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Exposure to particulate matter and the related health impacts in major Estonian cities
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Particulate matter (PM) is one of the most studied and problematic pollutants due to its toxicity and relati­vely high concentrations. This thesis aims to clarify the main sources and exposures of PM in Tallinn and Tartu, study the associations with health effects, and estimate the extent of those effects with health impact assessment (HIA).

It appeared that the main sources of particulate air pollution in Tallinn (the capital of Estonia) and Tartu (the second largest city of Estonia) are local heating and traffic, inclu­ding road dust. In addition to local emissions, particulate levels are affected by transboundary pollution. If the transboundary air masses originated from the Eastern European areas, the concentration as well as the oxidative capacity of fine particles was significantly higher in urban background air in Tartu compared to air masses coming from Scandinavian areas (Paper I).

During the last 15 years, traffic increase has been very fast in Tartu. However, due to the improvement in vehicle technology during this period, there has been only a slight increase in concentration of exhaust particles (Paper II). Nevertheless, a greater increase in road dust emissions was detected.

A statistically significant relationship between long-term exposure to those traffic induced par­tic­les and cardiac disease in the RHINE (Respiratory Health in Northern Europe) Tartu cohort was shown (Paper III). However, no significant associations with respira­tory health were found.

The HIA in Tallinn demonstrated 296 (95% CI = 76–528) premature deaths annually, because of PM (Paper IV). The average decrease in life expectancy was predicted to be 0.64 (95% CI 0.17–1.10) years. However, among risk groups it can be higher. In addi­tion, several cardiovascular hospitalizations are related. The costs to society be­cause of health effects reach up to €150 million annually (95% CI = 40–260) from pre­mature deaths and hospitali­zation constitute an additional €0.3 million (95% CI = 0.2–0.4).

The special HIA scenario, when more pollution fuel peat will be used in boiler houses was analysed as well (Paper V). It indicated that peat bur­ning would result in up to 55.5 YLL per year within the population of Tartu. However, the health effects of pollution from current traffic, local heating, and industry are at least 28 times bigger.

In conclusion, exposure to PM cause considerable health effects in the form of cardio­pulmo­nary diseases in main Estonian cities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University , 2009. , 68 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1314
Keyword [en]
Particulate matter, traffic, health impact assessment, cardiopulmonary
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Research subject
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-29769ISBN: 978-91-7264-905-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-29769DiVA: diva2:277993
Public defence
2009-12-15, Sal B, 1D NUS 9tr, Umeå University, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2009-11-26 Created: 2009-11-23 Last updated: 2016-09-01Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Elemental composition and oxidative properties of PM2.5 in Estonia in relation to origin of air masses: results from the ECRHS II in Tartu
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Elemental composition and oxidative properties of PM2.5 in Estonia in relation to origin of air masses: results from the ECRHS II in Tartu
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2010 (English)In: Science of the Total Environment, ISSN 0048-9697, E-ISSN 1879-1026, Vol. 408, no 7, 1515-1522 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) was sampled at an urban background site in Tartu, Estonia over one-year period during the ECRHS II study. The elemental composition of 71 PM2.5 samples was analyzed for different chemical elements using energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (ED-XRF). The oxidative activity of 36 samples was assessed by measuring their ability to generate hydroxyl radicals in the presence of hydrogen peroxide.

The origin of air masses was determined by computing 96-hour back trajectories of air masses with the HYSPLIT Model. The trajectories of air masses were divided into four sectors according to geographical patterns: “Russia,” “Eastern Europe,” “Western Europe,” and “Scandinavia.”

During the study period, approximately 30% of air masses originated from “Scandinavia.”  The other three sectors had slightly lower values (between 18 and 22%). In spring, summer, and winter, higher total PM levels originated from air masses from continental areas, namely “Russia” and “Eastern Europe” (18.51±7.33 and 19.96±9.23 μgm-3, respectively). In autumn, the PM levels were highest in “Western Europe”. High levels of Fe, Ti, and AlCaSi (Al, Ca, Si) were also detected in air masses from the Eurasian continent. The oxidative properties were correlated to the origin of air masses. The ∙OH values were approximately 1.5 times higher when air masses originated from the direction of “Eastern Europe” or “Russia.”

