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1.  Association of Traffic-Related Air Pollution with Children’s Neurobehavioral Functions in Quanzhou, China 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2009;117(10):1612-1618.
With the increase of motor vehicles, ambient air pollution related to traffic exhaust has become an important environmental issue in China. Because of their fast growth and development, children are more susceptible to ambient air pollution exposure. Many chemicals from traffic exhaust, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and lead, have been reported to show adverse effects on neurobehavioral functions. Several studies in China have suggested that traffic exhaust might affect neurobehavioral functions of adults who have occupational traffic exhaust exposure. However, few data have been reported on the effects on neurobehavioral function in children.
The objective of this study was to explore the association between traffic-related air pollution exposure and its effects on neurobehavioral function in children.
This field study was conducted in Quanzhou, China, where two primary schools were chosen based on traffic density and monitoring data of ambient air pollutants. School A was located in a clear area and school B in a polluted area. We monitored NO2 and particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter ≤ 10 μm as indicators for traffic-related air pollution on the campuses and in classrooms for 2 consecutive days in May 2005. The children from second grade (8–9 years of age) and third grade (9–10 years of age) of the two schools (n = 928) participated in a questionnaire survey and manual-assisted neurobehavioral testing. We selected 282 third-grade children (school A, 136; school B, 146) to participate in computer-assisted neurobehavioral testing. We conducted the fieldwork between May and June 2005. We used data from 861 participants (school A, 431; school B, 430) with manual neurobehavioral testing and from all participants with computerized testing for data analyses.
Media concentrations of NO2 in school A and school B campus were 7 μg/m3 and 36 μg/m3, respectively (p < 0.05). The ordinal logistic regression analyses showed that, after controlling the potential confounding factors, participants living in the polluted area showed poor performance on all testing; differences in results for six of nine tests (66.7%) achieved statistical significance: Visual Simple Reaction Time with preferred hand and with nonpreferred hand, Continuous Performance, Digit Symbol, Pursuit Aiming, and Sign Register.
We found a significant relationship between chronic low-level traffic-related air pollution exposure and neurobehavioral function in exposed children. More studies are needed to explore the effects of traffic exhaust on neurobehavioral function and development.
PMCID: PMC2790518  PMID: 20019914
air pollution; children; health effects; neurobehavioral functions; traffic-related air pollution
2.  Childhood Incident Asthma and Traffic-Related Air Pollution at Home and School 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2010;118(7):1021-1026.
Traffic-related air pollution has been associated with adverse cardiorespiratory effects, including increased asthma prevalence. However, there has been little study of effects of traffic exposure at school on new-onset asthma.
We evaluated the relationship of new-onset asthma with traffic-related pollution near homes and schools.
Parent-reported physician diagnosis of new-onset asthma (n = 120) was identified during 3 years of follow-up of a cohort of 2,497 kindergarten and first-grade children who were asthma- and wheezing-free at study entry into the Southern California Children’s Health Study. We assessed traffic-related pollution exposure based on a line source dispersion model of traffic volume, distance from home and school, and local meteorology. Regional ambient ozone, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and particulate matter were measured continuously at one central site monitor in each of 13 study communities. Hazard ratios (HRs) for new-onset asthma were scaled to the range of ambient central site pollutants and to the residential interquartile range for each traffic exposure metric.
Asthma risk increased with modeled traffic-related pollution exposure from roadways near homes [HR 1.51; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.25–1.82] and near schools (HR 1.45; 95% CI, 1.06–1.98). Ambient NO2 measured at a central site in each community was also associated with increased risk (HR 2.18; 95% CI, 1.18–4.01). In models with both NO2 and modeled traffic exposures, there were independent associations of asthma with traffic-related pollution at school and home, whereas the estimate for NO2 was attenuated (HR 1.37; 95% CI, 0.69–2.71).
Traffic-related pollution exposure at school and homes may both contribute to the development of asthma.
PMCID: PMC2920902  PMID: 20371422
air pollution; asthma; child; epidemiology; vehicular traffic
3.  Residential Traffic and Children’s Respiratory Health 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2008;116(9):1274-1279.
Living near traffic has been associated with asthma and other respiratory symptoms. Most studies, however, have been conducted in areas with high background levels of ambient air pollution, making it challenging to isolate an independent effect of traffic. Additionally, most investigations have used surrogates of exposure, and few have measured traffic pollutants directly as part of the study.
We conducted a cross-sectional study of current asthma and other respiratory symptoms in children (n = 1,080) living at varying distances from high-traffic roads in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, a highly urbanized region characterized by good regional air quality due to coastal breezes.
We obtained health information and home environmental factors by parental questionnaire. We assessed exposure with several measures of residential proximity to traffic calculated using geographic information systems, including traffic within a given radius and distance to major roads. We also measured traffic-related pollutants (nitrogen oxides and nitrogen dioxide) for a subset of households to determine how well traffic metrics correlated with measured traffic pollutants.
Using multivariate logistic regression analyses, we found associations between current asthma and residential proximity to traffic. For several traffic metrics, children whose residences were in the highest quintile of exposure had approximately twice the adjusted odds of current asthma (i.e., asthma episode in the preceeding 12 months) compared with children whose residences were within the lowest quintile. The highest risks were among those living within 75 m of a freeway/highway. Most traffic metrics correlated moderately well with actual pollutant measurements.
Our findings provide evidence that even in an area with good regional air quality, proximity to traffic is associated with adverse respiratory health effects in children.
PMCID: PMC2535634  PMID: 18795175
air pollution; asthma; bronchitis; children; respiratory health; traffic
4.  Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Congenital Anomalies in Barcelona 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2014;122(3):317-323.
Background: A recent meta-analysis suggested evidence for an effect of exposure to ambient air pollutants on risk of certain congenital heart defects. However, few studies have investigated the effects of traffic-related air pollutants with sufficient spatial accuracy.
Objectives: We estimated associations between congenital anomalies and exposure to traffic-related air pollution in Barcelona, Spain.
