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Somerville, MA, United States

Lane K.J.,Boston University | Kangsen Scammell M.,Boston University | Levy J.I.,Boston University | Fuller C.H.,Georgia State University | And 4 more authors.
Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source | Year: 2013

Background: The growing interest in research on the health effects of near-highway air pollutants requires an assessment of potential sources of error in exposure assignment techniques that rely on residential proximity to roadways. Methods. We compared the amount of positional error in the geocoding process for three different data sources (parcels, TIGER and StreetMap USA) to a "gold standard" residential geocoding process that used ortho-photos, large multi-building parcel layouts or large multi-unit building floor plans. The potential effect of positional error for each geocoding method was assessed as part of a proximity to highway epidemiological study in the Boston area, using all participants with complete address information (N = 703). Hourly time-activity data for the most recent workday/weekday and non-workday/weekend were collected to examine time spent in five different micro-environments (inside of home, outside of home, school/work, travel on highway, and other). Analysis included examination of whether time-activity patterns were differentially distributed either by proximity to highway or across demographic groups. Results: Median positional error was significantly higher in street network geocoding (StreetMap USA = 23 m; TIGER = 22 m) than parcel geocoding (8 m). When restricted to multi-building parcels and large multi-unit building parcels, all three geocoding methods had substantial positional error (parcels = 24 m; StreetMap USA = 28 m; TIGER = 37 m). Street network geocoding also differentially introduced greater amounts of positional error in the proximity to highway study in the 0-50 m proximity category. Time spent inside home on workdays/weekdays differed significantly by demographic variables (age, employment status, educational attainment, income and race). Time-activity patterns were also significantly different when stratified by proximity to highway, with those participants residing in the 0-50 m proximity category reporting significantly more time in the school/work micro-environment on workdays/weekdays than all other distance groups. Conclusions: These findings indicate the potential for both differential and non-differential exposure misclassification due to geocoding error and time-activity patterns in studies of highway proximity. We also propose a multi-stage manual correction process to minimize positional error. Additional research is needed in other populations and geographic settings. © 2013 Lane et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Lane K.J.,The New School | Lane K.J.,Boston University | Levy J.I.,Boston University | Scammell M.K.,Boston University | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology | Year: 2015

Exposures to ultrafine particles (<100 nm, estimated as particle number concentration, PNC) differ from ambient concentrations because of the spatial and temporal variability of both PNC and people. Our goal was to evaluate the influence of time-activity adjustment on exposure assignment and associations with blood biomarkers for a near-highway population. A regression model based on mobile monitoring and spatial and temporal variables was used to generate hourly ambient residential PNC for a full year for a subset of participants (n=140) in the Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health study. We modified the ambient estimates for each hour using personal estimates of hourly time spent in five micro-environments (inside home, outside home, at work, commuting, other) as well as particle infiltration. Time-activity adjusted (TAA)-PNC values differed from residential ambient annual average (RAA)-PNC, with lower exposures predicted for participants who spent more time away from home. Employment status and distance to highway had a differential effect on TAA-PNC. We found associations of RAA-PNC with high sensitivity C-reactive protein and Interleukin-6, although exposure-response functions were non-monotonic. TAA-PNC associations had larger effect estimates and linear exposure-response functions. Our findings suggest that time-activity adjustment improves exposure assessment for air pollutants that vary greatly in space and time. © 2015 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.


Fuller C.H.,Georgia State University | Fuller C.H.,Harvard University | Patton A.P.,Tufts University | Lane K.,Boston University | And 8 more authors.
Reviews on Environmental Health | Year: 2013

Current literature is insufficient to make causal inferences or establish dose-response relationships for traffic-related ultrafine particles (UFPs) and cardiovascular (CV) health. The Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health (CAFEH) is a cross-sectional study of the relationship between UFP and biomarkers of CV risk. CAFEH uses a community-based participatory research framework that partners university researchers with community groups and residents. Our central hypothesis is that chronic exposure to UFP is associated with changes in biomarkers. The study enrolled more than 700 residents from three near-highway neighborhoods in the Boston metropolitan area in Massachusetts, USA. All participants completed an in-home questionnaire and a subset (440 + ) completed an additional supplemental questionnaire and provided biomarkers. Air pollution monitoring was conducted by a mobile laboratory equipped with fast-response instruments, at fixed sites, and inside the homes of selected study participants. We seek to develop improved estimates of UFP exposure by combining spatiotemporal models of ambient UFP with data on participant time-activity and housing characteristics. Exposure estimates will then be compared with biomarker levels to ascertain associations. This article describes our study design and methods and presents preliminary findings from east Somerville, one of the three study communities.


