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Special Issue "Air Quality and Health"

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: closed (28 February 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Giorgio Buonanno

Department of Engineering, University of Naples “Parthenope”, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Guest Editor
Prof. Otto Hänninen

National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +358 29 524 6471
Fax: +358 29 524 6499
Interests: exposure; air pollution; public health; environmental health; risk assessment; environmental burden of disease

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are organizing a Special Issue on the impact of the air quality on public health in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The venue is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that publishes articles and communications in the interdisciplinary area of environmental health sciences and public health. For detailed information on the journal, we refer you to https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph/special_issues/air_quality_health

Ambient and indoor air may affect public health through environmental exposure. In The Right to Healthy Indoor Air (World Health Organization, 2000), a healthy indoor environment is recognized as a fundamental human right. In fact, people spend a lot of time indoors, e.g., in offices, laboratories, buildings, etc. Consequently, indoor pollution can cause side effects, ranging from discomfort to severe consequences on health. Simultaneously, research on outdoor air quality, both in cities and rural areas, and in both developing and developed countries, can offer a critical guide for policy efforts and planning for public health.

This Special Issue is open to articles on the air quality and health, with special focus on particulate matter, including ultrafine particles that have special physical and chemical properties, even if the toxicological evidence has not yet been fully established in human studies. Therefore, this Special Issue welcomes papers on exposure analysis, epidemiology, toxicology and risk assessment, focusing specifically on the processes affecting hazards of ultrafine particles for human health. The listed keywords suggest just a few of the many possibilities.

Prof. Dr. Giorgio Buonanno
Dr. Otto Hänninen
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. 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 1800 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

  • Built environment

  • Air quality

  • Urban areas

  • Monitoring

  • Ultrafine particles

  • Environmental exposure

  • Emissions

  • Public health

  • Health geography

  • Quality of life

  • Physical activity

  • Walkability

Published Papers (18 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Air Quality and Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(11), 2399; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15112399
Received: 22 October 2018 / Accepted: 26 October 2018 / Published: 29 October 2018
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Abstract
In the Editorial “Air pollution and health” that appeared in Environ. [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality and Health)

