European Center for Environment and Health

Bonn, Germany

European Center for Environment and Health

Bonn, Germany
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Bari M.A.,University of Alberta | Kindzierski W.B.,University of Alberta | Wheeler A.J.,Health Canada | Heroux M.-T.,Health Canada | And 2 more authors.
Building and Environment | Year: 2015

The objective of this analysis was to get a better understanding of emission sources of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and their contributions to indoor and outdoor concentrations in residences of Edmonton, Alberta. Seven consecutive 24-h indoor and outdoor air samples were collected using Summa canisters in 50 non-smoking homes in both winter and summer of 2010, with 26 homes participating in both seasons. In addition, data were also collected on housing characteristics and occupants' daily activities. A total of 193 polar and non-polar VOC species were analyzed by gas chromatograph - mass spectrometry (GC-MS). In general, indoor VOC species were found to be substantially higher than outdoor levels during both seasons. A source receptor model positive matrix factorization (PMF) was applied to identify VOC emission sources and apportion airborne concentrations into 13 indoor factors and 10 outdoor factors. More than 70% of total indoor VOCs were attributed to different indoor sources within the residences, where household products were the major contributor (44%, 648μg/m3), followed by combustion processes and environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) (10.5%, 153μg/m3), deodorizers (8.4%, 122μg/m3) and off-gassing of building materials (5.9%, 86μg/m3). Major outdoor VOC sources included oil and gas industry, traffic emissions, background and biogenic emissions. The findings provide key information about the impact of indoor and outdoor sources on VOC levels in Edmonton homes, which can be useful for developing appropriate risk management measures to improve indoor air quality. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Van Donkelaar A.,Dalhousie University | Martin R.V.,Dalhousie University | Martin R.V.,Harvard - Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics | Levy R.C.,NASA | And 5 more authors.
Atmospheric Environment | Year: 2011

We estimate fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations daily using MODIS satellite observations of aerosol optical depth (AOD) for a major biomass burning event around Moscow during summer 2010. Evaluation of MODIS AOD with the Moscow AERONET site supports a MODIS-AOD error estimate of ±(0.05+0.2×AOD) for this event. However, since the smoke was often thick (AOD>4.0) and spatially variable, the standard MODIS algorithm incorrectly identifies some aerosol as cloud. We test relaxed cloud screening criteria that increase MODIS coverage by 21% and find excellent agreement with coincident operational retrievals (r2=0.994, slope=1.01) with no evidence of false aerosol detection. We relate the resultant MODIS AOD to PM2.5 using aerosol vertical profiles from the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model. Our estimates are in good agreement with PM2.5 values estimated from in-situ PM10 (r2=0.85, slope=1.06), and we find that the relationship between AOD and PM2.5 is insensitive to uncertainties in biomass burning emissions. The satellite-derived and in-situ values both indicate that peak daily mean concentrations of approximately 600μgm-3 occurred on August 7, 2010 in the Moscow region of the Russian Federation. We estimate that exposure to air pollution from the Moscow wildfires may have caused hundreds of excess deaths. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Polinder S.,Erasmus University Rotterdam | Segui-Gomez M.,University of Navarra | Toet H.,Consumer Safety Institute | Belt E.,Erasmus University Rotterdam | And 3 more authors.
Accident Analysis and Prevention | Year: 2012

Objective: To review and assess the quality of economic evaluation studies on injury prevention measures. Design: Systematic review. Data sources: Electronic databases searched included Medline (Pubmed), EMBASE, Web of Science, PsycINFO, and Safetylit. Inclusion criteria: Empirical studies published in English in international peer-reviewed journals in the period 1998-2009. The subject of the study was economic evaluation of prevention of unintentional injury. Cost-effectiveness (CEA), cost-benefit (CBA) and cost utility (CUA) analyses were included. Methods: Methodological details, study designs, and analysis and interpretation of results of the included articles were reviewed and extracted into summary tables. Study quality was judged using the criteria recommended by the Panel on cost-effectiveness in health and medicine and the British Medical Journal (BMJ) checklist for economic evaluations. Results: Forty-eight studies met the inclusion criteria of our review. Interventions assessed most frequently were hip protectors and exercise programs for the elderly. A wide variety of methodological approaches was found, including differences in type of economic evaluation, perspective, time horizon, study design, cost categories, effect outcomes, and adjustments for timing and uncertainty used. The majority of studies performed a cost-effectiveness analysis from a societal perspective with a time horizon of one to five years, in which the effect was expressed in terms of injuries prevented and only direct health care costs were included. Most studies deviated from one or more of the Panel recommendations or BMJ guidelines; e.g. not adopting the societal perspective, not including all relevant costs, no incremental analysis. Conclusions: This review has shown that approaches to economic evaluation of injury prevention vary widely and most studies do not fulfill methodological rigour. Improving quality and harmonization of economic evaluation studies in the field of injury prevention is needed. One way of achieving this would be to establish international guidelines on economic evaluation for injury prevention interventions, based on established economic evaluation checklists, to assist researchers in the design and reporting of economic evaluations. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Bari M.A.,University of Alberta | MacNeill M.,Health Canada | Kindzierski W.B.,University of Alberta | Wallace L.,Consultant | And 4 more authors.
Atmospheric Environment | Year: 2014