Brugge D.,Tufts University | Lane K.,Boston University | Padro-Martinez L.T.,Tufts University | Stewart A.,Tufts University | And 7 more authors.
Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source | Year: 2013

Background: Elevated cardiovascular disease risk has been reported with proximity to highways or busy roadways, but proximity measures can be challenging to interpret given potential confounders and exposure error. Methods. We conducted a cross sectional analysis of plasma levels of C-Reactive Protein (hsCRP), Interleukin-6 (IL-6), Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha receptor II (TNF-RII) and fibrinogen with distance of residence to a highway in and around Boston, Massachusetts. Distance was assigned using ortho-photo corrected parcel matching, as well as less precise approaches such as simple parcel matching and geocoding addresses to street networks. We used a combined random and convenience sample of 260 adults >40 years old. We screened a large number of individual-level variables including some infrequently collected for assessment of highway proximity, and included a subset in our final regression models. We monitored ultrafine particle (UFP) levels in the study areas to help interpret proximity measures. Results: Using the orthophoto corrected geocoding, in a fully adjusted model, hsCRP and IL-6 differed by distance category relative to urban background: 43% (-16%,141%) and 49% (6%,110%) increase for 0-50 m; 7% (-39%,45%) and 41% (6%,86%) for 50-150 m; 54% (-2%,142%) and 18% (-11%,57%) for 150-250 m, and 49% (-4%, 131%) and 42% (6%, 89%) for 250-450 m. There was little evidence for association for TNF-RII or fibrinogen. Ortho-photo corrected geocoding resulted in stronger associations than traditional methods which introduced differential misclassification. Restricted analysis found the effect of proximity on biomarkers was mostly downwind from the highway or upwind where there was considerable local street traffic, consistent with patterns of monitored UFP levels. Conclusion: We found associations between highway proximity and both hsCRP and IL-6, with non-monotonic patterns explained partly by individual-level factors and differences between proximity and UFP concentrations. Our analyses emphasize the importance of controlling for the risk of differential exposure misclassification from geocoding error. © 2013 Brugge et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Padro-Martinez L.T.,Tufts University | Patton A.P.,Tufts University | Trull J.B.,Tufts University | Zamore W.,Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership | And 2 more authors.
Atmospheric Environment | Year: 2012

Accurate quantification of exposures to traffic-related air pollution in near-highway neighborhoods is challenging due to the high degree of spatial and temporal variation of pollutant levels. The objective of this study was to measure air pollutant levels in a near-highway urban area over a wide range of traffic and meteorological conditions using a mobile monitoring platform. The study was performed in a 2.3-km 2 area in Somerville, Massachusetts (USA), near Interstate 93 (I-93), a highway that carries 150,000 vehicles per day. The mobile platform was equipped with rapid-response instruments and was driven repeatedly along a 15.4-km route on 55 days between September 2009 and August 2010. Monitoring was performed in 4-6-h shifts in the morning, afternoon, and evening on both weekdays and weekends in winter, spring, summer, and fall. Measurements were made of particle number concentration (PNC; 4-3000 nm), particle size distribution, fine particle mass (PM 2.5), particle-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (pPAH), black carbon (BC), carbon monoxide (CO), and nitrogen oxides (NO and NO x). The highest pollutant concentrations were measured within 0-50 m of I-93 with distance-decay gradients varying depending on traffic and meteorology. The most pronounced variations were observed for PNC. Annual median PNC 0-50 m from I-93 was two-fold higher compared to the background area (>1 km from I-93). In general, PNC levels were highest in winter and lowest in summer and fall, higher on weekdays and Saturdays compared to Sundays, and higher during morning rush hour compared to later in the day. Similar spatial and temporal trends were observed for NO, CO and BC, but not for PM 2.5. Spatial variations in PNC distance-decay gradients were non-uniform largely due to contributions from local street traffic. Hour-to-hour, day-to-day and season-to-season variations in PNC were of the same magnitude as spatial variations. Datasets containing fine-scale temporal and spatial variation of air pollution levels near highways may help to inform exposure assessment efforts. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

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