Method: Cases with nonchromosomal anomalies (n = 2,247) and controls (n = 2,991) were selected from the Barcelona congenital anomaly register during 1994–2006. Land use regression models from the European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects (ESCAPE), were applied to residential addresses at birth to estimate spatial exposure to nitrogen oxides and dioxide (NOx, NO2), particulate matter with diameter ≤ 10 μm (PM10), 10–2.5 μm (PMcoarse), ≤ 2.5 μm (PM2.5), and PM2.5 absorbance. Spatial estimates were adjusted for temporal trends using data from routine monitoring stations for weeks 3–8 of each pregnancy. Logistic regression models were used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) for 18 congenital anomaly groups associated with an interquartile-range (IQR) increase in exposure estimates.
Results: In spatial and spatiotemporal exposure models, we estimated statistically significant associations between an IQR increase in NO2 (12.2 μg/m3) and coarctation of the aorta (ORspatiotemporal = 1.15; 95% CI: 1.01, 1.31) and digestive system defects (ORspatiotemporal = 1.11; 95% CI: 1.00, 1.23), and between an IQR increase in PMcoarse (3.6 μg/m3) and abdominal wall defects (ORspatiotemporal = 1.93; 95% CI: 1.37, 2.73). Other statistically significant increased and decreased ORs were estimated based on the spatial model only or the spatiotemporal model only, but not both.
Conclusions: Our results overall do not indicate an association between traffic-related air pollution and most groups of congenital anomalies. Findings for coarctation of the aorta are consistent with those of the previous meta-analysis.
Citation: Schembari A, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ, Salvador J, de Nazelle A, Cirach M, Dadvand P, Beelen R, Hoek G, Basagaña X, Vrijheid M. 2014. Traffic-related air pollution and congenital anomalies in Barcelona. Environ Health Perspect 122:317–323;
PMCID: PMC3948033  PMID: 24380957
5.  Predicting residential indoor concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, fine particulate matter, and elemental carbon using questionnaire and geographic information system based data 
Previous studies have identified associations between traffic-related air pollution and adverse health effects. Most have used measurements from a few central ambient monitors and/or some measure of traffic as indicators of exposure, disregarding spatial variability and/or factors influencing personal exposure-ambient concentration relationships. This study seeks to utilize publicly available data (i.e., central site monitors, geographic information system (GIS), and property assessment data) and questionnaire responses to predict residential indoor concentrations of traffic-related air pollutants for lower socioeconomic status (SES) urban households.
As part of a prospective birth cohort study in urban Boston, we collected indoor and outdoor 3–4 day samples of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in 43 low SES residences across multiple seasons from 2003 – 2005. Elemental carbon concentrations were determined via reflectance analysis. Multiple traffic indicators were derived using Massachusetts Highway Department data and traffic counts collected outside sampling homes. Home characteristics and occupant behaviors were collected via a standardized questionnaire. Additional housing information was collected through property tax records, and ambient concentrations were collected from a centrally-located ambient monitor.
The contributions of ambient concentrations, local traffic and indoor sources to indoor concentrations were quantified with regression analyses. PM2.5 was influenced less by local traffic but had significant indoor sources, while EC was associated with traffic and NO2 with both traffic and indoor sources. Comparing models based on covariate selection using p-values or a Bayesian approach yielded similar results, with traffic density within a 50m buffer of a home and distance from a truck route as important contributors to indoor levels of NO2 and EC, respectively. The Bayesian approach also highlighted the uncertanity in the models. We conclude that by utilizing public databases and focused questionnaire data we can identify important predictors of indoor concentrations for multiple air pollutants in a high-risk population.
PMCID: PMC2760735  PMID: 19830252
indoor air; NO2; PM2.5; EC; geographic information system
6.  Long-Term Exposure to Traffic-Related Air Pollution Associated with Blood Pressure and Self-Reported Hypertension in a Danish Cohort 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2012;120(3):418-424.
Background: Short-term exposure to air pollution has been associated with changes in blood pressure (BP) and emergency department visits for hypertension, but little is known about the effects of long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution on BP and hypertension.
Objectives: We studied whether long-term exposure to air pollution is associated with BP and hypertension.
Methods: In 1993–1997, 57,053 participants 50–64 years of age were enrolled in a population-based cohort study. Systolic and diastolic BP (SBP and DBP, respectively) were measured at enrollment. Self-reported incident hypertension during a mean follow-up of 5.3 years was assessed by questionnaire. We used a validated dispersion model to estimate residential long-term nitrogen oxides (NOx), a marker of traffic-related air pollution, for the 1- and 5-year periods prior to enrollment and before a diagnosis of hypertension. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of associations between air pollution and BP at enrollment with linear regression, adjusting for traffic noise, measured short-term NOx, temperature, relative humidity, and potential lifestyle confounders (n = 44,436). We analyzed incident hypertension with Cox regression, adjusting for traffic noise and potential confounders.
Results: A doubling of NOx exposure during 1- and 5-year periods preceding enrollment was associated with 0.53-mmHg decreases [95% confidence interval (CI): –0.88, –0.19 mmHg] and 0.50-mmHg decreases (95% CI: –0.84, –0.16 mmHg) in SBP, respectively. Long-term exposure also was associated with a lower prevalence of baseline self-reported hypertension (per doubling of 5-year mean NOx: odds ratio = 0.96; 95% CI: 0.91, 1.00), whereas long-term NOx exposure was not associated with incident self-reported hypertension during follow-up.
Conclusions: Long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution was associated with a slightly lower prevalence of BP at baseline, but was not associated with incident hypertension.
PMCID: PMC3295339  PMID: 22214647
air pollution; blood pressure; hypertension; epidemiology; nitrogen oxide
7.  Traffic exposure associated with allergic asthma and allergic rhinitis in adults. A cross-sectional study in southern Sweden 
There is conflicting evidence that traffic-related air pollution is a risk factor for allergic conditions. Few studies have investigated this in adults. In adults, a high proportion of asthma, rhinitis and eczema is triggered by non-allergic factors. We investigated traffic as a risk factor for allergic versus non-allergic asthma and rhinitis, and eczema, in adults.