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review, Other

Open AccessArticle
Effects of Ventilation Improvement on Measured and Perceived Indoor Air Quality in a School Building with a Hybrid Ventilation System
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(7), 1414; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15071414
Received: 18 June 2018 / Accepted: 3 July 2018 / Published: 5 July 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5208 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Ventilation system design and operation may significantly affect indoor air quality (IAQ). The aims of this case study were to investigate the functionality of a supply air fan-assisted hybrid ventilation system in a newly built school building with reported IAQ problems and to [...] Read more.
Ventilation system design and operation may significantly affect indoor air quality (IAQ). The aims of this case study were to investigate the functionality of a supply air fan-assisted hybrid ventilation system in a newly built school building with reported IAQ problems and to determine the effects of ventilation improvement on measured and perceived IAQ. The ventilation system function was researched simultaneously with IAQ measurements, with an analysis of total volatile organic compounds (TVOC), single volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and indoor mycobiota, and with questionnaires about perceived IAQ. At the baseline, an operational error of the ventilation system was found, which prevented the air from coming into the classrooms, except for short periods of high carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations. After the ventilation operation was improved, a significant change in indoor mycobiota was found; the dominant, opportunistic human pathogenic species Trichoderma citrinoviride found in settled dust in the classroom before the improvement was no longer detected. In addition, the concentrations of CO2, TVOC, and some single VOCs, especially toluene and decamethylcyclopentasiloxane, decreased. The analysis of the questionnaire results indicated that the perceptions of unpleasant odors and stuffy air decreased, although a statistically significant improvement in perceived IAQ was not observed. The results provided evidence that the properly controlled hybrid ventilation system operating in mechanical supply mode provided adequate ventilation and was effective in decreasing the concentrations of some indoor-generated pollutants. With simple ventilation adjustments, microbiological exposure from building structures might be prevented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality and Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Residential Ambient Traffic in Relation to Childhood Pneumonia among Urban Children in Shandong, China: A Cross-Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(6), 1076; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061076
Received: 9 April 2018 / Revised: 21 May 2018 / Accepted: 22 May 2018 / Published: 25 May 2018
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Abstract
Pneumonia is a leading cause of childhood death. Few studies have investigated associations between residential ambient environmental exposures and pneumonia. In January–April 2015, we conducted a cross-sectional study in Shandong Province (China) and collected 9597 (response rate: 78.7%) parent-reported questionnaires for 3–6-year-old children [...] Read more.
Pneumonia is a leading cause of childhood death. Few studies have investigated associations between residential ambient environmental exposures and pneumonia. In January–April 2015, we conducted a cross-sectional study in Shandong Province (China) and collected 9597 (response rate: 78.7%) parent-reported questionnaires for 3–6-year-old children from 69 urban kindergartens. We then selected 5640 children who had never changed residence since birth and examined associations between residential ambient traffic-related facilities and childhood pneumonia considering residential characteristics. Prevalence of doctor-diagnosed pneumonia during lifetime-ever was 25.9%. In the multivariate logistic regression analyses, residence close to a main traffic road (adjusted odds ratio, 95% confidence interval: 1.23, 1.08–1.40) and automobile 4S shop (1.76, 1.16–2.67) within 200 m, residence close to a filling station within 100 m (1.71, 1.10–2.65; reference: >200 m), as well as having a ground car park in the residential community (1.24, 1.08–1.42) were significantly associated with childhood pneumonia. The cumulative numbers of these traffic-related facilities had a positive dose-response relationship with the increased odds of childhood pneumonia. These associations and dose-response relationships were stronger among boys and among children with worse bedroom ventilation status during the night. Associations of residence close to the main traffic road and ground car parks in the residential community with childhood pneumonia were stronger among children living in the 1st–3rd floors than those living on higher floors. Similar results were found in the two-level (kindergarten-child) logistic regression analyses. Our findings indicate that living near traffic-related facilities is likely a risk factor for childhood pneumonia among urban children. The child’s sex, bedroom floor level, and bedroom ventilation could modify associations of ambient traffic-related facilities with childhood pneumonia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality and Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Health Impacts of Ambient Air Pollution in Finland
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 736; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040736
Received: 15 March 2018 / Revised: 4 April 2018 / Accepted: 8 April 2018 / Published: 12 April 2018
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (2867 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Air pollution has been estimated to be one of the leading environmental health risks in Finland. National health impact estimates existing to date have focused on particles (PM) and ozone (O3). In this work, we quantify the impacts of particles, ozone, [...] Read more.
Air pollution has been estimated to be one of the leading environmental health risks in Finland. National health impact estimates existing to date have focused on particles (PM) and ozone (O3). In this work, we quantify the impacts of particles, ozone, and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in 2015, and analyze the related uncertainties. The exposures were estimated with a high spatial resolution chemical transport model, and adjusted to observed concentrations. We calculated the health impacts according to Word Health Organization (WHO) working group recommendations. According to our results, ambient air pollution caused a burden of 34,800 disability-adjusted life years (DALY). Fine particles were the main contributor (74%) to the disease burden, which is in line with the earlier studies. The attributable burden was dominated by mortality (32,900 years of life lost (YLL); 95%). Impacts differed between population age groups. The burden was clearly higher in the adult population over 30 years (98%), due to the dominant role of mortality impacts. Uncertainties due to the concentration–response functions were larger than those related to exposures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality and Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization of Fine Particulate Matter and Associated Health Burden in Nanjing
