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: closed (30 June 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Domenico M. Cavallo
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Science and High Technology, University of Insubria, Como, Italy
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
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Andrea Spinazzè
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Scienza e Alta Tecnologia, Università degli Studi dell'Insubria, Como 21100, Italy
Interests: exposure assessment; exposure sciences; airborne pollutants; occupational and environmental hygiene; chemical risk assessment and risk management
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

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

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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 1000 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 (10 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Preface: Special Issue on Air Quality Assessment for Environmental Policy Support: Sources, Emissions, Exposures, and Health Impacts
Environments 2019, 6(10), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6100110 - 30 Sep 2019
Abstract
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 [...] Full article

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Is a Land Use Regression Model Capable of Predicting the Cleanest Route to School?
Environments 2019, 6(8), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6080090 - 30 Jul 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Land Use Regression (LUR) modeling is a widely used technique to model the spatial variability of air pollutants in epidemiology. In this study, we explore whether a LUR model can predict home-to-school commuting exposure to black carbon (BC). During January and February 2019, [...] Read more.
Land Use Regression (LUR) modeling is a widely used technique to model the spatial variability of air pollutants in epidemiology. In this study, we explore whether a LUR model can predict home-to-school commuting exposure to black carbon (BC). During January and February 2019, 43 children walking to school were involved in a personal monitoring campaign measuring exposure to BC and tracking their home-to-school routes. At the same time, a previously developed LUR model for the study area was applied to estimate BC exposure on points along the route. Personal BC exposure varied widely with mean ± SD of 9003 ± 4864 ng/m3. The comparison between the two methods showed good agreement (Pearson’s r = 0.74, Lin’s Concordance Correlation Coefficient = 0.6), suggesting that LUR estimates are capable of catching differences among routes and predicting the cleanest route. However, the model tends to underestimate absolute concentrations by 29% on average. A LUR model can be useful in predicting personal exposure and can help urban planners in Milan to build a healthier city for schoolchildren by promoting less polluted home-to-school routes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Odours in Sewerage—A Description of Emissions and of Technical Abatement Measures
Environments 2019, 6(8), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6080089 - 26 Jul 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Malodorous compounds arise at practically every stage of wastewater management, starting from the sewer network, via the technological sewage-treatment system, through to the sludge-management stage. The formation of hydrogen sulphide is a significant problem even while sewage remains in sewers, as anaerobic conditions [...] Read more.
Malodorous compounds arise at practically every stage of wastewater management, starting from the sewer network, via the technological sewage-treatment system, through to the sludge-management stage. The formation of hydrogen sulphide is a significant problem even while sewage remains in sewers, as anaerobic conditions prevalent in the network are conducive to wastewater putrefaction, and therefore contribute to increased malodorous emissions. The development of such anaerobic conditions is favoured by the oversizing of conduits or designs that feature inadequate gradients, causing wastewater in the network to stagnate. Where emissions to the air from wastewater occur, they are found to constitute a complex mixture of perhaps even 1000 different substances, produced under varying process conditions. Among those present are compounds of sulphur and nitrogen, chlorinated compounds, and other organics. In Poland, the issue of odour annoyance has not yet been subject to standardisation in either legal or methodological terms. Indeed, as only 11 EU Member States have regulations in place regarding air-quality standards, it is likely that such a law will soon be developed to try and resolve problems with odour annoyance, including those originating in the systems dealing with wastewater. This denotes a need to develop methods of counteracting the formation of odours, and those of a chemical nature are regarded as among the most effective, hence their growing popularity. They also abide by green-technology principles. Against that background, this article seeks to consider the process by which malodorous substances arise in sewer and wastewater-treatment systems, as well as to discuss methods of odour abatement. The work also presents the current legal regulations of relevance to the issue. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Remote Sensing Data to Model PM10 Estimation in Cities with a Low Number of Air Quality Stations: A Case of Study in Quito, Ecuador
Environments 2019, 6(7), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6070085 - 21 Jul 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The monitoring of air pollutant concentration within cities is crucial for environment management and public health policies in order to promote sustainable cities. In this study, we present an approach to estimate the concentration of particulate matter of less than 10 µm diameter [...] Read more.
The monitoring of air pollutant concentration within cities is crucial for environment management and public health policies in order to promote sustainable cities. In this study, we present an approach to estimate the concentration of particulate matter of less than 10 µm diameter (PM10) using an empirical land use regression (LUR) model and considering different remote sensing data as the input. The study area is Quito, the capital of Ecuador, and the data were collected between 2013 and 2017. The model predictors are the surface reflectance bands (visible and infrared) of Landsat-7 ETM+, Landsat-8 OLI/TIRS, and Aqua-Terra/MODIS sensors and some environmental indexes (normalized difference vegetation index—NDVI; normalized difference soil index—NDSI, soil-adjusted vegetation index—SAVI; normalized difference water index—NDWI; and land surface temperature (LST)). The dependent variable is PM10 ground measurements. Furthermore, this study also aims to compare three different sources of remote sensing data (Landsat-7 ETM+, Landsat-8 OLI, and Aqua-Terra/MODIS) to estimate the PM10 concentration, and three different predictive techniques (stepwise regression, partial least square regression, and artificial neuronal network (ANN)) to build the model. The models obtained are able to estimate PM10 in regions where air data acquisition is limited or even does not exist. The best model is the one built with an ANN, where the coefficient of determination (R2 = 0.68) is the highest and the root-mean-square error (RMSE = 6.22) is the lowest among all the models. Thus, the selected model allows the generation of PM10 concentration maps from public remote sensing data, constituting an alternative over other techniques to estimate pollutants, especially when few air quality ground stations are available. Full article
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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 - 22 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
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 - 03 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
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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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 - 15 Mar 2019
Cited by 2
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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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 - 19 Feb 2019
Cited by 2
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 - 11 Dec 2018
Cited by 1
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 - 24 Apr 2018
Cited by 8
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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