A questionnaire from 2000 (n = 9319, 18–77 years) provided individual data about disease outcome and self-reported traffic exposure. Additional exposure assessments were obtained using Geographical Informations Systems (GIS). Residential addresses were linked to the national Swedish Road Database and to a pollutant database with modelled annual means of NOx (Nitrogen Oxids).
Living within 100 m from a road with a traffic intensity of >10 cars/min (24 hour mean) was associated with prevalence of current asthma reported to be triggered by allergic factors (OR = 1.83, 95% CI = 1.23–2.72) and with allergic rhinitis (OR = 1.30, 95%CI = (1.05–1.61). No relation was seen with asthma or rhinitis triggered by other factors. Living within 100 m of a road with >10 cars/min was also associated with hand-eczema during the last 12 months (OR = 1.63, 95% CI = 1.19–2.23), but not with allergic eczema or diagnosed hand-eczema. Consistent results were seen using self-reported traffic, but the associations with NOx were less consistent.
Exposure to traffic was associated with a higher prevalence of allergic asthma and allergic rhinitis, but not with asthma or rhinitis triggered by non-allergic factors. This difference was suggested by the overall pattern, but only clear using GIS-measured traffic intensity as a proxy for traffic exposure. An association was also found with hand-eczema during the last 12 months. We suggest that asthma and rhinitis should not be treated as homogenous groups when estimating effects from traffic in adults.
PMCID: PMC2687434  PMID: 19419561
8.  Air Pollution and Respiratory Infections during Early Childhood: An Analysis of 10 European Birth Cohorts within the ESCAPE Project 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2013;122(1):107-113.
Background: Few studies have investigated traffic-related air pollution as a risk factor for respiratory infections during early childhood.
Objectives: We aimed to investigate the association between air pollution and pneumonia, croup, and otitis media in 10 European birth cohorts—BAMSE (Sweden), GASPII (Italy), GINIplus and LISAplus (Germany), MAAS (United Kingdom), PIAMA (the Netherlands), and four INMA cohorts (Spain)—and to derive combined effect estimates using meta-analysis.
Methods: Parent report of physician-diagnosed pneumonia, otitis media, and croup during early childhood were assessed in relation to annual average pollutant levels [nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitrogen oxide (NOx), particulate matter ≤ 2.5 μm (PM2.5), PM2.5 absorbance, PM10, PM2.5–10 (coarse PM)], which were estimated using land use regression models and assigned to children based on their residential address at birth. Identical protocols were used to develop regression models for each study area as part of the ESCAPE project. Logistic regression was used to calculate adjusted effect estimates for each study, and random-effects meta-analysis was used to calculate combined estimates.
Results: For pneumonia, combined adjusted odds ratios (ORs) were elevated and statistically significant for all pollutants except PM2.5 (e.g., OR = 1.30; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.65 per 10-μg/m3 increase in NO2 and OR = 1.76; 95% CI: 1.00, 3.09 per 10-μg/m3 PM10). For otitis media and croup, results were generally null across all analyses except for NO2 and otitis media (OR = 1.09; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.16 per 10-μg/m3).
Conclusion: Our meta-analysis of 10 European birth cohorts within the ESCAPE project found consistent evidence for an association between air pollution and pneumonia in early childhood, and some evidence for an association with otitis media.
Citation: MacIntyre EA, Gehring U, Mölter A, Fuertes E, Klümper C, Krämer U, Quass U, Hoffmann B, Gascon M, Brunekreef B, Koppelman GH, Beelen R, Hoek G, Birk M, de Jongste JC, Smit HA, Cyrys J, Gruzieva O, Korek M, Bergström A, Agius RM, de Vocht F, Simpson A, Porta D, Forastiere F, Badaloni C, Cesaroni G, Esplugues A, Fernández-Somoano A, Lerxundi A, Sunyer J, Cirach M, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ, Pershagen G, Heinrich J. 2014. Air pollution and respiratory infections during early childhood: an analysis of 10 European birth cohorts within the ESCAPE project. Environ Health Perspect 122:107–113;
PMCID: PMC3888562  PMID: 24149084
9.  Interactions between Glutathione S-Transferase P1, Tumor Necrosis Factor, and Traffic-Related Air Pollution for Development of Childhood Allergic Disease 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2008;116(8):1077-1084.
Air pollutants may induce airway inflammation and sensitization due to generation of reactive oxygen species. The genetic background to these mechanisms could be important effect modifiers.
Our goal was to assess interactions between exposure to air pollution and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the β2-adrenergic receptor (ADRB2), glutathione S-transferase P1 (GSTP1), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) genes for development of childhood allergic disease.
In a birth cohort originally of 4,089 children, we assessed air pollution from local traffic using nitrogen oxides (traffic NOx) as an indicator based on emission databases and dispersion modeling and estimated individual exposure through geocoding of home addresses. We measured peak expiratory flow rates and specific IgE for inhalant and food allergens at 4 years of age, and selected children with asthma symptoms up to 4 years of age (n = 542) and controls (n = 542) for genotyping.
Interaction effects on allergic sensitization were indicated between several GSTP1 SNPs and traffic NOx exposure during the first year of life (pnominal < 0.001–0.06). Children with Ile105Val/Val105Val genotypes were at increased risk of sensitization to any allergen when exposed to elevated levels of traffic NOx (for a difference between the 5th and 95th percentile of exposure: odds ratio = 2.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.0–5.3). In children with TNF-308 GA/AA genotypes, the GSTP1–NOx interaction effect was even more pronounced. We observed no conclusive interaction effects for ADRB2.
The effect of air pollution from traffic on childhood allergy appears to be modified by GSTP1 and TNF variants, supporting a role of genes controlling the antioxidative system and inflammatory response in allergy.