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 602; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040602
Received: 7 February 2018 / Revised: 15 March 2018 / Accepted: 15 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (21720 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Particulate matter (PM) air pollution has become a serious environmental problem in Nanjing and poses great health risks to local residents. In this study, characteristics of particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) over Nanjing were analyzed [...] Read more.
Particulate matter (PM) air pollution has become a serious environmental problem in Nanjing and poses great health risks to local residents. In this study, characteristics of particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) over Nanjing were analyzed using hourly and daily averaged PM2.5 concentrations and meteorological parameters collected from nine national monitoring sites during the period of March 2014 to February 2017. Then, the integrated exposure-response (IER) model was applied to assess premature mortality, years of life lost (YLL) attributable to PM2.5, and mortality benefits due to PM2.5 reductions. The concentrations of PM2.5 varied among hours, seasons and years, which can be explained by differences in emission sources, secondary formations and meteorological conditions. The decreased ratio of PM2.5 to CO suggested that secondary contributions decreased while the relative contributions of vehicle exhaust increased from increased CO data. According to the values of attributable fractions (AF), stroke was the major cause of death, followed by ischemic heart disease (IHD), lung cancer (LC) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The estimated total deaths in Nanjing due to PM2.5 were 12,055 and 10,771, leading to 98,802 and 87,647 years of life lost in 2014 and 2015, respectively. The elderly and males had higher health risks than youngsters and females. When the PM2.5 concentrations meet the World Health Organization (WHO) Air Quality Guidelines (AQG) of 10 μg/m3, 84% of the premature deaths would be avoided, indicating that the Nanjing government needs to adopt more stringent measure to reduce PM pollution and enhance the health benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality and Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Solid Particle Number Emission Factors of Euro VI Heavy-Duty Vehicles on the Road and in the Laboratory
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 304; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15020304
Received: 22 December 2017 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 5 February 2018 / Published: 9 February 2018
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (4970 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Particulate matter (PM), and in particular ultrafine particles, have a negative impact on human health. The contribution of vehicle PM emissions to air pollution is typically quantified with emission inventories, which need vehicle emission factors as input. Heavy-duty vehicles, although they represent a [...] Read more.
Particulate matter (PM), and in particular ultrafine particles, have a negative impact on human health. The contribution of vehicle PM emissions to air pollution is typically quantified with emission inventories, which need vehicle emission factors as input. Heavy-duty vehicles, although they represent a small percentage of the vehicle population in nearly every major country, contribute the majority of the on-road PM emissions. However, the published data of modern heavy-duty vehicle emissions are scarce, and for the newest Euro VI technologies, almost non-existent. The main objective of this paper is to present Solid Particle Number (SPN) emission factors from Euro VI heavy-duty vehicles using diesel, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), or Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). Urban, rural and motorway (highway) emissions were determined on the road at various European cities using SPN Portable Emission Measurement Systems (PEMS). Additional tests on a heavy-duty chassis dynamometer showed that the solid sub-23 nm fraction, which is not covered at the moment in the European regulation, is high, especially for CNG engines. The significant contribution of regeneration events and the effect of ambient temperature and engine cold-start on particle emissions were also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality and Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Residents’ Self-Reported Health Effects and Annoyance in Relation to Air Pollution Exposure in an Industrial Area in Eastern-Estonia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 252; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15020252
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 22 January 2018 / Accepted: 31 January 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2598 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Eastern Estonia has large oil shale mines and industrial facilities mainly focused on electricity generation from oil shale and shale oil extraction, which produce high air pollution emissions. The “Study of the health impact of the oil shale sector—SOHOS” was aimed at identifying [...] Read more.
Eastern Estonia has large oil shale mines and industrial facilities mainly focused on electricity generation from oil shale and shale oil extraction, which produce high air pollution emissions. The “Study of the health impact of the oil shale sector—SOHOS” was aimed at identifying the impacts on residents’ health and annoyance due to the industrial processing. First, a population-wide survey about health effects and annoyance was carried out. Second, the total and oil shale sectors’ emitted concentrations of benzene, phenol, and PM2.5 were modelled. Third, the differences between groups were tested and relationships between health effects and environmental pollution studied using multiple regression analysis. Compared to the control groups from non-industrial areas in Tartu or Lääne-Viru, residents of Ida-Viru more frequently (p < 0.05) reported wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, asthma attacks, a long-term cough, hypertension, heart diseases, myocardial infarction, stroke, and diabetes. All health effects except asthma were reported more frequently among non-Estonians. People living in regions with higher levels of PM2.5, had significantly higher odds (p < 0.05) of experiencing chest tightness (OR = 1.13, 95% CI 1.02–1.26), shortness of breath (1.16, 1.03–1.31) or an asthma attack (1.22, 1.04–1.42) during the previous year. People living in regions with higher levels of benzene had higher odds of experiencing myocardial infarction (1.98, 1.11–3.53) and with higher levels of phenol chest tightness (1.44, 1.03–2.00), long-term cough (1.48, 1.06–2.07) and myocardial infarction (2.17, 1.23–3.83). The prevalence of adverse health effects was also higher among those who had been working in the oil shale sector. Next to direct health effects, up to a quarter of the residents of Ida-Viru County were highly annoyed about air pollution. Perceived health risk from air pollution increased the odds of being annoyed. Annoyed people in Ida-Viru had significantly higher odds of experiencing respiratory symptoms during the last 12 months, e.g., wheezing (2.30, 1.31–4.04), chest tightness (2.88, 1.91–4.33 or attack of coughing (1.99, 1.34–2.95). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality and Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Ventilation Positive Pressure Intervention Effect on Indoor Air Quality in a School Building with Moisture Problems
