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Special Issue "The Role of Air Pollution during the COVID-19 Pandemic"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2022 | Viewed by 8111

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Chiara Copat
E-Mail Website
Chief Guest Editor
Environmental and Food Hygiene Laboratory (LIAA), Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences and Advanced Technologies “G.F. Ingrassia”, University of Catania, 95123 Catania, Italy
Interests: food hygiene; food safety; risk assessment; environmental health; environmental epidemiology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Margherita Ferrante
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Medical, Surgical and Advanced Technologies “G.F. Ingrassia”, University of Catania, Via Santa Sofia 87, 95123 Catania, Italy
Interests: environmental pollution; environment and health; public health; ecological risk assessment; food safety risk assessment; environmental epidemiology; environmental remediation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Antonio Cristaldi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Medical, Surgical and Advanced Technologies “G.F. Ingrassia”, University of Catania, Via Santa Sofia 87, 95123 Catania, Italy
Interests: environmental chemistry; environment and health; environmental epidemiology; environmental remediation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Air pollution was a recognized and serious health problem long before the beginning of industrialization, and it is the largest environmental cause of disease and early death in the world today. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization estimated that air pollution is responsible for 7 million premature deaths a year worldwide, and it has been linked to higher rates of lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, and respiratory diseases such as asthma. Soot, smoke, mold, pollen, methane, and carbon dioxide are a just few examples of common pollutants. The main consequences of air pollution are global warming, acid rain, smog, ozone depletion, etc. Traditional control strategies typically reduce emissions for specific air pollutants and sectors to maintain pollutant concentrations below standards.

The COVID-19 pandemic constitutes an unexpected challenge that is very different from the known viral infections, and is a big opportunity for the scientific community to study if environmental risk factors could be potential vehicles of transmission for airway viral infections and an exacerbating factor in the susceptibility to and/or severity of infection outbreaks.

For this Special Issue, we invite collaborative, interdisciplinary, and innovative work that seeks to deepen our understanding of the associations between, the potential effects, and the mechanisms involved in air pollution-induced exacerbation of respiratory infections, and to explore whether airborne pollution particles could be a vector that spreads COVID-19 and makes it more virulent. Furthermore, the scientific community has a unique opportunity to study the beneficial effects of the drastic reduction of air pollution derived from the global economic lockdown on the environment and human health.

We hope you will consider contributing to this Special Issue.

Dr. Chiara Copat
Prof. Dr. Margherita Ferrante
Dr. Antonio Cristaldi
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2500 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

  • air pollution
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • vehicle of transmission
  • exacerbating factors

