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1.  A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 
Lim, Stephen S | Vos, Theo | Flaxman, Abraham D | Danaei, Goodarz | Shibuya, Kenji | Adair-Rohani, Heather | Amann, Markus | Anderson, H Ross | Andrews, Kathryn G | Aryee, Martin | Atkinson, Charles | Bacchus, Loraine J | Bahalim, Adil N | Balakrishnan, Kalpana | Balmes, John | Barker-Collo, Suzanne | Baxter, Amanda | Bell, Michelle L | Blore, Jed D | Blyth, Fiona | Bonner, Carissa | Borges, Guilherme | Bourne, Rupert | Boussinesq, Michel | Brauer, Michael | Brooks, Peter | Bruce, Nigel G | Brunekreef, Bert | Bryan-Hancock, Claire | Bucello, Chiara | Buchbinder, Rachelle | Bull, Fiona | Burnett, Richard T | Byers, Tim E | Calabria, Bianca | Carapetis, Jonathan | Carnahan, Emily | Chafe, Zoe | Charlson, Fiona | Chen, Honglei | Chen, Jian Shen | Cheng, Andrew Tai-Ann | Child, Jennifer Christine | Cohen, Aaron | Colson, K Ellicott | Cowie, Benjamin C | Darby, Sarah | Darling, Susan | Davis, Adrian | Degenhardt, Louisa | Dentener, Frank | Des Jarlais, Don C | Devries, Karen | Dherani, Mukesh | Ding, Eric L | Dorsey, E Ray | Driscoll, Tim | Edmond, Karen | Ali, Suad Eltahir | Engell, Rebecca E | Erwin, Patricia J | Fahimi, Saman | Falder, Gail | Farzadfar, Farshad | Ferrari, Alize | Finucane, Mariel M | Flaxman, Seth | Fowkes, Francis Gerry R | Freedman, Greg | Freeman, Michael K | Gakidou, Emmanuela | Ghosh, Santu | Giovannucci, Edward | Gmel, Gerhard | Graham, Kathryn | Grainger, Rebecca | Grant, Bridget | Gunnell, David | Gutierrez, Hialy R | Hall, Wayne | Hoek, Hans W | Hogan, Anthony | Hosgood, H Dean | Hoy, Damian | Hu, Howard | Hubbell, Bryan J | Hutchings, Sally J | Ibeanusi, Sydney E | Jacklyn, Gemma L | Jasrasaria, Rashmi | Jonas, Jost B | Kan, Haidong | Kanis, John A | Kassebaum, Nicholas | Kawakami, Norito | Khang, Young-Ho | Khatibzadeh, Shahab | Khoo, Jon-Paul | Kok, Cindy | Laden, Francine | Lalloo, Ratilal | Lan, Qing | Lathlean, Tim | Leasher, Janet L | Leigh, James | Li, Yang | Lin, John Kent | Lipshultz, Steven E | London, Stephanie | Lozano, Rafael | Lu, Yuan | Mak, Joelle | Malekzadeh, Reza | Mallinger, Leslie | Marcenes, Wagner | March, Lyn | Marks, Robin | Martin, Randall | McGale, Paul | McGrath, John | Mehta, Sumi | Mensah, George A | Merriman, Tony R | Micha, Renata | Michaud, Catherine | Mishra, Vinod | Hanafiah, Khayriyyah Mohd | Mokdad, Ali A | Morawska, Lidia | Mozaff arian, Dariush | Murphy, Tasha | Naghavi, Mohsen | Neal, Bruce | Nelson, Paul K | Nolla, Joan Miquel | Norman, Rosana | Olives, Casey | Omer, Saad B | Orchard, Jessica | Osborne, Richard | Ostro, Bart | Page, Andrew | Pandey, Kiran D | Parry, Charles D H | Passmore, Erin | Patra, Jayadeep | Pearce, Neil | Pelizzari, Pamela M | Petzold, Max | Phillips, Michael R | Pope, Dan | Pope III, C Arden | Powles, John | Rao, Mayuree | Razavi, Homie | Rehfuess, Eva A | Rehm, Jürgen T | Ritz, Beate | Rivara, Frederick P | Roberts, Thomas | Robinson, Carolyn | Rodriguez-Portales, Jose A | Romieu, Isabelle | Room, Robin | Rosenfeld, Lisa C | Roy, Ananya | Rushton, Lesley | Salomon, Joshua A | Sampson, Uchechukwu | Sanchez-Riera, Lidia | Sanman, Ella | Sapkota, Amir | Seedat, Soraya | Shi, Peilin | Shield, Kevin | Shivakoti, Rupak | Singh, Gitanjali M | Sleet, David A | Smith, Emma | Smith, Kirk R | Stapelberg, Nicolas J C | Steenland, Kyle | Stöckl, Heidi | Stovner, Lars Jacob | Straif, Kurt | Straney, Lahn | Thurston, George D | Tran, Jimmy H | Van Dingenen, Rita | van Donkelaar, Aaron | Veerman, J Lennert | Vijayakumar, Lakshmi | Weintraub, Robert | Weissman, Myrna M | White, Richard A | Whiteford, Harvey | Wiersma, Steven T | Wilkinson, James D | Williams, Hywel C | Williams, Warwick | Wilson, Nicholas | Woolf, Anthony D | Yip, Paul | Zielinski, Jan M | Lopez, Alan D | Murray, Christopher J L | Ezzati, Majid
Lancet  2012;380(9859):2224-2260.