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15020230
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 27 January 2018 / Published: 30 January 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (5325 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This case study investigates the effects of ventilation intervention on measured and perceived indoor air quality (IAQ) in a repaired school where occupants reported IAQ problems. Occupants’ symptoms were suspected to be related to the impurities leaked indoors through the building envelope. The [...] Read more.
This case study investigates the effects of ventilation intervention on measured and perceived indoor air quality (IAQ) in a repaired school where occupants reported IAQ problems. Occupants’ symptoms were suspected to be related to the impurities leaked indoors through the building envelope. The study’s aim was to determine whether a positive pressure of 5–7 Pa prevents the infiltration of harmful chemical and microbiological agents from structures, thus decreasing symptoms and discomfort. Ventilation intervention was conducted in a building section comprising 12 classrooms and was completed with IAQ measurements and occupants’ questionnaires. After intervention, the concentration of total volatile organic compounds (TVOC) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) decreased, and occupants’ negative perceptions became more moderate compared to those for other parts of the building. The indoor mycobiota differed in species composition from the outdoor mycobiota, and changed remarkably with the intervention, indicating that some species may have emanated from an indoor source before the intervention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality and Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Real-Time Measurements and Characterization of Airborne Particulate Matter from a Primary Silicon Carbide Production Plant
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1611; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121611
Received: 13 November 2017 / Revised: 7 December 2017 / Accepted: 15 December 2017 / Published: 20 December 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4678 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Airborne particulate matter in the silicon carbide (SiC) industry is a known health hazard. The aims of this study were to elucidate whether the particulate matter generated inside the Acheson furnace during active operation is representative of the overall particulate matter in the [...] Read more.
Airborne particulate matter in the silicon carbide (SiC) industry is a known health hazard. The aims of this study were to elucidate whether the particulate matter generated inside the Acheson furnace during active operation is representative of the overall particulate matter in the furnace hall, and whether the Acheson furnaces are the main sources of ultrafine particles (UFP) in primary SiC production. The number concentration of ultrafine particles was evaluated using an Electrical Low Pressure Impactor (ELPITM, Dekati Ltd., Tampere, Finland), a Fast Mobility Particle Sizer (FMPSTM, TSI, Shoreview, MN, USA) and a Condensation Particle Counter (CPC, TSI, Shoreview, MN, USA). The results are discussed in terms of particle number concentration, particle size distribution and are also characterized by means of electron microscopy (TEM/SEM). Two locations were investigated; the industrial Acheson process furnace hall and a pilot furnace hall; both of which represent an active operating furnace. The geometric mean of the particle number concentration in the Acheson process furnace hall was 7.7 × 104 particles/cm3 for the UFP fraction and 1.0 × 105 particles/cm3 for the submicrometre fraction. Particulate matter collected at the two sites was analysed by electron microscopy. The PM from the Acheson process furnace hall is dominated by carbonaceous particles while the samples collected near the pilot furnace are primarily rich in silicon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality and Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Air Pollution on Menstrual Cycle Length—A Prognostic Factor of Women’s Reproductive Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 816; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14070816
Received: 6 June 2017 / Revised: 2 July 2017 / Accepted: 13 July 2017 / Published: 20 July 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (517 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Air pollution can influence women’s reproductive health, specifically menstrual cycle characteristics, oocyte quality, and risk of miscarriage. The aim of the study was to assess whether air pollution can affect the length of the overall menstrual cycle and the length of its phases [...] Read more.
Air pollution can influence women’s reproductive health, specifically menstrual cycle characteristics, oocyte quality, and risk of miscarriage. The aim of the study was to assess whether air pollution can affect the length of the overall menstrual cycle and the length of its phases (follicular and luteal). Municipal ecological monitoring data was used to assess the air pollution exposure during the monitored menstrual cycle of each of 133 woman of reproductive age. Principal component analyses were used to group pollutants (PM10, SO2, CO, and NOx) to represent a source-related mixture. PM10 and SO2 assessed separately negatively affected the length of the luteal phase after standardization (b = −0.02; p = 0.03; b = −0.06; p = 0.02, respectively). Representing a fossil fuel combustion emission, they were also associated with luteal phase shortening (b = −0.32; p = 0.02). These pollutants did not affect the follicular phase length and overall cycle length, neither in single- nor in multi-pollutant models. CO and NOx assessed either separately or together as a traffic emission were not associated with overall cycle length or the length of cycle phases. Luteal phase shortening, a possible manifestation of luteal phase deficiency, can result from fossil fuel combustion. This suggests that air pollution may contribute to fertility problems in women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality and Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Low-Cost Mitigation Measures Implemented to Improve Air Quality in Nursery and Primary Schools
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(6), 585; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14060585
Received: 13 April 2017 / Revised: 20 May 2017 / Accepted: 26 May 2017 / Published: 31 May 2017
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Abstract
Indoor air pollution mitigation measures are highly important due to the associated health impacts, especially on children, a risk group that spends significant time indoors. Thus, the main goal of the work here reported was the evaluation of mitigation measures implemented in nursery [...] Read more.
