more across sites, with higher concentrations near midtown Manhattan. All pollutants were positively correlated, particularly PM 2.5 and BC (Spearman's r=0.84). Density of oil-burning boilers, total and truck traffic density, and temporality explained 84% of PM 2.5 variation. Densities of total traffic, truck traffic, oil-burning boilers and industrial space, with temporality, explained 65% of BC variation. Temporality, built space, bus route location, and traffic density described 67% of nitrogen dioxide variation. Residual oil-burning units, nighttime population and temporality explained 77% of SO 2 variation. Spatial variation in combustion-related pollutants in New York City was strongly associated with oil-burning and traffic density. Chronic exposure disparities and unique local sources can be identified through year-round saturation monitoring. © 2013 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.

Ross Z.,ZevRoss Spatial Analysis | Clougherty J.E.,University of Pittsburgh | Ito K.,New York University | Markowitz S.,Center for the Biology of Natural Systems | Eisl H.,Center for the Biology of Natural Systems
Environmental Research | Year: 2011

Background: Epidemiological studies have linked both noise and air pollution to common adverse health outcomes such as increased blood pressure and myocardial infarction. In urban settings, noise and air pollution share important sources, notably traffic, and several recent studies have shown spatial correlations between noise and air pollution. The temporal association between these exposures, however, has yet to be thoroughly investigated despite the importance of time series studies in air pollution epidemiology and the potential that correlations between these exposures could at least partly confound statistical associations identified in these studies.Methods: An aethelometer, for continuous elemental carbon measurement, was co-located with a continuous noise monitor near a major urban highway in New York City for six days in August 2009. Hourly elemental carbon measurements and hourly data on overall noise levels and low, medium and high frequency noise levels were collected. Hourly average concentrations of fine particles and nitrogen oxides, wind speed and direction and car, truck and bus traffic were obtained from nearby regulatory monitors. Overall temporal patterns, as well as day-night and weekday-weekend patterns, were characterized and compared for all variables. Results: Noise levels were correlated with car, truck, and bus traffic and with air pollutants. We observed strong day-night and weekday-weekend variation in noise and air pollutants and correlations between pollutants varied by noise frequency. Medium and high frequency noise were generally more strongly correlated with traffic and traffic-related pollutants than low frequency noise and the correlation with medium and high frequency noise was generally stronger at night. Correlations with nighttime high frequency noise were particularly high for car traffic (Spearman rho=0.84), nitric oxide (0.73) and nitrogen dioxide (0.83). Wind speed and direction mediated relationships between pollutants and noise. Conclusions: Noise levels are temporally correlated with traffic and combustion pollutants and correlations are modified by the time of day, noise frequency and wind. Our results underscore the potential importance of assessing temporal variation in co-exposures to noise and air pollution in studies of the health effects of these urban pollutants. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

Ross Z.,ZevRoss Spatial Analysis | Eisl H.,Center for the Biology of Natural Systems
Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source | Year: 2012

Background: Hazardous air pollutant exposures are common in urban areas contributing to increased risk ofcancer and other adverse health outcomes. While recent analyses indicate that New York City residents experience significantly higher cancer risks attributable to hazardous air pollutant exposures than the United States as a whole, limited data exist to assess intra-urban variability in air toxics exposures. Methods: To assess intra-urban spatial variability in exposures to common hazardous air pollutants, street-level air sampling for volatile organic compounds and aldehydes was conducted at 70 sites throughout New York City during the spring of 2011. Land-use regression models were developed using a subset of 59 sites and validated against the remaining 11 sites to describe the relationship between concentrations of benzene, total BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes) and formaldehyde to indicators of local sources, adjusting for temporal variation. Results: Total BTEX levels exhibited the most spatial variability, followed by benzene and formaldehyde (coefficient of variation of temporally adjusted measurements of 0.57, 0.35, 0.22, respectively). Total roadway length within 100 m, traffic signal density within 400 m of monitoring sites, and an indicator of temporal variation explained 65% of the total variability in benzene while 70% of the total variability in BTEX was accounted for by traffic signal density within 450 m, density of permitted solvent-use industries within 500 m, and an indicator of temporal variation. Measures of temporal variation, traffic signal density within 400 m, road length within 100 m, and interior building area within 100 m (indicator of heating fuel combustion) predicted 83% of the total variability of formaldehyde. The models built with the modeling subset were found to predict concentrations well, predicting 62% to 68% of monitored values at validation sites. Conclusions: Traffic and point source emissions cause substantial variation in street-level exposures to common toxic volatile organic compounds in New York City. Land-use regression models were successfully developed or benzene, formaldehyde, and total BTEX using spatial indicators of on-road vehicle emissions and emissions from stationary sources. These estimates will improve the understanding of health effects of individual pollutants in complex urban pollutant mixtures and inform local air quality improvement efforts that reduce disparities in exposure. © 2012 Kheirbek et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Neitzel R.,University of Michigan | Kim J.,Center for the Biology of Natural Systems | Ross Z.,ZevRoss Spatial Analysis | Eisl H.,Center for the Biology of Natural Systems
Journal of Urban Health | Year: 2014

Exposure to environmental noise from traffic is common in urban areas and has been linked to increased risks of adverse health effects including cardiovascular disease. Because traffic sources also produce air pollutants that increase the risk of cardiovascular morbidity, associations between traffic exposures and health outcomes may involve confounding and/or synergisms between air pollution and noise. While prior studies have characterized intraurban spatial variation in air pollution in New York City (NYC), limited data exists on the levels and spatial variation in noise levels. We measured 1-week equivalent continuous sound pressure levels (Leq) at 56 sites during the fall of 2012 across NYC locations with varying traffic intensity and building density that are routinely monitored for combustion-related air pollutants. We evaluated correlations among several noise metrics used to characterize noise exposures, including Leq during different time periods (night, day, weekday, weekend), Ldn (day-night noise), and measures of intermittent noise defined as the ratio of peak levels to median and background levels. We also examined correlations between sound pressure levels and co-located simultaneous measures of nitric oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), fine particulate matter (PM2.5), and black carbon (BC) as well as estimates of traffic and building density around the monitoring sites. Noise levels varied widely across the 56 monitoring sites; 1-week L eq varied by 21.6 dBA (range 59.1-80.7 dBA) with the highest levels observed during the weekday, daytime hours. Indices of average noise were well correlated with each other (r∈>∈0.83), while indices of intermittent noise were not well correlated with average noise levels (r∈<∈0.41). One-week Leq correlated well with NO, NO2, and EC levels (r∈=∈0.61 to 0.68) and less so with PM2.5 levels (r∈=∈0.45). We observed associations between 1-week noise levels and traffic intensity within 100 m of the monitoring sites (r∈=∈0.58). The high levels of noise observed in NYC often exceed recommended guidelines for outdoor and personal exposures, suggesting unhealthy levels in many locations. Associations between noise, traffic, and combustion air pollutants suggest the possibility for confounding and/or synergism in intraurban epidemiological studies of traffic-related health effects. The different spatial pattern of intermittent noise compared to average noise level may suggest different sources. © 2014 The New York Academy of Medicine.

PubMed | Center for the Biology of Natural Systems
Type: Case Reports | Journal: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association | Year: 2012

Two green iguanas, with a dietary supplement of vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus, had gross and microscopic lesions of hypervitaminosis D characterized by massive deposition of calcium salts in the media of elastic arteries and terminal nephritis. Hypervitaminosis is a malady that should be kept in mind in dealing with captive wild animals, especially when exact nutritional requirements are not known.

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