The origin of measured particles was evaluated using principal compo­nent factor analysis. When comparing the PM2.5 elemental composition with seasonal variation, factor scores, and other studies, the factors represent: (1) combustion of biomass; (2) crustal dust; (3) traffic; and (4) power plants and industrial processes associated with oil burning.

The total PM2.5 is driven mainly by biomass and industrial combustion (63%) and other unidentified sources (23%). Other sources of PM, such as crustal dust and traffic, contribute a total of 13%.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2010
Keyword
Particulate matter, composition, trajectories, air masses, oxidative properties, health
National Category
Environmental Sciences Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-29768 (URN)10.1016/j.scitotenv.2009.12.006 (DOI)000275970800005 ()
External cooperation:
Available from: 2009-11-23 Created: 2009-11-23 Last updated: 2016-09-01Bibliographically approved
2. Evolution of traffic flows and traffic induced air pollution due to structural changes and development during 1993-2006 in Tartu (Estonia)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evolution of traffic flows and traffic induced air pollution due to structural changes and development during 1993-2006 in Tartu (Estonia)
2008 (English)In: Baltic journal of road and bridge engineering, ISSN 1822-427X, Vol. 3, no 4, 206-212 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Traffic is the main factor affecting air quality in most cities. After the Estonian re-independence in 1991, the increase of motorization has been fast and car usage has intensified. During the same period, the average age of cars has decreased and thanks to improvements in engine technology, the emissions per km have been reduced. The objective was to see how these factors have reflected in air quality. This paper also aim to present an analytical approach to estimate the air pollution levels in recent years, when air quality monitoring has not been conducted, and available traffic data are limited. Based on traffic counts in 25 points across the city the amounts of traffic were modelled for 680 street segments with CUBE software. As air quality is monitored irregularly in Tartu, dispersion modelling was used to estimate pollution levels. Annual concentrations of exhaust particles (PMexhaust), particulate matter (PM10) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in 1993, 2000 and 2006 were calculated with AEROPOL software. The traffic increase in the city centre of Tartu was especially rapid in the 1990s. In recent years, it has slowed due to congestion. Overall, traffic levels have increased more than 3 times since 1993. In residential areas, the increase is still rapid – up to 6 times from 1993 to 2006. However, the changes in air quality are less dramatic. Increases from 1993 to 2000 were followed by stable or slightly increasing pollution levels in recent years, especially in case of PMexhaust. The study showed that 2 factors, namely, increase of traffic and improvement of vehicles, have been compensating each other in the dynamics of air pollution.

Keyword
traffic, flow, modelling, air pollution, emission coefficient, exposure, health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-20774 (URN)
Available from: 2009-03-25 Created: 2009-03-25 Last updated: 2015-04-02Bibliographically approved
3. Chronic traffic-induced PM exposure and self-reported respiratory and cardiovascular health in the RHINE Tartu cohort
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Chronic traffic-induced PM exposure and self-reported respiratory and cardiovascular health in the RHINE Tartu cohort
2009 (English)In: International journal of environmental research and public health, ISSN 1660-4601, Vol. 6, no 11, 68 p.2740-2751 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The relationship between exposure to traffic induced particles and respiratory health, and cardiac diseases was studied in the RHINE Tartu cohort. A postal questionnaire with commonly used questions regarding respiratory symptoms, cardiac disease, lifestyle as smoking habits, indoor environment, occupation, early life exposure and sleep disorders was sent to 2460 adults. The annual concentrations of local traffic induced particles were modelled with an atmospheric dispersion model with traffic flow data, and obtained PMexhaust concentrations in 40x40 m grids were linked with home addresses with GIS. The relationship between the level of exhaust particles outside home and self-reported health problems were analyzed using a multiple logistic regression model. We found a significant relation between fine exhaust particles and cardiac disease, OR = 1.64 (95% CI 1.12-2.43) for increase in PMexhaust corresponding to the fifth to the 95th percentile range. The associations also were positive but non-significant for hypertension OR = 1.42 (95% CI 0.94-2.13), shortness of breath OR = 1.27 (95% CI 0.84-1.94) and other respiratory symptoms.