Exposure to coarse particulate matter (PM), i.e., particles with an aerodynamic diameter between 2.5 and 10μm (PM10-2.5), is of increasing interest due to the potential for health effects including asthma, allergy and respiratory symptoms. Limited information is available on indoor and outdoor coarse PM and associated endotoxin exposures. Seven consecutive 24-h samples of indoor and outdoor coarse PM were collected during winter and summer 2010 using Harvard Coarse Impactors in a total of 74 Edmonton homes where no reported smoking took place. Coarse PM filters were subsequently analyzed for endotoxin content. Data were also collected on indoor and outdoor temperature, relative humidity, air exchange rate, housing characteristics and occupants' activities. During winter, outdoor concentrations of coarse PM (median=6.7μg/m3, interquartile range, IQR=3.4-12μg/m3) were found to be higher than indoor concentrations (median 3.4μg/m3, IQR=1.6-5.7μg/m3); while summer levels of indoor and outdoor concentrations were similar (median 4.5μg/m3, IQR=2.3-6.8μg/m3, and median 4.7μg/m3, IQR=2.1-7.9μg/m3, respectively). Similar predictors were identified for indoor coarse PM in both seasons and included corresponding outdoor coarse PM concentrations, whether vacuuming, sweeping or dusting was performed during the sampling period, and number of occupants in the home. Winter indoor coarse PM predictors also included the number of dogs and indoor endotoxin concentrations. Summer median endotoxin concentrations (indoor: 0.41EU/m3, outdoor: 0.64EU/m3) were 4-fold higher than winter concentrations (indoor: 0.12EU/m3, outdoor: 0.16EU/m3). Other than outdoor endotoxin concentrations, indoor endotoxin concentration predictors for both seasons were different. Winter endotoxin predictors also included presence of furry pets and whether the vacuum had a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Summer endotoxin predictors were problems with mice in the previous 12 months and mean indoor relative humidity levels. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Cassee F.R.,National Institute for Public Health and the Environment | Cassee F.R.,University Utrecht | Heroux M.-E.,European Center for Environment and Health | Gerlofs-Nijland M.E.,National Institute for Public Health and the Environment | Kelly F.J.,King's College London
Inhalation Toxicology | Year: 2013

Particulate matter (PM) is regulated in various parts of the world based on specific size cut offs, often expressed as 10 or 2.5-μm mass median aerodynamic diameter. This pollutant is deemed one of the most dangerous to health and moreover, problems persist with high ambient concentrations. Continuing pressure to re-evaluate ambient air quality standards stems from research that not only has identified effects at low levels of PM but which also has revealed that reductions in certain components, sources and size fractions may best protect public health. Considerable amount of published information have emerged from toxicological research in recent years. Accumulating evidence has identified additional air quality metrics (e.g. black carbon, secondary organic and inorganic aerosols) that may be valuable in evaluating the health risks of, for example, primary combustion particles from traffic emissions, which are not fully taken into account with PM2.5 mass. Most of the evidence accumulated so far is for an adverse effect on health of carbonaceous material from traffic. Traffic-generated dust, including road, brake and tire wear, also contribute to the adverse effects on health. Exposure durations from a few minutes up to a year have been linked with adverse effects. The new evidence collected supports the scientific conclusions of the World Health Organization Air Quality Guidelines and also provides scientific arguments for taking decisive actions to improve air quality and reduce the global burden of disease associated with air pollution. © 2013 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc. All rights reserved.