Indoor air pollution mitigation measures are highly important due to the associated health impacts, especially on children, a risk group that spends significant time indoors. Thus, the main goal of the work here reported was the evaluation of mitigation measures implemented in nursery and primary schools to improve air quality. Continuous measurements of CO2, CO, NO2, O3, CH2O, total volatile organic compounds (VOC), PM1, PM2.5, PM10, Total Suspended Particles (TSP) and radon, as well as temperature and relative humidity were performed in two campaigns, before and after the implementation of low-cost mitigation measures. Evaluation of those mitigation measures was performed through the comparison of the concentrations measured in both campaigns. Exceedances to the values set by the national legislation and World Health Organization (WHO) were found for PM2.5, PM10, CO2 and CH2O during both indoor air quality campaigns. Temperature and relative humidity values were also above the ranges recommended by American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). In general, pollutant concentrations measured after the implementation of low-cost mitigation measures were significantly lower, mainly for CO2. However, mitigation measures were not always sufficient to decrease the pollutants’ concentrations till values considered safe to protect human health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality and Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Ultrafine Particle Distribution and Chemical Composition Assessment during Military Operative Trainings
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(6), 579; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14060579
Received: 26 April 2017 / Revised: 26 May 2017 / Accepted: 27 May 2017 / Published: 30 May 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (4031 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
(1) Background: The assessment of airborne particulate matter (PM) and ultrafine particles (UFPs) in battlefield scenarios is a topic of particular concern; (2) Methods: Size distribution, concentration, and chemical composition of UFPs during operative military training activities (target drone launches, ammunition blasting, and [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The assessment of airborne particulate matter (PM) and ultrafine particles (UFPs) in battlefield scenarios is a topic of particular concern; (2) Methods: Size distribution, concentration, and chemical composition of UFPs during operative military training activities (target drone launches, ammunition blasting, and inert bomb impact) were investigated using an electric low-pressure impactor (ELPI+) and a scanning electron microscope (SEM), equipped with energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS); (3) Results: The median of UFPs, measured for all sampling periods and at variable distance from sources, was between 1.02 × 103 and 3.75 × 103 particles/cm3 for drone launches, between 3.32 × 103 and 15.4 × 103 particles/cm3 for the ammunition blasting and from 7.9 × 103 to 1.3 × 104 particles/cm3 for inert launches. Maximum peak concentrations, during emitting sources starting, were 75.5 × 106 and 17.9 × 106 particles/cm3, respectively. Particles from the drone launches were predominantly composed of silicon (Si), iron (Fe) and calcium (Ca), and those from the blasting campaigns by magnesium (Mg), sulphur (S), aluminum (Al), iron (Fe), barium (Ba) and silicon (Si); (4) Conclusions: The investigated sources produced UFPs with median values lower than other anthropogenic sources, and with a similar chemical composition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality and Health)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
A Comparison of the Health Effects of Ambient Particulate Matter Air Pollution from Five Emission Sources
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(6), 1206; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061206
Received: 24 March 2018 / Revised: 27 May 2018 / Accepted: 5 June 2018 / Published: 8 June 2018
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (890 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article briefly reviews evidence of health effects associated with exposure to particulate matter (PM) air pollution from five common outdoor emission sources: traffic, coal-fired power stations, diesel exhaust, domestic wood combustion heaters, and crustal dust. The principal purpose of this review is [...] Read more.
This article briefly reviews evidence of health effects associated with exposure to particulate matter (PM) air pollution from five common outdoor emission sources: traffic, coal-fired power stations, diesel exhaust, domestic wood combustion heaters, and crustal dust. The principal purpose of this review is to compare the evidence of health effects associated with these different sources with a view to answering the question: Is exposure to PM from some emission sources associated with worse health outcomes than exposure to PM from other sources? Answering this question will help inform development of air pollution regulations and environmental policy that maximises health benefits. Understanding the health effects of exposure to components of PM and source-specific PM are active fields of investigation. However, the different methods that have been used in epidemiological studies, along with the differences in populations, emission sources, and ambient air pollution mixtures between studies, make the comparison of results between studies problematic. While there is some evidence that PM from traffic and coal-fired power station emissions may elicit greater health effects compared to PM from other sources, overall the evidence to date does not indicate a clear ‘hierarchy’ of harmfulness for PM from different emission sources. Further investigations of the health effects of source-specific PM with more advanced approaches to exposure modeling, measurement, and statistics, are required before changing the current public health protection approach of minimising exposure to total PM mass. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality and Health)
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Open AccessReview
Spatial and Temporal Dynamics in Air Pollution Exposure Assessment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(3), 558; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15030558
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 5 March 2018 / Accepted: 13 March 2018 / Published: 20 March 2018
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Abstract
Analyzing individual exposure in urban areas offers several challenges where both the individual’s activities and air pollution levels demonstrate a large degree of spatial and temporal dynamics. This review article discusses the concepts, key elements, current developments in assessing personal exposure to urban [...] Read more.
Analyzing individual exposure in urban areas offers several challenges where both the individual’s activities and air pollution levels demonstrate a large degree of spatial and temporal dynamics. This review article discusses the concepts, key elements, current developments in assessing personal exposure to urban air pollution (seventy-two studies reviewed) and respective advantages and disadvantages. A new conceptual structure to organize personal exposure assessment methods is proposed according to two classification criteria: (i) spatial-temporal variations of individuals’ activities (point-fixed or trajectory based) and (ii) characterization of air quality (variable or uniform). This review suggests that the spatial and temporal variability of urban air pollution levels in combination with indoor exposures and individual’s time-activity patterns are key elements of personal exposure assessment. In the literature review, the majority of revised studies (44 studies) indicate that the trajectory based with variable air quality approach provides a promising framework for tackling the important question of inter- and intra-variability of individual exposure. However, future quantitative comparison between the different approaches should be performed, and the selection of the most appropriate approach for exposure quantification should take into account the purpose of the health study. This review provides a structured basis for the intercomparing of different methodologies and to make their advantages and limitations more transparent in addressing specific research objectives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality and Health)