Publisher
68 p.
Keyword
Air pollution, particulate matter, traffic, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Research subject
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-29761 (URN)10.3390/ijerph6112740 (DOI)978-91-7264-905-7 (ISBN)
Available from: 2009-11-23 Created: 2009-11-23 Last updated: 2015-04-02Bibliographically approved
4. Health impact assessment of particulate pollution in Tallinn using fine spatial resolution and modeling techniques
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Health impact assessment of particulate pollution in Tallinn using fine spatial resolution and modeling techniques
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2009 (English)In: Environmental health, ISSN 1476-069X, Vol. 8, 7- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Health impact assessments (HIA) use information on exposure, baseline mortality/morbidity and exposure-response functions from epidemiological studies in order to quantify the health impacts of existing situations and/or alternative scenarios. The aim of this study was to improve HIA methods for air pollution studies in situations where exposures can be estimated using GIS with high spatial resolution and dispersion modeling approaches.

METHODS: Tallinn was divided into 84 sections according to neighborhoods, with a total population of approx. 390,000 persons. Actual baseline rates for total mortality and hospitalization with cardiovascular and respiratory diagnosis were identified. The exposure to fine particles (PM2.5) from local emissions was defined as the modeled annual levels. The model validation and morbidity assessment were based on 2006 PM10 or PM2.5 levels at 3 monitoring stations. The exposure-response coefficients used were for total mortality 6.2% (95% CI 1.6-11%) per 10 microg/m3 increase of annual mean PM2.5 concentration and for the assessment of respiratory and cardiovascular hospitalizations 1.14% (95% CI 0.62-1.67%) and 0.73% (95% CI 0.47-0.93%) per 10 microg/m3 increase of PM10. The direct costs related to morbidity were calculated according to hospital treatment expenses in 2005 and the cost of premature deaths using the concept of Value of Life Year (VOLY).

RESULTS: The annual population-weighted-modeled exposure to locally emitted PM2.5 in Tallinn was 11.6 microg/m3. Our analysis showed that it corresponds to 296 (95% CI 76528) premature deaths resulting in 3859 (95% CI 10236636) Years of Life Lost (YLL) per year. The average decrease in life-expectancy at birth per resident of Tallinn was estimated to be 0.64 (95% CI 0.17-1.10) years. While in the polluted city centre this may reach 1.17 years, in the least polluted neighborhoods it remains between 0.1 and 0.3 years. When dividing the YLL by the number of premature deaths, the decrease in life expectancy among the actual cases is around 13 years. As for the morbidity, the short-term effects of air pollution were estimated to result in an additional 71 (95% CI 43-104) respiratory and 204 (95% CI 131-260) cardiovascular hospitalizations per year. The biggest external costs are related to the long-term effects on mortality: this is on average euro 150 (95% CI 40-260) million annually. In comparison, the costs of short-term air-pollution driven hospitalizations are small euro 0.3 (95% CI 0.2-0.4) million.

CONCLUSION: Sectioning the city for analysis and using GIS systems can help to improve the accuracy of air pollution health impact estimations, especially in study areas with poor air pollution monitoring data but available dispersion models.

Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-24891 (URN)10.1186/1476-069X-8-7 (DOI)19257892 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2009-07-21 Created: 2009-07-21 Last updated: 2015-04-02Bibliographically approved
5. Health impact assess­ment in case of peat: co-use of environmental scenarios and exposure-response functions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Health impact assess­ment in case of peat: co-use of environmental scenarios and exposure-response functions
2009 (English)In: Biomass and Bioenergy, ISSN 0961-9534, Vol. 33, no 8, 1080-1086 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Peat will be used more widely for heating in Tartu (Estonia), therefore the potential health effects needed to be assessed. In transition from today's gas heating to burning of peat, the amount of exhaust gases emitted will increase and more than 100 000 people will be exposed to greater health risks. Based on the peat quality data, the emissions were calculated and their dispersion in Tartu was modelled using the air pollution dispersion and deposition model AEROPOL. The AirQ software, developed by the WHO, was used for calculating the health impacts. The number of years of life lost (YLL) due to the emissions from peat burning was estimated to be up to 55.5 in a year within the population of Tartu (101 000 citizens). However, in perspective, this would be about 28 times less than YLL calculated due to emissions from traffic, local heating etc.

Keyword
Peat, biomass, air pollution, particulate matter, health impact assessment, modelling
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Research subject
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-29767 (URN)
Available from: 2009-11-23 Created: 2009-11-23 Last updated: 2015-04-02Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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