Jones-Rounds M.L.,Cornell University | Evans G.W.,Cornell University | Braubach M.,European Center for Environment and Health
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health | Year: 2014

Background: Many individuals are subject to the physically and mentally detrimental effects of living in substandard housing and inadequate neighbourhoods. We propose that better physical neighbourhood quality can partially offset some of the negative effects of poor housing quality on psychological well-being. Methods: Interviews and questionnaires were used to collect data in a cross-sectional study of housing quality, the state of the surrounding environment, and individual health and well-being for 5605 European adults from the Large Analysis and Review of European housing and health Status conducted by WHO in eight European cities. Multilevel random coefficient modelling was used to statistically analyse the main and interactive effects of housing quality and neighbourhood quality on psychological well-being. Socioeconomic status, employment status, gender and marital status were included as statistical controls. Results and conclusions: Substandard housing quality and poor neighbourhood quality each contribute to lower psychological well-being. Furthermore better neighbourhood quality buffers against the negative effects of poor housing quality on psychological wellbeing. These results fill a gap in research concerning the ability of neighbourhood quality to amplify or attenuate housing quality impacts on well-being.

Kearney J.,Air Health Science Division | Wallace L.,Consultant | MacNeill M.,Air Health Science Division | Heroux M.-E.,Air Health Science Division | And 4 more authors.
Atmospheric Environment | Year: 2014

Airborne indoor particles arise from both indoor sources and ambient particles that have infiltrated indoors. The intra-urban variability of infiltration factors (Finf) is a source of measurement error in epidemiological studies estimating exposure from a central site measurement, hence information on the within and between-home variability of Finf is useful to better characterize ambient PM exposure. The objective of this paper was to estimate magnitudes and predictors of daily residential infiltration factors (Finf) and ambient/non-ambient components of indoor ultrafine particle (UFP) and fine particle (FP) concentrations. FPs and UFPs were measured continuously for 7 consecutive days in 74 Edmonton homes in winter and summer 2010 (50 homes in each season). Simultaneous measurements of outdoor (near-home) FP and ambient (at a central site) UFP concentrations were also measured. Daily infiltration factors were estimated for each home; considerable variability was seen within and between homes. For FPs, seasonal-averaged Finf (the average of the 7 daily Finf estimates) ranged from 0.10 to 0.92 in winter (median=0.30, n=49) and 0.31 to 0.99 in summer (median=0.68, n=48). For UFPs, the seasonal-averaged Finf ranged from 0.08 to 0.47 across homes in winter (median=0.21, n=33 houses) and from 0.16 to 0.94 in summer (median=0.57, n=48). The higher median Finf in summer was attributed to a high frequency of open windows. Daily infiltration factors were also estimated based on the indoor/outdoor PM1 sulfur ratio. These estimates were poorly correlated with DustTrak-based FP infiltration factor estimates; the difference may be due to losses of volatile components on the PM1 filter samples. Generalized linear mixed models were used to identify variables significantly associated with Finf and the non-ambient component of indoor FP and UFP concentrations. Wind speed was consistently associated with Finf across all seasons for both FPs and UFPs. The use of an air cleaner was associated with reduced UFP infiltration factors in summer, suggesting a potential method of reducing infiltrated UFPs. Various cooking activities and smoking were associated with the non-ambient component of indoor FP and UFP concentrations. On average, the majority of indoor FPs were of ambient origin while the majority of UFPs were of indoor origin. In summer, more of the indoor FP and UFP concentrations were from ambient origin, compared to winter, due to the higher infiltration factors. The variability in FP and UFP Finf within and between homes may cause substantial exposure misclassification in epidemiological studies using only ambient measurements. © 2014.

