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Special Issue "Health Effects of Air Pollution"

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A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2011)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Paraskevi N. Polymenakou

Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Gournes Pediados, P.O.Box 2214, Heraklion Crete, Greece

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Air pollution includes all contaminants found in the atmosphere in the form of gases or particulates and particles of biological origin. Fuel combustion is the primary source of a large number of health-damaging air pollutants, including fine and respirable particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ozone (O3), atmospheric toxic metals such as lead, persistent free radicals and radioactive pollutants. In addition to chemical pollution, microbial air pollutants can include viruses, bacteria, fungi and their spores, lichen fragments, protists, spores and fragments of plants, pollen, small seeds and invertebrates.

Because it is located in the atmosphere, air pollution can travel over long distances affecting remote and pristine areas. As a result, air pollution has raised special concern due to its diverse serious consequences to the health of human beings (e.g. respiratory illness) and natural ecosystems (e.g. loss of biodiversity) on a global scale. Estimations indicated that about 100,000 deaths a year could be linked to ambient chemical air pollution in cities in the WHO European Region, shortening life expectancy by an average of a year. In addition, air microbiota can also directly impact human health via pathogenesis, the exposure of sensitive individuals to cellular components (e.g. pollen and fungal allergens and lipopolysaccharide), and the development of sensitivities (i.e. asthma) through prolonged exposure.

This special issue in Atmosphere is dedicated to cover a broad range of topics related to human and ecosystem health effects of outdoor air pollution. Submitted manuscripts must provide information on the risk assessment of potential health effects (including public and ecosystem health issues) that may occur from different types of pollutants exposure, the adverse health effects of transport-related air pollution (e.g. in mega cities), epidemiological studies. Studies that provide information on the implications of chemical (e.g. metals, pesticides, etc.) and biological (e.g. microorganisms, spores) pollutant transportation (e.g. with dust events) to large cities and downwind ecosystems are especially welcomed. Literature review papers in the relevant fields are also welcomed.

Dr. Paraskevi N. Polymenakou
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • outdoor air pollution
  • microbial air pollutants
  • public health effects
  • ecosystem health effects
  • pollutants transportation
  • mega cities
  • epediomological studies
  • respiratory illness
  • biodiversity loss
  • literature review

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle A Comparison of Risk Estimates for the Effect of Short-Term Exposure to PM, NO2 and CO on Cardiovascular Hospitalizations and Emergency Department Visits: Effect Size Modeling of Study Findings
Atmosphere 2011, 2(4), 688-701; doi:10.3390/atmos2040688
Received: 15 September 2011 / Revised: 19 November 2011 / Accepted: 22 November 2011 / Published: 6 December 2011
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (436 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although particulate matter (PM), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) typically exist as part of a complex air pollution mixture, the evidence linking these pollutants to health effects is evaluated separately in the scientific and policy reviews of the [...] Read more.
Although particulate matter (PM), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) typically exist as part of a complex air pollution mixture, the evidence linking these pollutants to health effects is evaluated separately in the scientific and policy reviews of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The objective of this analysis was to use meta-regression methods to model effect estimates for several individual yet correlated NAAQS pollutants in an effort to identify factors that explain differences in the effect sizes across studies and across pollutants. We expected that our consideration of the evidence for several correlated pollutants in parallel could lead to insights regarding exposure to the pollutant mixture. We focused on studies of hospital admissions for congestive heart failure (CHF) and ischemic heart disease (IHD), which have played an important role in the evaluation of the scientific evidence communicated in the PM, NO2, and CO Integrated Science Assessments (ISAs). Of the studies evaluated, 11 CHF studies and 21 IHD studies met our inclusion requirements. The size of the risk estimates was explained by factors related to the pollution mixture, study methods, and monitoring network characteristics. Our findings suggest that additional analyses focusing on understanding differences in effect sizes across geographic areas with different pollution mixtures and monitor network designs may improve our understanding of the independent and combined effects of correlated pollutants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Effects of Air Pollution)

Review

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Open AccessReview Atmosphere: A Source of Pathogenic or Beneficial Microbes?
Atmosphere 2012, 3(1), 87-102; doi:10.3390/atmos3010087
Received: 28 November 2011 / Revised: 29 December 2011 / Accepted: 4 January 2012 / Published: 16 January 2012
Cited by 23 | PDF Full-text (295 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The atmosphere has been described as one of the last frontiers of biological exploration on Earth. The composition of microbial communities in the atmosphere is still not well-defined, and taxonomic studies of bacterial diversity in the outdoor air have just started to [...] Read more.
The atmosphere has been described as one of the last frontiers of biological exploration on Earth. The composition of microbial communities in the atmosphere is still not well-defined, and taxonomic studies of bacterial diversity in the outdoor air have just started to emerge, whereas our knowledge about the functional potential of air microbiota is scant. When in the air, microorganisms can be attached to ambient particles and/or incorporated into water droplets of clouds, fog, and precipitation (i.e., rain, snow, hail). Further, they can be deposited back to earth’s surfaces via dry and wet deposition processes and they can possibly induce an effect on the diversity and function of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems or impose impacts to human health through microbial pathogens dispersion. In addition to their impact on ecosystem and public health, there are strong indications that air microbes are metabolically active and well adapted to the harsh atmospheric conditions. Furthermore they can affect atmospheric chemistry and physics, with important implications in meteorology and global climate. This review summarizes current knowledge about the ubiquitous presence of microbes in the atmosphere and discusses their ability to survive in the atmospheric environment. The purpose is to evaluate the atmospheric environment as a source of pathogenic or beneficial microbes and to assess the biotechnological opportunities that may offer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Effects of Air Pollution)

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