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Open AccessReview
A Narrative Review on the Human Health Effects of Ambient Air Pollution in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Urgent Need for Health Effects Studies
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(3), 427; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15030427
Received: 29 December 2017 / Revised: 21 February 2018 / Accepted: 27 February 2018 / Published: 1 March 2018
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1444 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
An important aspect of the new sustainable development goals (SDGs) is a greater emphasis on reducing the health impacts from ambient air pollution in developing countries. Meanwhile, the burden of human disease attributable to ambient air pollution in sub-Saharan Africa is growing, yet [...] Read more.
An important aspect of the new sustainable development goals (SDGs) is a greater emphasis on reducing the health impacts from ambient air pollution in developing countries. Meanwhile, the burden of human disease attributable to ambient air pollution in sub-Saharan Africa is growing, yet estimates of its impact on the region are possibly underestimated due to a lack of air quality monitoring, a paucity of air pollution epidemiological studies, and important population vulnerabilities in the region. The lack of ambient air pollution epidemiologic data in sub-Saharan Africa is also an important global health disparity. Thousands of air pollution health effects studies have been conducted in Europe and North America, rather than in urban areas that have some of the highest measured air pollution levels in world, including urban areas in sub-Saharan Africa. In this paper, we provide a systematic and narrative review of the literature on ambient air pollution epidemiological studies that have been conducted in the region to date. Our review of the literature focuses on epidemiologic studies that measure air pollutants and relate air pollution measurements with various health outcomes. We highlight the gaps in ambient air pollution epidemiological studies conducted in different sub-regions of sub-Saharan Africa and provide methodological recommendations for future environmental epidemiology studies addressing ambient air pollution in the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality and Health)
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Open AccessReview
Air Pollution and Otitis Media in Children: A Systematic Review of Literature
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 257; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15020257
Received: 29 December 2017 / Revised: 19 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 3 February 2018
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Abstract
Young children are particularly vulnerable to otitis media (OM) which globally affects over 80% of children below the age of 3 years. Although there is convincing evidence for an association between environmental tobacco smoke exposure and OM in children, the relationship with ambient [...] Read more.
Young children are particularly vulnerable to otitis media (OM) which globally affects over 80% of children below the age of 3 years. Although there is convincing evidence for an association between environmental tobacco smoke exposure and OM in children, the relationship with ambient air pollution is not clear. We aimed to systematically review the literature on the relationship between ambient air pollution exposure and OM in children. A systematic search was performed in PubMed and EMBASE databases. Of 934 references identified, 24 articles were included. There is an increasing body of evidence supporting an association between higher ambient air pollution exposure and a higher risk of OM in children. While NO2 showed the most consistent association with OM, other specific pollutants showed inconsistent associations. Studies were mainly conducted in high/middle income countries with limited evidence from low-income countries. Although there was a general consensus that higher air pollution exposure is associated with a greater prevalence of OM, the evidence for associations with specific pollutants is inconsistent. More well-designed studies on associations between specific air pollutants as risk factors for OM are warranted, especially in low income countries with high air pollution levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality and Health)
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Open AccessReview
Do Carpets Impair Indoor Air Quality and Cause Adverse Health Outcomes: A Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15020184
Received: 24 November 2017 / Revised: 21 December 2017 / Accepted: 19 January 2018 / Published: 23 January 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (297 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Several earlier studies have shown the presence of more dust and allergens in carpets compared with non-carpeted floors. At the same time, adverse effects of carpeted floors on perceived indoor air quality as well as worsening of symptoms in individuals with asthma and [...] Read more.
Several earlier studies have shown the presence of more dust and allergens in carpets compared with non-carpeted floors. At the same time, adverse effects of carpeted floors on perceived indoor air quality as well as worsening of symptoms in individuals with asthma and allergies were reported. Avoiding extensive carpet use in offices, schools, kindergartens and bedrooms has therefore been recommended by several health authorities. More recently, carpet producers have argued that former assessments were obsolete and that modern rugs are unproblematic, even for those with asthma and allergies. To investigate whether the recommendation to be cautious with the use of carpets is still valid, or whether there are new data supporting that carpet flooring do not present a problem for indoor air quality and health, we have reviewed the literature on this matter. We have not found updated peer reviewed evidence that carpeted floor is unproblematic for the indoor environment. On the contrary, also more recent data support that carpets may act as a repository for pollutants which may become resuspended upon activity in the carpeted area. Also, the use of carpets is still linked to perception of reduced indoor air quality as well as adverse health effects as previously reported. To our knowledge, there are no publications that report on deposition of pollutants and adverse health outcomes associated with modern rugs. However, due to the three-dimensional structure of carpets, any carpet will to some extent act like a sink. Thus, continued caution should still be exercised when considering the use of wall-to-wall carpeted floors in schools, kindergartens and offices, as well as in children’s bedrooms unless special needs indicate that carpets are preferable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality and Health)