Baccini M.,University of Florence | Baccini M.,ISPO Cancer Prevention and Research Institute | Baccini M.,Center for Disease Control | Kosatsky T.,European Center for Environment and Health | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Background:Efforts to prevent and respond to heat-related illness would benefit by quantifying the impact of summer heat on acute population mortality. We estimated years of life lost due to heat in 14 European cities during the 1990s accounting for harvesting.Methods:We combined the number of deaths attributable to heat estimated by the PHEWE project with life expectancy derived from population life tables. The degree of harvesting was quantified by comparing the cumulative effect of heat up to lagged day 30 with the immediate effect of heat, by geographical region and age. Next, an evaluation of years of life lost adjusted for harvesting was obtained.Results:Without accounting for harvesting, we estimated more than 23,000 years of life lost per year, 55% of which was among individuals younger than 75. When 30 day mortality displacement was taken into account, the overall impact reduced on average by 75%. Harvesting was more pronounced in North-continental cities than in Mediterranean cities and was stronger among young people than among elderly.Conclusions:High ambient temperatures during summer were responsible for many deaths in European cities during the 1990s, but a large percentage of these deaths likely involved frail persons whose demise was only briefly hastened by heat exposure. Differences in harvesting across regions and classes of age could reflect different proportions of frail individuals in the population or could be indicative of heterogeneous dynamics underlying the entry and exit of individuals from the high-risk pool which is subject to mortality displacement. © 2013 Baccini et al.

News Article | June 1, 2016

Amid their struggle to survive extreme weather conditions, food crops are producing more of chemical compounds that can prove toxic to humans and livestock consuming them, a new U.N. report has warned. Drought and high temperatures trigger the accumulation of potentially toxic components in crops – similar to how humans respond to stress, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Frontiers report. The report identified and proposed solutions to six emerging issues in the face of climate change, including crop toxicity, zoonotic diseases and plastic pollution. Wheat, barley, maize and millet emerged as crops that are most prone to nitrate accumulation, which results from prolonged drought. In animals, acute nitrate poisoning can cause miscarriage, asphyxiation and even death. It can also ruin the lives and livelihood of small farmers and herders. Heavy rains after an extended drought, too, can lead to a harmful accumulation of hydrogen cyanide or prussic acid in flax, maize, arrow grass, sorghum, apples, cherries and other crops. Aflatoxins are another cause for concern. These fungal toxins, which can lead to cancer and hamper fetal growth, are a worry in maize. The contamination is expected to rise in higher latitudes because of rising temperature levels. Jacqueline McGlade, UNEP chief scientist and early warning and assessment director, said that around 4.5 billion people in developing nations are exposed to aflatoxins every year, although the numbers could rise even more with improved monitoring. “As warmer climate zones expand toward the poles, countries in more temperate regions are facing new threats,” the report states. Kenya suffered severe aflatoxin outbreaks back in 2004, which struck more than 300 people and killed more than a hundred after a long period of drought, the International Livestock Research Institute reported. According to a recent study, aflatoxins will also surface as a food safety threat to Europe, particularly in the likely scenario of a 2 degree Celsius increase in global temperatures. The increased toxicity in crops is expected to take a heavy toll on the global health system, which is already reeling from the impacts of food insecurity, said Dorota Jarosinska of the World Health Organization’s European Center for Environment and Health. The UNEP report put forward eight ideas that farmers and agriculture specialists can use to limit damage from increased crop toxins, including outlining contamination hotspots as well as building better proof of how toxins are acting in their location. Crop rotation designed for coping with the changing climate, too, is encouraged in to help slash the amounts of toxic chemicals present in food. Climate change is bringing about other drastic occurrences worldwide, including longer and more frequently occurring toxic algal blooms. © 2016 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Grjibovski A.M.,Norwegian Institute of Public Health | Grjibovski A.M.,Northern State University | Kosbayeva A.,WHO Office in Kazakhstan | Menne B.,European Center for Environment and Health
Epidemiology and Infection | Year: 2014

We studied associations between monthly counts of laboratory-confirmed cases of salmonellosis, ambient air temperature and precipitation in four settings in Kazakhstan. We observed a linear association between the number of cases of salmonellosis and mean monthly temperature during the same months only in Astana: an increase of 1°C was associated with a 5·5% [95% confidence interval (CI) 2·2-8·8] increase in the number of cases. A similar association, although not reaching the level of significance was observed in the Southern Kazakhstan region (3·5%, 95% CI -2·1 to 9·1). Positive association with precipitation with lag 2 was found in Astana: an increase of 1mm was associated with a 0·5% (95% CI 0·1-1·0) increase in the number of cases. A similar association, but with lag 0 was observed in Southern Kazakhstan region (0·6%, 95% CI 0·1-1·1). The results may have implications for the future patterns of salmonellosis in Kazakhstan with regard to climate change. © 2013 Cambridge University Press.

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