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Open AccessArticle

Burden of Disease Assessment of Ambient Air Pollution and Premature Mortality in Urban Areas: The Role of Socioeconomic Status and Transportation

1
Zachry Department of Civil Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77840, USA
2
Center for Advancing Research in Transportation Emissions, Energy, and Health (CARTEEH), Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), College Station, TX 77843, USA
3
Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), 08003 Barcelona, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(4), 1166; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041166
Received: 9 January 2020 / Revised: 1 February 2020 / Accepted: 5 February 2020 / Published: 12 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Impact Assessment)
With recent rapid urbanization, sustainable development is required to prevent health risks associated with adverse environmental exposures from the unsustainable development of cities. Ambient air pollution is the greatest environmental risk factor for human health and is responsible for considerable levels of mortality worldwide. Burden of disease assessment (BoD) of air pollution in and across cities, and how these estimates vary according to socioeconomic status and exposure to road traffic, can help city planners and health practitioners to mitigate adverse exposures and promote public health. In this study, we quantified the health impacts of air pollution exposure (PM2.5 and NO2) at the census tract level in Houston, Texas, employing a standard BoD assessment framework to estimate the premature deaths (adults 30 to 78 years old) attributable to PM2.5 and NO2. We found that 631 (95% CI: 366–809) premature deaths were attributable to PM2.5 in Houston, and 159 (95% CI: 0-609) were attributable to NO2, in 2010. Complying with the World Health Organization air quality guidelines (annual mean: 10 μg/m3 for PM2.5) and the US National Ambient Air Quality standard (annual mean: 12 μg/m3 for PM2.5) could save 82 (95% CI: 42–95) and 8 (95% CI: 6–10) lives in Houston, respectively. PM2.5 was responsible for 7.3% of all-cause premature deaths in Houston, in 2010, which is higher than the death rate associated with diabetes mellites, Alzheimer’s disease, or motor vehicle crashes in the US. Households with lower income had a higher risk of adverse exposure and attributable premature deaths. We also showed a positive relationship between health impacts attributable to air pollution and road traffic passing through census tracts, which was more prominent for NO2. View Full-Text
Keywords: burden of disease; air pollution; premature deaths; attributable deaths; road traffic; socioeconomic inequities; United States burden of disease; air pollution; premature deaths; attributable deaths; road traffic; socioeconomic inequities; United States
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Sohrabi, S.; Zietsman, J.; Khreis, H. Burden of Disease Assessment of Ambient Air Pollution and Premature Mortality in Urban Areas: The Role of Socioeconomic Status and Transportation. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 1166.

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