Quantification of the disease burden caused by different risks informs prevention by providing an account of health loss different to that provided by a disease-by-disease analysis. No complete revision of global disease burden caused by risk factors has been done since a comparative risk assessment in 2000, and no previous analysis has assessed changes in burden attributable to risk factors over time.
We estimated deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs; sum of years lived with disability [YLD] and years of life lost [YLL]) attributable to the independent effects of 67 risk factors and clusters of risk factors for 21 regions in 1990 and 2010. We estimated exposure distributions for each year, region, sex, and age group, and relative risks per unit of exposure by systematically reviewing and synthesising published and unpublished data. We used these estimates, together with estimates of cause-specific deaths and DALYs from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, to calculate the burden attributable to each risk factor exposure compared with the theoretical-minimum-risk exposure. We incorporated uncertainty in disease burden, relative risks, and exposures into our estimates of attributable burden.
In 2010, the three leading risk factors for global disease burden were high blood pressure (7·0% [95% uncertainty interval 6·2–7·7] of global DALYs), tobacco smoking including second-hand smoke (6·3% [5·5–7·0]), and alcohol use (5·5% [5·0–5·9]). In 1990, the leading risks were childhood underweight (7·9% [6·8–9·4]), household air pollution from solid fuels (HAP; 7·0% [5·6–8·3]), and tobacco smoking including second-hand smoke (6·1% [5·4–6·8]). Dietary risk factors and physical inactivity collectively accounted for 10·0% (95% UI 9·2–10·8) of global DALYs in 2010, with the most prominent dietary risks being diets low in fruits and those high in sodium. Several risks that primarily affect childhood communicable diseases, including unimproved water and sanitation and childhood micronutrient deficiencies, fell in rank between 1990 and 2010, with unimproved water we and sanitation accounting for 0·9% (0·4–1·6) of global DALYs in 2010. However, in most of sub-Saharan Africa childhood underweight, HAP, and non-exclusive and discontinued breastfeeding were the leading risks in 2010, while HAP was the leading risk in south Asia. The leading risk factor in Eastern Europe, most of Latin America, and southern sub-Saharan Africa in 2010 was alcohol use; in most of Asia, North Africa and Middle East, and central Europe it was high blood pressure. Despite declines, tobacco smoking including second-hand smoke remained the leading risk in high-income north America and western Europe. High body-mass index has increased globally and it is the leading risk in Australasia and southern Latin America, and also ranks high in other high-income regions, North Africa and Middle East, and Oceania.
Worldwide, the contribution of different risk factors to disease burden has changed substantially, with a shift away from risks for communicable diseases in children towards those for non-communicable diseases in adults. These changes are related to the ageing population, decreased mortality among children younger than 5 years, changes in cause-of-death composition, and changes in risk factor exposures. New evidence has led to changes in the magnitude of key risks including unimproved water and sanitation, vitamin A and zinc deficiencies, and ambient particulate matter pollution. The extent to which the epidemiological shift has occurred and what the leading risks currently are varies greatly across regions. In much of sub-Saharan Africa, the leading risks are still those associated with poverty and those that affect children.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
PMCID: PMC4156511  PMID: 23245609
2.  Long-Term Exposure to Ambient Air Pollution and Incidence of Cerebrovascular Events: Results from 11 European Cohorts within the ESCAPE Project 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2014;122(9):919-925.
Background: Few studies have investigated effects of air pollution on the incidence of cerebrovascular events.
Objectives: We assessed the association between long-term exposure to multiple air pollutants and the incidence of stroke in European cohorts.
Methods: Data from 11 cohorts were collected, and occurrence of a first stroke was evaluated. Individual air pollution exposures were predicted from land-use regression models developed within the European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects (ESCAPE). The exposures were: PM2.5 [particulate matter (PM) ≤ 2.5 μm in diameter], coarse PM (PM between 2.5 and 10 μm), PM10 (PM ≤ 10 μm), PM2.5 absorbance, nitrogen oxides, and two traffic indicators. Cohort-specific analyses were conducted using Cox proportional hazards models. Random-effects meta-analysis was used for pooled effect estimation.
Results: A total of 99,446 study participants were included, 3,086 of whom developed stroke. A 5-μg/m3 increase in annual PM2.5 exposure was associated with 19% increased risk of incident stroke [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.19, 95% CI: 0.88, 1.62]. Similar findings were obtained for PM10. The results were robust to adjustment for an extensive list of cardiovascular risk factors and noise coexposure. The association with PM2.5 was apparent among those ≥ 60 years of age (HR = 1.40, 95% CI: 1.05, 1.87), among never-smokers (HR = 1.74, 95% CI: 1.06, 2.88), and among participants with PM2.5 exposure < 25 μg/m3 (HR = 1.33, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.77).