Other

Open AccessConcept Paper
On the Development of Health-Based Ventilation Guidelines: Principles and Framework
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(7), 1360; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15071360
Received: 7 June 2018 / Revised: 25 June 2018 / Accepted: 25 June 2018 / Published: 28 June 2018
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Abstract
This paper summarizes the results of HealthVent project. It had an aim to develop health-based ventilation guidelines and through this process contribute to advance indoor air quality (IAQ) policies and guidelines. A framework that allows determining ventilation requirements in public and residential buildings [...] Read more.
This paper summarizes the results of HealthVent project. It had an aim to develop health-based ventilation guidelines and through this process contribute to advance indoor air quality (IAQ) policies and guidelines. A framework that allows determining ventilation requirements in public and residential buildings based on the health requirements is proposed. The framework is based on three principles: 1. Criteria for permissible concentrations of specific air pollutants set by health authorities have to be respected; 2. Ventilation must be preceded by source control strategies that have been duly adopted to improve IAQ; 3. Base ventilation must always be secured to remove occupant emissions (bio-effluents). The air quality guidelines defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) outside air are used as the reference for determining permissible levels of the indoor air pollutants based on the principle that there is only one air. It is proposed that base ventilation should be set at 4 L/s per person; higher rates are to be used only if WHO guidelines are not followed. Implementation of the framework requires technical guidelines, directives and other legislation. Studies are also needed to examine the effectiveness of the approach and to validate its use. It is estimated that implementing the framework would bring considerable reduction in the burden of disease associated with inadequate IAQ. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality and Health)
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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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