Special Issue "Air Quality Assessment for Environmental Policy Support: Sources, Emissions, Exposures and Health Impacts"

A special issue of Environments (ISSN 2076-3298).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Domenico M. Cavallo

Department of Science and High Technology, University of Insubria, Como, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: environmental and occupational health and safety; occupational and environmental hygiene; risk assessment; risk management; human exposure assessment; chemical risk assessment; air pollution; occupational exposure to nanoparticles and nanomaterials; exposure modeling; indoor air quality; health impact assessment; chemical risk assessment and management
Guest Editor
Dr. Andrea Spinazzè

Department of Science and High Technology, University of Insubria, Como, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: environmental and occupatiopnal health and safety; occupational and environmental hygiene; risk assessment; risk management; human exposure assessment; atmopsheric aerosol; chemical risk assessment; air quality; air pollution;

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The increased occurrence of serious health effects, mortality and morbidity as well as shortened life expectancy have been related to exposure to ambient air pollution. Air quality policies, such as the definition of air quality standards, vary greatly among countries and these regulatory discrepancies amplify the differences in air quality and related health effects around the globe. To reduce air pollution and improve air quality, robust, evidence-based and effective environmental policies are needed. The thorough study of the pollutants’ sources and emissions, of the population exposure and of the exposure-related impacts on health represents the basis for the development of air quality policies and the assessment of their effectiveness.

This Special Issue aims to present original research articles, reviews, and short communications concerning the following: (1) the sources and emissions of air pollutants, (2) the resulting exposure of the general population or of specific categories of subjects, (3) in different environments, including indoor environments, and (4) the potential health impacts that may result from it. The important role of environmental policy in mitigating these impacts should also be emphasized, as well as the potential for relevant benefits related to efforts in reducing pollutants emissions, enhancing air quality and reducing population exposure.

Prof. Dr. Domenico Maria Cavallo
Dr. Andrea Spinazzè
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Environments is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Pollution sources
  • Pollutant emissions
  • Air pollution
  • General population exposure
  • Exposure to chemicals
  • Exposure to emerging pollutants
  • Health impact assessment
  • Indoor air quality
  • Air pollution policy
  • Air pollution control