PMCID: PMC2516580  PMID: 18709160
ADRB2; air pollution; allergy; asthma; genetics; GSTP1; interaction; nitrogen oxides; polymorphism; TNF
10.  Comparing exposure assessment methods for traffic-related air pollution in an adverse pregnancy outcome study 
Environmental research  2011;111(5):685-692.
Previous studies reported adverse impacts of traffic-related air pollution exposure on pregnancy outcomes. Yet, little information exists on how effect estimates are impacted by the different exposure assessment methods employed in these studies.
To compare effect estimates for traffic-related air pollution exposure and preeclampsia, preterm birth (gestational age less than 37 weeks), and very preterm birth (gestational age less than 30 weeks) based on four commonly-used exposure assessment methods.
We identified 81,186 singleton births during 1997–2006 at four hospitals in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, California. Exposures were assigned to individual subjects based on residential address at delivery using the nearest ambient monitoring station data [carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitric oxide (NO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), ozone (O3), and particulate matter less than 2.5 (PM2.5) or less than 10 (PM10) μm in aerodynamic diameter], both unadjusted and temporally-adjusted land-use regression (LUR) model estimates (NO, NO2, and NOx), CALINE4 line-source air dispersion model estimates (NOx and PM2.5), and a simple traffic-density measure. We employed unconditional logistic regression to analyze preeclampsia in our birth cohort, while for gestational age-matched risk sets with preterm and very preterm birth we employed conditional logistic regression.
We observed elevated risks for preeclampsia, preterm birth, and very preterm birth from maternal exposures to traffic air pollutants measured at ambient stations (CO, NO, NO2, and NOx) and modeled through CALINE4 (NOx and PM2.5) and LUR (NO2 and NOx). Increased risk of preterm birth and very preterm birth were also positively associated with PM10 and PM2.5 air pollution measured at ambient stations. For LUR-modeled NO2 and NOx exposures, elevated risks for all the outcomes were observed in Los Angeles only – the region for which the LUR models were initially developed. Unadjusted LUR models often produced odds ratios somewhat larger in size than temporally-adjusted models. The size of effect estimates was smaller for exposures based on simpler traffic density measures than the other exposure assessment methods.
We generally confirmed that traffic-related air pollution was associated with adverse reproductive outcomes regardless of the exposure assessment method employed, yet the size of the estimated effect depended on how both temporal and spatial variations were incorporated into exposure assessment. The LUR model was not transferable even between two contiguous areas within the same large metropolitan area in Southern California.
PMCID: PMC3114297  PMID: 21453913
Air monitoring; CALINE4; land-use regression; preeclampsia; preterm birth
11.  Use of generalized additive models and cokriging of spatial residuals to improve land-use regression estimates of nitrogen oxides in Southern California 
Land-use regression (LUR) models have been developed to estimate spatial distributions of traffic-related pollutants. Several studies have examined spatial autocorrelation among residuals in LUR models, but few utilized spatial residual information in model prediction, or examined the impact of modeling methods, monitoring site selection, or traffic data quality on LUR performance. This study aims to improve spatial models for traffic-related pollutants using generalized additive models (GAM) combined with cokriging of spatial residuals. Specifically, we developed spatial models for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) concentrations in Southern California separately for two seasons (summer and winter) based on over 240 sampling locations. Pollutant concentrations were disaggregated into three components: local means, spatial residuals, and normal random residuals. Local means were modeled by GAM. Spatial residuals were cokriged with global residuals at nearby sampling locations that were spatially auto-correlated. We compared this two-stage approach with four commonly-used spatial models: universal kriging, multiple linear LUR and GAM with and without a spatial smoothing term. Leave-one-out cross validation was conducted for model validation and comparison purposes. The results show that our GAM plus cokriging models predicted summer and winter NO2 and NOx concentration surfaces well, with cross validation R2 values ranging from 0.88 to 0.92. While local covariates accounted for partial variance of the measured NO2 and NOx concentrations, spatial autocorrelation accounted for about 20% of the variance. Our spatial GAM model improved R2 considerably compared to the other four approaches. Conclusively, our two-stage model captured summer and winter differences in NO2 and NOx spatial distributions in Southern California well. When sampling location selection cannot be optimized for the intended model and fewer covariates are available as predictors for the model, the two-stage model is more robust compared to multiple linear regression models.
PMCID: PMC3579670  PMID: 23439926
Land-use regression; Spatial residuals; Generalized additive model; Cokriging; Traffic air pollution
12.  Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Cognitive Function in a Cohort of Older Men 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2010;119(5):682-687.
Traffic-related particles induce oxidative stress and may exert adverse effects on central nervous system function, which could manifest as cognitive impairment.
We assessed the association between black carbon (BC), a marker of traffic-related air pollution, and cognition in older men.
A total of 680 men (mean ± SD, 71 ± 7 years of age) from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study completed a battery of seven cognitive tests at least once between 1996 and 2007. We assessed long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution using a validated spatiotemporal land-use regression model for BC.
The association between BC and cognition was nonlinear, and we log-transformed BC estimates for all analyses [ln(BC)]. In a multivariable-adjusted model, for each doubling in BC on the natural scale, the odds of having a Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score ≤ 25 was 1.3 times higher [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.1 to 1.6]. In a multivariable-adjusted model for global cognitive function, which combined scores from the remaining six tests, a doubling of BC was associated with a 0.054 SD lower test score (95% CI, −0.103 to −0.006), an effect size similar to that observed with a difference in age of 1.9 years in our data. We found no evidence of heterogeneity by cognitive test. In sensitivity analyses adjusting for past lead exposure, the association with MMSE scores was similar (odds ratio = 1.3; 95% CI, 1.1 to 1.7), but the association with global cognition was somewhat attenuated (−0.038 per doubling in BC; 95% CI, −0.089 to 0.012).
Ambient traffic-related air pollution was associated with decreased cognitive function in older men.
PMCID: PMC3094421  PMID: 21172758
aging; black carbon; cognitive dysfunction; epidemiology; particulate matter
13.  Association between Local Traffic-Generated Air Pollution and Preeclampsia and Preterm Delivery in the South Coast Air Basin of California 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2009;117(11):1773-1779.