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Machine Learning and Meteorological Normalization for Assessment of Particulate Matter Changes during the COVID-19 Lockdown in Zagreb, Croatia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(11), 6937; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116937 - 06 Jun 2022
Viewed by 461
Abstract
In this paper, the authors investigated changes in mass concentrations of particulate matter (PM) during the Coronavirus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown. Daily samples of PM1, PM2.5 and PM10 fractions were measured at an urban background sampling site in [...] Read more.
In this paper, the authors investigated changes in mass concentrations of particulate matter (PM) during the Coronavirus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown. Daily samples of PM1, PM2.5 and PM10 fractions were measured at an urban background sampling site in Zagreb, Croatia from 2009 to late 2020. For the purpose of meteorological normalization, the mass concentrations were fed alongside meteorological and temporal data to Random Forest (RF) and LightGBM (LGB) models tuned by Bayesian optimization. The models’ predictions were subsequently de-weathered by meteorological normalization using repeated random resampling of all predictive variables except the trend variable. Three pollution periods in 2020 were examined in detail: January and February, as pre-lockdown, the month of April as the lockdown period, as well as June and July as the “new normal”. An evaluation using normalized mass concentrations of particulate matter and Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted. The results showed that no significant differences were observed for PM1, PM2.5 and PM10 in April 2020—compared to the same period in 2018 and 2019. No significant changes were observed for the “new normal” as well. The results thus indicate that a reduction in mobility during COVID-19 lockdown in Zagreb, Croatia, did not significantly affect particulate matter concentration in the long-term.. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Air Pollution during the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Relationship between Meteorological and Air Quality Parameters and COVID-19 in Casablanca Region, Morocco
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 4989; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19094989 - 20 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 504
Abstract
The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between meteorological parameters, air quality and daily COVID-19 transmission in Morocco. We collected daily data of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Casablanca region, as well as meteorological parameters (average temperature, wind, relative humidity, [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between meteorological parameters, air quality and daily COVID-19 transmission in Morocco. We collected daily data of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Casablanca region, as well as meteorological parameters (average temperature, wind, relative humidity, precipitation, duration of insolation) and air quality parameters (CO, NO2, 03, SO2, PM10) during the period of 2 March 2020, to 31 December 2020. The General Additive Model (GAM) was used to assess the impact of these parameters on daily cases of COVID-19. A total of 172,746 confirmed cases were reported in the study period. Positive associations were observed between COVID-19 and wind above 20 m/s and humidity above 80%. However, temperatures above 25° were negatively associated with daily cases of COVID-19. PM10 and O3 had a positive effect on the increase in the number of daily confirmed COVID-19 cases, while precipitation had a borderline effect below 25 mm and a negative effect above this value. The findings in this study suggest that significant associations exist between meteorological factors, air quality pollution (PM10) and the transmission of COVID-19. Our findings may help public health authorities better control the spread of COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Air Pollution during the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
An Epidemiological Study to Investigate Links between Atmospheric Pollution from Farming and SARS-CoV-2 Mortality
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(8), 4637; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19084637 - 12 Apr 2022
Viewed by 735
Abstract
Exposure to atmospheric particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide has been linked to SARS-CoV-2 infection and death. We hypothesized that long-term exposure to farming-related air pollutants might predispose to an increased risk of COVID-19-related death. To test this hypothesis, we performed an ecological study [...] Read more.
Exposure to atmospheric particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide has been linked to SARS-CoV-2 infection and death. We hypothesized that long-term exposure to farming-related air pollutants might predispose to an increased risk of COVID-19-related death. To test this hypothesis, we performed an ecological study of five Italian Regions (Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna and Sicily), linking all-cause mortality by province (administrative entities within regions) to data on atmospheric concentrations of particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) and ammonia (NH3), which are mainly produced by agricultural activities. The study outcome was change in all-cause mortality during March–April 2020 compared with March–April 2015–2019 (period). We estimated all-cause mortality rate ratios (MRRs) by multivariate negative binomial regression models adjusting for air temperature, humidity, international import-export, gross domestic product and population density. We documented a 6.9% excess in MRR (proxy for COVID-19 mortality) for each tonne/km2 increase in NH3 emissions, explained by the interaction of the period variable with NH3 exposure, considering all pollutants together. Despite the limitations of the ecological design of the study, following the precautionary principle, we recommend the implementation of public health measures to limit environmental NH3 exposure, particularly while the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Future studies are needed to investigate any causal link between COVID-19 and farming-related pollution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Air Pollution during the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Utilization Intention of Community Pharmacy Service under the Dual Threats of Air Pollution and COVID-19 Epidemic: Moderating Effects of Knowledge and Attitude toward COVID-19
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(6), 3744; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063744 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 601
Abstract
The utilization of pharmacy services in response to the threat of COVID-19 infection remains unclear in areas suffering from air pollution, and little is known regarding the effects of knowledge and attitude (KA) toward COVID-19 on this preventive behavior. This study aimed to [...] Read more.
The utilization of pharmacy services in response to the threat of COVID-19 infection remains unclear in areas suffering from air pollution, and little is known regarding the effects of knowledge and attitude (KA) toward COVID-19 on this preventive behavior. This study aimed to explore how the residents perceived and reacted to the new threats of the epidemic and how KA may affect the correlation. Based on the health belief model (HBM), this research took the pharmacy service utilization (PSU) as an example to explain the preventive behavior. The samples were 375 respondents recruited from five districts near the industrial parks. T-test, ANOVA, and regression analyses of SPSS 22.0 were used to analyze the data. Test results show that self-efficacy was the strongest predictor, followed by the net perceived benefit. KA moderated the association of perceived threat and PSU intention. The levels of air pollution of a district may not be a good predictor for the preventive behavior against COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Air Pollution during the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Air Quality Change in Seoul, South Korea under COVID-19 Social Distancing: Focusing on PM2.5
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6208; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176208 - 27 Aug 2020
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 2565
Abstract
Seoul, the most populous city in South Korea, has been practicing social distancing to slow down the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and other air pollutants measured in Seoul over the two 30 day periods before [...] Read more.
Seoul, the most populous city in South Korea, has been practicing social distancing to slow down the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and other air pollutants measured in Seoul over the two 30 day periods before and after the start of social distancing are analyzed to assess the change in air quality during the period of social distancing. The 30 day mean PM2.5 concentration decreased by 10.4% in 2020, which is contrasted with an average increase of 23.7% over the corresponding periods in the previous 5 years. The PM2.5 concentration decrease was city-wide and more prominent during daytime than at nighttime. The concentrations of carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) decreased by 16.9% and 16.4%, respectively. These results show that social distancing, a weaker forcing toward reduced human activity than a strict lockdown, can help lower pollutant emissions. At the same time, synoptic conditions and the decrease in aerosol optical depth over the regions to the west of Seoul support that the change in Seoul’s air quality during the COVID-19 social distancing can be interpreted as having been affected by reductions in the long-range transport of air pollutants as well as local emission reductions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Air Pollution during the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Air Quality Variation in Wuhan, Daegu, and Tokyo during the Explosive Outbreak of COVID-19 and Its Health Effects
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 4119; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114119 - 09 Jun 2020
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 2071
Abstract
This study was designed to assess the variation of the air quality actually measured from the air pollution monitoring stations (AQMS) in three cities (Wuhan, Daegu, and Tokyo), in Asian countries experiencing the explosive outbreak of COVID-19, in a short period of time. [...] Read more.
This study was designed to assess the variation of the air quality actually measured from the air pollution monitoring stations (AQMS) in three cities (Wuhan, Daegu, and Tokyo), in Asian countries experiencing the explosive outbreak of COVID-19, in a short period of time. In addition, we made a new attempt to calculate the reduced DosePM2.5 (μg) at the bronchiolar (Br.) and alveolar-interstitial (AI) regions of the 10-year-old children after the city lockdown/self-reflection of each city. A comparison of the average PM2.5 of a month before and after the lockdown (Wuhan) and self-reflection (Daegu and Tokyo) clearly shows that the PM2.5 concentration was decreased by 29.9, 20.9, and 3.6% in Wuhan, Daegu and Tokyo, respectively. Wuhan, Daegu and Tokyo also recorded 53.2, 19.0, and 10.4% falls of NO2 concentration, respectively. Wuhan, which had the largest decrease of PM2.5 concentration due to COVID-19, also marked the largest reduced DosePM2.5 10-year-old children (μg) (3660 μg at Br. and 6222 μg at AI), followed by Daegu (445 μg at Br. and 1287 μg at AI), and Tokyo (18 μg at Br. and 52 μg at AI), over two months after the city lockdown/self-reflection. Our results suggest that the city lockdown/self-reflection had the effect of lowering the concentration of PM2.5, resulting in an extension of the period it took to the acute allergic airway inflammation (AAI) for the 10-year-old children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Air Pollution during the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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