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Analysis of the Spatial–Temporal Variation of the Surface Ozone Concentration and Its Associated Meteorological Factors in Changchun
Environments 2019, 6(4), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6040046
Received: 23 February 2019 / Revised: 4 April 2019 / Accepted: 7 April 2019 / Published: 22 April 2019
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Abstract
Ozone (O3) pollution has become one of the most challenging problems in China, and high O3 concentrations have been a major air quality issue in Changchun. Based on continuous observation data of surface ozone concentrations from ten automatic air monitoring [...] Read more.
Ozone (O3) pollution has become one of the most challenging problems in China, and high O3 concentrations have been a major air quality issue in Changchun. Based on continuous observation data of surface ozone concentrations from ten automatic air monitoring stations and meteorological data from the meteorological bureau in Changchun, the temporal and spatial variations of the O3 concentration and its relationships with meteorological factors were analyzed by correlation analysis during the period of 2013–2017. The results showed the following: A single apex model of the annual mean O3 concentrations of the daily maximum 8 h average (MDA8) was found from the data for 2013 to 2017 in Changchun, with the highest MDA8 O3 concentrations in 2015 and a slight decline from then until 2017. The O3 concentrations in the suburban areas and the south of Changchun were higher than those downtown and north of the city. The seasonal variation of O3 concentrations was obvious, following the order summer > spring > autumn > winter, which was similar to the results of neighboring cities and provinces in Changchun. The days on which O3 concentrations exceeded the standard were concentrated in summer and spring, and the total number of ozone excess days was 91 days; the maximum number of ozone excess days was in 2015. The O3 concentration exceeded the standard in Changchun mainly in March–August, and its monthly mean value curve showed a bimodal type in which the highest values appeared in May and July, while the lowest values appeared in December. The diurnal pattern of ozone showed a single peak mode, and the peak value usually appeared at 14:00–16:00 while the minimum value appeared at 07:00–08:00. O3 concentrations in Changchun and the six selected pollutants CO, NO, NO2, NOx, PM10, and PM2.5 were negatively correlated. Higher temperature is a necessary synoptic condition for ozone pollution in Changchun: when the temperature rose, O3 concentrations increased significantly; further, O3 concentrations were negatively correlated with relative humidity and atmospheric pressure and were positively correlated with temperature and solar radiation. The O3 concentrations were highest when the wind scale approached 14~20 km/h and the wind direction was S. Combined with the research results in the surrounding areas of Changchun, it is indicated that there may be an ozone contribution from south of Changchun through long-range pollution transport and tropospheric subsidence. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Chemical Characterization of Two Seasonal PM2.5 Samples in Nanjing and Its Toxicological Properties in Three Human Cell Lines
Environments 2019, 6(4), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6040042
Received: 9 March 2019 / Revised: 29 March 2019 / Accepted: 31 March 2019 / Published: 3 April 2019
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Abstract
PM2.5 pollution is of great concern in China due to its adverse health effects. Many diseases have been proven to be associated with PM2.5 components, but the effects of chemical characteristics of PM2.5 on toxicological properties, especially in different human [...] Read more.
PM2.5 pollution is of great concern in China due to its adverse health effects. Many diseases have been proven to be associated with PM2.5 components, but the effects of chemical characteristics of PM2.5 on toxicological properties, especially in different human organs, are poorly understood. In this study, two seasonal PM2.5 samples (summer and winter) were collected in Nanjing, and their chemical compositions (heavy metals, water-soluble ions, organic carbon (OC), and elemental carbon (EC)) were analyzed. Human lung epithelial carcinoma cells (A549), human hepatocellular liver carcinoma cells (HepG2), and human neuroblastoma cells (Sh-Sy5y) were employed to evaluate the toxicological properties of the collected PM2.5. The results showed that the average mass concentrations of PM2.5 were lower in summer (51.3 ± 21.4 μg/m3) than those in winter (62.1 ± 21.5 μg/m3). However, the mass fractions of heavy metals, OC, and EC exhibited an opposite seasonal difference. Among all tested fractions, water-soluble ions were the major compositions of particles in both summer and winter, especially the secondary ions (SO42−, NO3 and NH4+). Besides, the ratio of OC/EC in PM2.5 was greater than two, indicating serious secondary pollution in this area. The NO3/SO42− ratio (< 1) suggested that fixed sources made important contributions. The toxicological results showed that PM2.5 in the summer and winter significantly inhibited cell viability (p < 0.01) and induced intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) production (p < 0.01). Moreover, the viability inhibition in A549, Sh-Sy5y, and HepG2 cells was more prominent in summer, especially at high PM2.5 (400 μg/mL) (p < 0.05), and the induction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in A549 and Sh-Sy5y cells was also more evident in summer. Such seasonal differences might be related to the variations of PM2.5 components. Full article
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Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Occupational Fine/Ultrafine Particles and Noise Exposure in Aircraft Personnel Operating in Airport Taxiway
Environments 2019, 6(3), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6030035
Received: 30 December 2018 / Revised: 5 March 2019 / Accepted: 11 March 2019 / Published: 15 March 2019
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Abstract
The occupational exposure to airborne fine and ultrafine particles (UFPs) and noise in aircraft personnel employed in airport taxiway was investigated. Stationary samplings and multiple personal sampling sites and job tasks were considered. Size distribution, particle number concentrations, lung dose surface area were [...] Read more.
The occupational exposure to airborne fine and ultrafine particles (UFPs) and noise in aircraft personnel employed in airport taxiway was investigated. Stationary samplings and multiple personal sampling sites and job tasks were considered. Size distribution, particle number concentrations, lung dose surface area were measured by personal particle counters and by means of an electric low pressure impactor (ELPI+TM). Morphological and chemical characterization of UFPs were performed by transmission and scanning electron microscopy, the latter together with energy dispersive X-Ray spectroscopy based spatially resolved compositional mapping. A-weighted noise exposure level A-weighted noise exposure level normalized to an 8 h working day and Peak Sound C-weighted Pressure Level was calculated for single worker and for homogeneous exposure groups. Our study provides evidence on the impact of aviation-related emissions on occupational exposure to ultrafine particles and noise exposure of workers operating in an airport taxiway. Main exposure peaks are related to pre-flight operations of engine aircrafts. Although exposure to ultrafine particles and noise appears to not be critical if compared with other occupational scenarios, the coincidence in time of high peaks of exposure to ultrafine particles and noise suggest that further investigations are warranted in order to assess possible subclinical and clinical adverse health effects in exposed workers, especially for cardiovascular apparatus. Full article
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Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Research on Organic Carbon and Elemental Carbon Distribution Characteristics and Their Influence on Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) in Changchun City
Environments 2019, 6(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6020021
Received: 9 January 2019 / Revised: 13 February 2019 / Accepted: 14 February 2019 / Published: 19 February 2019
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Abstract
In order to understand the distribution characteristics of organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC) in PM2.5 in Changchun; China; PM2.5 samples were collected from April 2017 to December 2017 using the KC-120H particulate matter sampler; and the NIOSH 5040 method [...] Read more.
In order to understand the distribution characteristics of organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC) in PM2.5 in Changchun; China; PM2.5 samples were collected from April 2017 to December 2017 using the KC-120H particulate matter sampler; and the NIOSH 5040 method was used for determination. The results showed that the average concentration of PM2.5 in Changchun was 45.92 µg/m3 (45.92 ± 50.17), and the annual average concentrations of OC and EC ranged from 15.69 to 24.32 µg/m3 and from 1.38 to 2.33 µg/m3; respectively. The annual OC/EC ratio range was 8.08–15.44; with an average of 11.70. OC and EC concentrations in spring were the lowest; whereas higher levels of both OC and EC were found in winter. Significant correlations between OC and EC were found in the non-heating period; indicating that there was a consistent or similar source; whereas OC was non-significantly correlated with EC in the heating period; suggesting that contributions of OC were from unrelated combustion sources. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Origin and Background Estimation of Sulfur Dioxide in Ulaanbaatar, 2017
Environments 2018, 5(12), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5120136
Received: 24 October 2018 / Revised: 6 December 2018 / Accepted: 7 December 2018 / Published: 11 December 2018
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Abstract
Particulate matter studies have been conducted regularly in the capital city of Mongolia. In contrast, studies related to the source and general estimation of levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2) over whole years are lacking. To explore the yearly trend in SO [...] Read more.
Particulate matter studies have been conducted regularly in the capital city of Mongolia. In contrast, studies related to the source and general estimation of levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2) over whole years are lacking. To explore the yearly trend in SO2, whole-year data of air pollutants were obtained from the Air Pollution Reducing Department. The results showed that the annual average concentration of SO2 was 32.43 µg/m3 at the Amgalan official monitoring station in 2017, which changed from 53 µg/m3 in 2016, representing a reduction of around 40%. The back-trajectory model and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s hybrid single particle Lagrangian integrated trajectory model (HYPSLIT) were used to determine the source of SO2. A total of 8760 backward trajectories were divided into eight groups. The results showed that 78.8% of the total trajectories in Ulaanbaatar came from an area inside Mongolia. The results showed that pollutants enter Ulaanbaatar mainly from the northwest and north during the winter season. There are industrial cities, such as Darkhan and Sukhbaatar, in North Mongolia. Air pollutants created in the industrial area traveled into Ulaanbaatar during the winter season. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of Geometrical Layouts for a Multi-Box Aerosol Model from a Single-Chamber Dispersion Study
Environments 2018, 5(5), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5050052
Received: 19 February 2018 / Revised: 16 April 2018 / Accepted: 22 April 2018 / Published: 24 April 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2529 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Models are increasingly used to estimate and pre-emptively calculate the occupational exposure of airborne released particulate matter. Typical two-box models assume instant and fully mixed air volumes, which can potentially cause issues in cases with fast processes, slow air mixing, and/or large volumes. [...] Read more.
Models are increasingly used to estimate and pre-emptively calculate the occupational exposure of airborne released particulate matter. Typical two-box models assume instant and fully mixed air volumes, which can potentially cause issues in cases with fast processes, slow air mixing, and/or large volumes. In this study, we present an aerosol dispersion model and validate it by comparing the modelled concentrations with concentrations measured during chamber experiments. We investigated whether a better estimation of concentrations was possible by using different geometrical layouts rather than a typical two-box layout. A one-box, two-box, and two three-box layouts were used. The one box model was found to underestimate the concentrations close to the source, while overestimating the concentrations in the far field. The two-box model layout performed well based on comparisons from the chamber study in systems with a steady source concentration for both slow and fast mixing. The three-box layout was found to better estimate the concentrations and the timing of the peaks for fluctuating concentrations than the one-box or two-box layouts under relatively slow mixing conditions. This finding suggests that industry-relevant scaled volumes should be tested in practice to gain more knowledge about when to use the two-box or the three-box layout schemes for multi-box models. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Raising Awareness on Air Pollution in Milan: An Educational and Experience-Based Approach Laboratory Involving Third Grade Elementary School Children
Authors: Luca Boniardi et al.
Affiliation: Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, University of Milan, Milano, Italy