Preeclampsia is a major complication of pregnancy that can lead to substantial maternal and perinatal morbidity, mortality, and preterm birth. Increasing evidence suggests that air pollution adversely affects pregnancy outcomes. Yet few studies have examined how local traffic-generated emissions affect preeclampsia in addition to preterm birth.
We examined effects of residential exposure to local traffic-generated air pollution on preeclampsia and preterm delivery (PTD).
We identified 81,186 singleton birth records from four hospitals (1997–2006) in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, California (USA). We used a line-source dispersion model (CALINE4) to estimate individual exposure to local traffic-generated nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter < 2.5 μm in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5) across the entire pregnancy. We used logistic regression to estimate effects of air pollution exposures on preeclampsia, PTD (gestational age < 37 weeks), moderate PTD (MPTD; gestational age < 35 weeks), and very PTD (VPTD; gestational age < 30 weeks).
We observed elevated risks for preeclampsia and preterm birth from maternal exposure to local traffic-generated NOx and PM2.5. The risk of preeclampsia increased 33% [odds ratio (OR) = 1.33; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.18–1.49] and 42% (OR = 1.42; 95% CI, 1.26–1.59) for the highest NOx and PM2.5 exposure quartiles, respectively. The risk of VPTD increased 128% (OR = 2.28; 95% CI, 2.15–2.42) and 81% (OR = 1.81; 95% CI, 1.71–1.92) for women in the highest NOx and PM2.5 exposure quartiles, respectively.
Exposure to local traffic-generated air pollution during pregnancy increases the risk of preeclampsia and preterm birth in Southern California women. These results provide further evidence that air pollution is associated with adverse reproductive outcomes.
PMCID: PMC2801174  PMID: 20049131
air pollution; nitrogen oxides; particulate matter; preeclampsia; pregnancy outcome; preterm birth; vehicle emission
14.  Predicting traffic-related air pollution in Los Angeles using a distance decay regression selection strategy 
Environmental research  2009;109(6):10.1016/j.envres.2009.06.001.
Land use regression (LUR) has emerged as an effective means of estimating exposure to air pollution in epidemiological studies. We created the first LUR models of nitric oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) for the complex megalopolis of Los Angeles (LA), California. Two-hundred and one sampling sites (the largest sampling design to date for LUR estimation) for two seasons were selected using a location-allocation algorithm that maximized the potential variability in measured pollutant concentrations and represented populations in the health study. Traffic volumes, truck routes and road networks, land use data, satellite-derived vegetation greenness and soil brightness, and truck route slope gradients were used for predicting NOx concentrations. A novel model selection strategy known as “ADDRESS” (A Distance Decay REgression Selection Strategy) was used to select optimized buffer distances for potential predictor variables and maximize model performance.
Final regression models explained 81%, 86% and 85% of the variance in measured NO, NO2 and NOx concentrations, respectively. Cross-validation analyses suggested a prediction accuracy of 87–91%. Remote sensing-derived variables were significantly correlated with NOx concentrations, suggesting these data are useful surrogates for modeling traffic-related pollution when certain land use data are unavailable. Our study also demonstrated that reactive pollutants such as NO and NO2 could have high spatial extents of influence (e.g., > 5000 m from expressway) and high background concentrations in certain geographic areas. This paper represents the first attempt to model traffic-related air pollutants at a fine scale within such a complex and large urban region.
PMCID: PMC3656661  PMID: 19540476
Nitrogen oxides; Air pollution; Traffic; Land use regression; GIS; Remote sensing; Los Angeles
15.  Respiratory health and individual estimated exposure to traffic‐related air pollutants in a cohort of young children 
To estimate long‐term exposure to traffic‐related air pollutants on an individual basis and to assess adverse health effects using a combination of air pollution measurement data, data from geographical information systems (GIS) and questionnaire data.
40 measurement sites in the city of Munich, Germany were selected at which to collect particulate matter with a 50% cut‐off aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 µm (PM2.5) and to measure PM2.5 absorbance and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). A pool of GIS variables (information about street length, household and population density and land use) was collected for the Munich metropolitan area and was used in multiple linear regression models to predict traffic‐related air pollutants. These models were also applied to the birth addresses of two birth cohorts (German Infant Nutritional Intervention Study (GINI) and Influence of Life‐style factors on the development of the Immune System and Allergies in East and West Germany (LISA)) in the Munich metropolitan area. Associations between air pollution concentrations at birth address and 1‐year and 2‐year incidences of respiratory symptoms were analysed.
The following means for the estimated exposures to PM2.5, PM2.5 absorbance and NO2 were obtained: 12.8 μg/m3, 1.7×10−5 m−1 and 35.3 μg/m3, respectively. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for wheezing, cough without infection, dry cough at night, bronchial asthma, bronchitis and respiratory infections indicated positive associations with traffic‐related air pollutants. After controlling for individual confounders, significant associations were found between the pollutant PM2.5 and sneezing, runny/stuffed nose during the first year of life (OR 1.16, 95% confidence interval 1.01 to 1.34) Similar effects were observed for the second year of life. These findings are similar to those from our previous analysis that were restricted to a subcohort in Munich city. The extended study also showed significant effects for sneezing, running/stuffed nose. Additionally, significant associations were found between NO2 and dry cough at night (or bronchitis) during the first year of life. The variable “living close to major roads” (<50 m), which was not analysed for the previous inner city cohort with birth addresses in the city of Munich, turned out to increase the risk of wheezing and asthmatic/spastic/obstructive bronchitis.
Effects on asthma and hay fever are subject to confirmation at older ages, when these outcomes can be more validly assessed.
PMCID: PMC2092590  PMID: 16912084
16.  Synergistic Effects of Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Exposure to Violence on Urban Asthma Etiology 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2007;115(8):1140-1146.