Title: Occupational fine/ultrafine particles and noise exposure in aircraft personnel operating in airport taxiway
Authors: Marcias G, Uras M, Fabbri D, Pili S, Pilia I, Miozzi E, Meloni F, Pau M, Massacci G, Larese Filon F, Campagna M, Lecca LI
Abstract: The occupational exposure to airborne fine and ultrafine particles and noise in aircraft personnel employed in airport taxiway was investigated. Multiple sampling sites and job tasks were considered: i) personal samplings (n.34) of Aircraft Ground Equipment personnel (AGE), firefighting officers, flight security agents, aviation fuel’s administration staff (AFS), ii) stationary background receptor site, iii) close to the airstrip. Particle number, surface area concentrations and distributions were measured by personal particle counters (Diffusion Size Classifier DiSCmini and Sioutas Cascade Impactor) and by means of an electric low pressure impactor (ELPI). Chemical analyses were performed by TEM and SEM + EDX analyses. A-weighted noise exposure level (LAeq), A-weighted noise exposure level normalized to an 8 h working day (LAeq8hr) and Peak Sound C-weighted Pressure Level (LC peak) was calculated for single worker and for homogeneous exposure groups. AFS showed highest exposure level considering both concentration (median 6.7x103 part/cm3  IQR 4207 – 12531) and lung surface deposition area (median 20.78 µm2/cm3, IQR 13.98 – 32.67) compared with other job tasks with peaks of 1x107 part/cm3. LAeq ranged from 63.8 to 93.7 dBA (mean 79.6, sd 7.4), while LAeq8hr ranged from 54.6 to 91.5 dBA. LC peak maximum level reached 135 dBC (mean 129.7, sd 4.3). Our study provides evidence for the impact of aviation-related emissions on occupational exposure to ultrafine particles and noise exposure of workers operating in airport taxiway. Main exposure peaks are related to pre-flight operations of engine aircrafts. Although exposure to UFP and noise appears to be not critical if compared with other occupational scenarios, the coincidence in time of high peaks of exposure to UFP and noise suggest that further investigations are warranted in order to assess possible subclinical and clinical adverse health effects in exposed workers, especially for cardiovascular apparatus.

Title: Distribution characteristics and influence of OC and EC in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in Changchun city
Authors: Ju Wang, Anan Yu , Le Yang and Chunsheng Fang
Affiliation: School of new energy and environment, Jilin University
Abstract: In recent years, the air quality in Changchun city has been declining year by year, and the haze events are frequent, which has negative impacts on life and human health, and its research has attracted much attention. At present, fine particulate matter (PM2.5) has become the primary pollutant in China's urban atmosphere and has a significant impact on air quality and visibility. Organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC), the main components of PM2.5, have also received widespread attention. In order to understand the law of the change of OC and EC in Changchun PM2.5, the PM2.5 samples in Changchun were collected from April to December in 2017 using the KC-120H particulate matter sampler, and the OC/EC analysis was conducted using NIOSH 5040 method to determine the concentration of OC and EC in PM2.5 in Changchun. According to the results of the CMB model of PM2.5 in Changchun city in 2017 and relevant literature, this paper calculated the contribution rate of different pollution sources to OC and EC in Changchun city. The results showed that the average concentration of PM2.5 in Changchun city was 45.92 μg/m3, of which the annual average concentration of OC and EC ranged from 15.69-24.32 μg/m3 and 1.38-2.33 μg/m3. OC and EC concentrations were 21.70 and 1.85 μg/m3 respectively. The annual OC/EC ratio range was 8.08-15.44 and the average value was 11.70, indicating that the main sources of EC and OC in Changchun city were coal burning and ground dust, and there was organic carbon generated by secondary reaction. The average concentration of OC in Changchun city is 21.7. The annual average concentration of EC in Changchun city was 1.85 μg/m3, accounting for 4.48% of PM2.5 concentration. The results showed that the sources of OC and EC in the PM2.5 of Changchun city could be an important index for the determination of atmospheric particulate pollution, and fine particulate matter was also one of the main factors causing cardiovascular system diseases.
Keywords: PM2.5; OC; EC; Distribution characteristics