Disproportionate life stress and consequent physiologic alteration (i.e., immune dysregulation) has been proposed as a major pathway linking socioeconomic position, environmental exposures, and health disparities. Asthma, for example, disproportionately affects lower-income urban communities, where air pollution and social stressors may be elevated.
We aimed to examine the role of exposure to violence (ETV), as a chronic stressor, in altering susceptibility to traffic-related air pollution in asthma etiology.
We developed geographic information systems (GIS)–based models to retrospectively estimate residential exposures to traffic-related pollution for 413 children in a community-based pregnancy cohort, recruited in East Boston, Massachusetts, between 1987 and 1993, using monthly nitrogen dioxide measurements for 13 sites over 18 years. We merged pollution estimates with questionnaire data on lifetime ETV and examined the effects of both on childhood asthma etiology.
Correcting for potential confounders, we found an elevated risk of asthma with a 1-SD (4.3 ppb) increase in NO2 exposure solely among children with above-median ETV [odds ratio (OR) = 1.63; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.14–2.33)]. Among children always living in the same community, with lesser exposure measurement error, this association was magnified (OR = 2.40; 95% CI, 1.48–3.88). Of multiple exposure periods, year-of-diagnosis NO2 was most predictive of asthma outcomes.
We found an association between traffic-related air pollution and asthma solely among urban children exposed to violence. Future studies should consider socially patterned susceptibility, common spatial distributions of social and physical environmental factors, and potential synergies among these. Prospective assessment of physical and social exposures may help determine causal pathways and critical exposure periods.
PMCID: PMC1940095  PMID: 17687439
childhood asthma; exposure to violence (ETV); geographic information systems (GIS); intraurban variability; nitrogen dioxide (NO2); social–environmental synergy; stress
17.  Personal and outdoor nitrogen dioxide concentrations in relation to degree of urbanization and traffic density. 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2001;109(Suppl 3):411-417.
To assess differences in exposure to air pollution from traffic in relation to degree of urbanization and traffic density, we measured personal and home outdoor nitrogen dioxide (NO(2)) concentrations for 241 children from six different primary schools in the Netherlands. Three schools were situated in areas with varying degrees of urbanization (very urban, fairly urban, and nonurban) and three other schools were located near highways with varying traffic density (very busy, fairly busy, and not busy). Weekly averaged measurements were conducted during four different seasons. Simultaneously, indoor and outdoor measurements were conducted at the schools. Personal and outdoor NO(2) concentrations differed significantly among children attending schools in areas with different degrees of urbanization and among children attending schools in areas close to highways with different traffic densities. For the children living near highways, personal and outdoor NO(2) concentrations also significantly decreased with increasing distance of the home address to the highway. Differences in personal exposures between children from the different schools remained present and significant after adjusting for indoor sources of NO(2). This study has shown that personal and outdoor NO(2) concentrations are influenced significantly by the degree of urbanization of the city district and by the traffic density of and distance to a nearby highway. Because NO(2) can be considered a marker for air pollution from traffic, the more easily measured variables degree of urbanization, traffic density, and distance to a nearby highway can all be used to estimate exposure to traffic-related air pollution.
PMCID: PMC1240559  PMID: 11429326
18.  Nitric oxide and superoxide mediate diesel particle effects in cytokine-treated mice and murine lung epithelial cells — implications for susceptibility to traffic-related air pollution 
Epidemiologic studies associate childhood exposure to traffic-related air pollution with increased respiratory infections and asthmatic and allergic symptoms. The strongest associations between traffic exposure and negative health impacts are observed in individuals with respiratory inflammation. We hypothesized that interactions between nitric oxide (NO), increased during lung inflammatory responses, and reactive oxygen species (ROS), increased as a consequence of traffic exposure ─ played a key role in the increased susceptibility of these at-risk populations to traffic emissions.
Diesel exhaust particles (DEP) were used as surrogates for traffic particles. Murine lung epithelial (LA-4) cells and BALB/c mice were treated with a cytokine mixture (cytomix: TNFα, IL-1β, and IFNγ) to induce a generic inflammatory state. Cells were exposed to saline or DEP (25 μg/cm2) and examined for differential effects on redox balance and cytotoxicity. Likewise, mice undergoing nose-only inhalation exposure to air or DEP (2 mg/m3 × 4 h/d × 2 d) were assessed for differential effects on lung inflammation, injury, antioxidant levels, and phagocyte ROS production.
Cytomix treatment significantly increased LA-4 cell NO production though iNOS activation. Cytomix +  DEP-exposed cells incurred the greatest intracellular ROS production, with commensurate cytotoxicity, as these cells were unable to maintain redox balance. By contrast, saline + DEP-exposed cells were able to mount effective antioxidant responses. DEP effects were mediated by: (1) increased ROS including superoxide anion (O2˙-), related to increased xanthine dehydrogenase expression and reduced cytosolic superoxide dismutase activity; and (2) increased peroxynitrite generation related to interaction of O2˙- with cytokine-induced NO. Effects were partially reduced by superoxide dismutase (SOD) supplementation or by blocking iNOS induction. In mice, cytomix +  DEP-exposure resulted in greater ROS production in lung phagocytes. Phagocyte and epithelial effects were, by and large, prevented by treatment with FeTMPyP, which accelerates peroxynitrite catalysis.
During inflammation, due to interactions of NO and O2˙-, DEP-exposure was associated with nitrosative stress in surface epithelial cells and resident lung phagocytes. As these cell types work in concert to provide protection against inhaled pathogens and allergens, dysfunction would predispose to development of respiratory infection and allergy. Results provide a mechanism by which individuals with pre-existing respiratory inflammation are at increased risk for exposure to traffic-dominated urban air pollution.
PMCID: PMC3546033  PMID: 23151036
Traffic; Diesel; Particles; Epithelial cells; Phagocytes; Nitric oxide; Peroxynitrite; Redox balance
19.  Ambient air pollution and allergic diseases in children 
Korean Journal of Pediatrics  2012;55(6):185-192.