Title: Analysis of spatial-temporal variation of surface O3 concentrations and its associated meteorological factors in Changchun
Authors: Chunsheng Fang, Liyuan Wang, Ju Wang
Affiliation: College of New Energy and Environment, Jilin University
Abstract: Ozone (O3) pollution has become one of the most challenging problems in China, high O3 concentrations have been a major air quality issue in Changchun. Based on continuous observation data of surface ozone concentrations from 10 automatic air monitoring stations and meteorological data from meteorological bureau in Changchun, temporal and spatial variations of O3 concentration and its relationships with meteorological factors were analyzed by both related analysis and cluster analysis during the period 2013-2017. The results showed that an increasing trend of the annual mean O3 concentrations of daily maximum 8h average (MDA8) was found from 2013 to 2016 in Changchun and the O3 pollution was increasing year by year. The concentrations of MDA8 of O3 declined slightly in 2017, probably due to cloudy, rainy, high relative humidity and low temperature weather conditions in Changchun during May to August 2017. The O3 concentrations in suburban area was higher than that in downtown. The seasonal variation of O3 concentrations in Changchun was obvious, spring > summer > autumn >winter, and the days of O3 concentrations exceeding the standard were concentrated in spring and summer, which is different from the results of neighboring cities and provinces of Changchun. It is speculated that it may be due to the low thickness of the mixed layer in spring. The over-standard time of O3 concentrations in Changchun mainly appeared in April to July, and its monthly mean value curve showed a bimodal type in which highest O3 concentration appeared in May and July, whereas the lowest appeared in December. The diurnal pattern of ozone showed a single peak mode, and the peak value usually appeared at 14:00 to 16:00. Higher temperature is a necessary condition for ozone pollution in Changchun. When the temperature is higher than 20℃, O3 concentrations increased significantly. O3 concentrations was negatively correlated with relative humidity and atmospheric mixing layer thickness. When the relative humidity was higher than 70% and atmospheric mixing layer thickness was higher than 800 meters, O3 concentrations in Changchun decreased significantly. The O3 concentrations was highest when the wind speed approaches 1-2 m/s and the wind direction is WSW, combined with the simulation results of the backward trajectory model, it is indicated that there may be an O3 contribution from the west side of Changchun.
Keywords: Surface O3 concentrations; Spatial-temporal variation; Meteorological factors; Changchun

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