The prevalence of allergic diseases has increased worldwide, a phenomenon that can be largely attributed to environmental effects. Among environmental factors, air pollution due to traffic is thought to be a major threat to childhood health. Residing near busy roadways is associated with increased asthma hospitalization, decreased lung function, and increased prevalence and severity of wheezing and allergic rhinitis. Recently, prospective cohort studies using more accurate measurements of individual exposure to air pollution have been conducted and have provided definitive evidence of the impact of air pollution on allergic diseases. Particulate matter and ground-level ozone are the most frequent air pollutants that cause harmful effects, and the mechanisms underlying these effects may be related to oxidative stress. The reactive oxidative species produced in response to air pollutants can overwhelm the redox system and damage the cell wall, lipids, proteins, and DNA, leading to airway inflammation and hyper-reactivity. Pollutants may also cause harmful effects via epigenetic mechanisms, which control the expression of genes without changing the DNA sequence itself. These mechanisms are likely to be a target for the prevention of allergies. Further studies are necessary to identify children at risk and understand how these mechanisms regulate gene-environment interactions. This review provides an update of the current understanding on the impact of air pollution on allergic diseases in children and facilitates the integration of issues regarding air pollution and allergies into pediatric practices, with the goal of improving pediatric health.
PMCID: PMC3382698  PMID: 22745642
Air pollution; Asthma; Allergy; Child; Oxidative stress; Epigenetics
20.  Air Pollution Exposure and Lung Function in Children: The ESCAPE Project 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2013;121(11-12):1357-1364.
Background: There is evidence for adverse effects of outdoor air pollution on lung function of children. Quantitative summaries of the effects of air pollution on lung function, however, are lacking due to large differences among studies.
Objectives: We aimed to study the association between residential exposure to air pollution and lung function in five European birth cohorts with a standardized exposure assessment following a common protocol.
Methods: As part of the European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects (ESCAPE) we analyzed data from birth cohort studies situated in Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom that measured lung function at 6–8 years of age (n = 5,921). Annual average exposure to air pollution [nitrogen oxides (NO2, NOx), mass concentrations of particulate matter with diameters < 2.5, < 10, and 2.5–10 μm (PM2.5, PM10, and PMcoarse), and PM2.5 absorbance] at the birth address and current address was estimated by land-use regression models. Associations of lung function with estimated air pollution levels and traffic indicators were estimated for each cohort using linear regression analysis, and then combined by random effects meta-analysis.
Results: Estimated levels of NO2, NOx, PM2.5 absorbance, and PM2.5 at the current address, but not at the birth address, were associated with small decreases in lung function. For example, changes in forced expiratory volume in 1 sec (FEV1) ranged from –0.86% (95% CI: –1.48, –0.24%) for a 20-μg/m3 increase in NOx to –1.77% (95% CI: –3.34, –0.18%) for a 5-μg/m3 increase in PM2.5.
Conclusions: Exposure to air pollution may result in reduced lung function in schoolchildren.
Citation: Gehring U, Gruzieva O, Agius RM, Beelen R, Custovic A, Cyrys J, Eeftens M, Flexeder C, Fuertes E, Heinrich J, Hoffmann B, de Jongste JC, Kerkhof M, Klümper C, Korek M, Mölter A, Schultz ES, Simpson A, Sugiri D, Svartengren M, von Berg A, Wijga AH, Pershagen G, Brunekreef B. 2013. Air pollution exposure and lung function in children: the ESCAPE project. Environ Health Perspect 121:1357–1364;
PMCID: PMC3855518  PMID: 24076757
21.  Residential traffic exposure and pregnancy-related outcomes: a prospective birth cohort study 
Environmental Health  2009;8:59.
The effects of ambient air pollution on pregnancy outcomes are under debate. Previous studies have used different air pollution exposure assessment methods. The considerable traffic-related intra-urban spatial variation needs to be considered in exposure assessment. Residential proximity to traffic is a proxy for traffic-related exposures that takes into account within-city contrasts.
We investigated the association between residential proximity to traffic and various birth and pregnancy outcomes in 7,339 pregnant women and their children participating in a population-based cohort study. Residential proximity to traffic was defined as 1) distance-weighted traffic density in a 150 meter radius, and 2) proximity to a major road. We estimated associations of these exposures with birth weight, and with the risks of preterm birth and small size for gestational age at birth. Additionally, we examined associations with pregnancy-induced hypertension, (pre)eclampsia, and gestational diabetes.
There was considerable variation in distance-weighted traffic density. Almost fifteen percent of the participants lived within 50 m of a major road. Residential proximity to traffic was not associated with birth and pregnancy outcomes in the main analysis and in various sensitivity analyses.
Mothers exposed to residential traffic had no higher risk of adverse birth outcomes or pregnancy complications in this study. Future studies may be refined by taking both temporal and spatial variation in air pollution exposure into account.
PMCID: PMC2811104  PMID: 20028508
22.  Near-Roadway Pollution and Childhood Asthma: Implications for Developing “Win–Win” Compact Urban Development and Clean Vehicle Strategies 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2012;120(11):1619-1626.
Background: The emerging consensus that exposure to near-roadway traffic-related pollution causes asthma has implications for compact urban development policies designed to reduce driving and greenhouse gases.
Objectives: We estimated the current burden of childhood asthma-related disease attributable to near-roadway and regional air pollution in Los Angeles County (LAC) and the potential health impact of regional pollution reduction associated with changes in population along major traffic corridors.
Methods: The burden of asthma attributable to the dual effects of near-roadway and regional air pollution was estimated, using nitrogen dioxide and ozone as markers of urban combustion-related and secondary oxidant pollution, respectively. We also estimated the impact of alternative scenarios that assumed a 20% reduction in regional pollution in combination with a 3.6% reduction or 3.6% increase in the proportion of the total population living near major roads, a proxy for near-roadway exposure.
Results: We estimated that 27,100 cases of childhood asthma (8% of total) in LAC were at least partly attributable to pollution associated with residential location within 75 m of a major road. As a result, a substantial proportion of asthma-related morbidity is a consequence of near-roadway pollution, even if symptoms are triggered by other factors. Benefits resulting from a 20% regional pollution reduction varied markedly depending on the associated change in near-roadway proximity.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that there are large and previously unappreciated public health consequences of air pollution in LAC and probably in other metropolitan areas with dense traffic corridors. To maximize health benefits, compact urban development strategies should be coupled with policies to reduce near-roadway pollution exposure.
PMCID: PMC3556611  PMID: 23008270
air pollution; asthma; burden of disease; children; compact urban growth; risk assessment; vehicle emissions
23.  Long-Term Effects of Traffic-Related Air Pollution on Mortality in a Dutch Cohort (NLCS-AIR Study) 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2007;116(2):196-202.
Several studies have found an effect on mortality of between-city contrasts in long-term exposure to air pollution. The effect of within-city contrasts is still poorly understood.
We studied the association between long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution and mortality in a Dutch cohort.
We used data from an ongoing cohort study on diet and cancer with 120,852 subjects who were followed from 1987 to 1996. Exposure to black smoke (BS), nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter ≤mu;M2.5), as well as various exposure variables related to traffic, were estimated at the home address. We conducted Cox analyses in the full cohort adjusting for age, sex, smoking, and area-level socioeconomic status.
Traffic intensity on the nearest road was independently associated with mortality. Relative risks (95% confidence intervals) for a 10-μg/m3 increase in BS concentrations (difference between 5th and 95th percentile) were 1.05 (1.00–1.11) for natural cause, 1.04 (0.95–1.13) for cardiovascular, 1.22 (0.99–1.50) for respiratory, 1.03 (0.88–1.20) for lung cancer, and 1.04 (0.97–1.12) for mortality other than cardiovascular, respiratory, or lung cancer. Results were similar for NO2 and PM2.5, but no associations were found for SO2.
Traffic-related air pollution and several traffic exposure variables were associated with mortality in the full cohort. Relative risks were generally small. Associations between natural-cause and respiratory mortality were statistically significant for NO2 and BS. These results add to the evidence that long-term exposure to ambient air pollution is associated with increased mortality.
PMCID: PMC2235230  PMID: 18288318
air pollution; cohort; mortality; traffic
24.  Long-Term Traffic-Related Exposures and Asthma Onset in Schoolchildren in Oslo, Norway 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2009;117(5):839-844.
Whether there is a causal relation between long-term exposure to traffic and asthma development is so far not clear. This may be explained by inaccurate exposure assessment.
We investigated the associations of long-term traffic-related exposures with asthma onset assessed retrospectively and respiratory symptoms in 9- to 10-year-old children.
We collected information on respiratory outcomes and potential confounding variables by parental questionnaire in 2,871 children in Oslo. Nitrogen dioxide exposure was assessed by the EPISODE dispersion model and assigned at updated individual addresses during lifetime. Distance to major road was assigned at birth address and address by date of questionnaire. Cox proportional hazard regression and logistic regression were used.
We did not find positive associations between any long-term traffic-related exposure and onset of doctor-diagnosed asthma. An interquartile range (IQR) increase of NO2 exposure before asthma onset was associated with an adjusted risk ratio of 0.82 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.67–1.02]. Handling early asthma cases (children < 4 years of age) with recovery during follow-up as noncases gave a less negative association. The associations for late asthma onset (≥ 4 years of age) were positive but not statistically significant. For current symptoms, an IQR increase of previous year’s NO2 exposure was associated with adjusted odds ratios of 1.01 (95% CI, 0.83–1.23) for wheeze, 1.10 (95% CI, 0.79–1.51) for severe wheeze, and 1.01 (95% CI, 0.84–1.21) for dry cough.
We were not able to find positive associations of long-term traffic-related exposures with asthma onset or with current respiratory symptoms in 9- to 10-year-old children in Oslo.
PMCID: PMC2685850  PMID: 19478970
asthma; children; long-term exposure; nitrogen dioxide; NO2; respiratory symptoms; traffic
25.  Heavy vehicle traffic is related to wheeze among schoolchildren: a population-based study in an area with low traffic flows 
Environmental Health  2011;10:91.
An association between traffic air pollution and respiratory symptoms among children has been reported. However, the effects of traffic air pollution on asthma and wheeze have been very sparsely studied in areas with low traffic intensity in cold climate with poor dispersion. We evaluated the impact of vehicle traffic on childhood asthma and wheeze by objective exposure assessment.
As a part of the Obstructive Lung Disease in Northern Sweden (OLIN) studies, a questionnaire was sent to the families of all children attending first or second grade in Luleå (72,000 inhabitants) in Northern Sweden in 2006. The age of the children was 7-8 years and the participation rate was 98% (n = 1357). Skin prick tests were performed in 1224 (89%) children. The home addresses were given geographical coordinates and traffic counts were obtained from the local traffic authorities. A proximity model of average daily traffic and average daily heavy vehicle traffic within 200 meters from each participant's home address was used. The associations between traffic exposure and asthma and wheeze, respectively, were analysed in an adjusted multiple logistic regression model.
Exposure to high traffic flows was uncommon in the study area; only 15% of the children lived within 200 meters from a road with a traffic flow of ≥8000 vehicles per day. Living closer than 200 meters from a road with ≥500 heavy vehicles daily was associated with current wheeze, odds ratio 1.7 (confidence interval 1.0-2.7). A dose-response relation was indicated. An increased risk of asthma was also seen, however not significant, odds ratio 1.5 (confidence interval 0.8-2.9). Stratified analyses revealed that the effect of traffic exposure was restricted to the non-sensitized phenotype of asthma and wheeze. The agreement between self-reported traffic exposure and objective measurements of exposure was moderate.
This study showed that already at low levels of exposure, vehicle traffic is related to an increased risk of wheeze among children. Thus, the global burden of traffic air pollution may be underestimated.
PMCID: PMC3206415  PMID: 21995638

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