Conclusions: We found suggestive evidence of an association between fine particles and incidence of cerebrovascular events in Europe, even at lower concentrations than set by the current air quality limit value.
Citation: Stafoggia M, Cesaroni G, Peters A, Andersen ZJ, Badaloni C, Beelen R, Caracciolo B, Cyrys J, de Faire U, de Hoogh K, Eriksen KT, Fratiglioni L, Galassi C, Gigante B, Havulinna AS, Hennig F, Hilding A, Hoek G, Hoffmann B, Houthuijs D, Korek M, Lanki T, Leander K, Magnusson PK, Meisinger C, Migliore E, Overvad K, Östenson CG, Pedersen NL, Pekkanen J, Penell J, Pershagen G, Pundt N, Pyko A, Raaschou-Nielsen O, Ranzi A, Ricceri F, Sacerdote C, Swart WJ, Turunen AW, Vineis P, Weimar C, Weinmayr G, Wolf K, Brunekreef B, Forastiere F. 2014. Long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and incidence of cerebrovascular events: results from 11 European cohorts within the ESCAPE project. Environ Health Perspect 122:919–925;
PMCID: PMC4153743  PMID: 24835336
3.  Arterial Blood Pressure and Long-Term Exposure to Traffic-Related Air Pollution: An Analysis in the European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects (ESCAPE) 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2014;122(9):896-905.
Background: Long-term exposure to air pollution has been hypothesized to elevate arterial blood pressure (BP). The existing evidence is scarce and country specific.
Objectives: We investigated the cross-sectional association of long-term traffic-related air pollution with BP and prevalent hypertension in European populations.
Methods: We analyzed 15 population-based cohorts, participating in the European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects (ESCAPE). We modeled residential exposure to particulate matter and nitrogen oxides with land use regression using a uniform protocol. We assessed traffic exposure with traffic indicator variables. We analyzed systolic and diastolic BP in participants medicated and nonmedicated with BP-lowering medication (BPLM) separately, adjusting for personal and area-level risk factors and environmental noise. Prevalent hypertension was defined as ≥ 140 mmHg systolic BP, or ≥ 90 mmHg diastolic BP, or intake of BPLM. We combined cohort-specific results using random-effects meta-analysis.
Results: In the main meta-analysis of 113,926 participants, traffic load on major roads within 100 m of the residence was associated with increased systolic and diastolic BP in nonmedicated participants [0.35 mmHg (95% CI: 0.02, 0.68) and 0.22 mmHg (95% CI: 0.04, 0.40) per 4,000,000 vehicles × m/day, respectively]. The estimated odds ratio (OR) for prevalent hypertension was 1.05 (95% CI: 0.99, 1.11) per 4,000,000 vehicles × m/day. Modeled air pollutants and BP were not clearly associated.
Conclusions: In this first comprehensive meta-analysis of European population-based cohorts, we observed a weak positive association of high residential traffic exposure with BP in nonmedicated participants, and an elevated OR for prevalent hypertension. The relationship of modeled air pollutants with BP was inconsistent.
Citation: Fuks KB, Weinmayr G, Foraster M, Dratva J, Hampel R, Houthuijs D, Oftedal B, Oudin A, Panasevich S, Penell J, Sommar JN, Sørensen M, Tittanen P, Wolf K, Xun WW, Aguilera I, Basagaña X, Beelen R, Bots ML, Brunekreef B, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB, Caracciolo B, Cirach M, de Faire U, de Nazelle A, Eeftens M, Elosua R, Erbel R, Forsberg B, Fratiglioni L, Gaspoz JM, Hilding A, Jula A, Korek M, Krämer U, Künzli N, Lanki T, Leander K, Magnusson PK, Marrugat J, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ, Östenson CG, Pedersen NL, Pershagen G, Phuleria HC, Probst-Hensch NM, Raaschou-Nielsen O, Schaffner E, Schikowski T, Schindler C, Schwarze PE, Søgaard AJ, Sugiri D, Swart WJ, Tsai MY, Turunen AW, Vineis P, Peters A, Hoffmann B. 2014. Arterial blood pressure and long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution: an analysis in the European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects (ESCAPE). Environ Health Perspect 122:896–905;
PMCID: PMC4154218  PMID: 24835507
4.  Performance of Multi-City Land Use Regression Models for Nitrogen Dioxide and Fine Particles 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2014;122(8):843-849.
Background: Land use regression (LUR) models have been developed mostly to explain intraurban variations in air pollution based on often small local monitoring campaigns. Transferability of LUR models from city to city has been investigated, but little is known about the performance of models based on large numbers of monitoring sites covering a large area.
Objectives: We aimed to develop European and regional LUR models and to examine their transferability to areas not used for model development.
Methods: We evaluated LUR models for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM; PM2.5, PM2.5 absorbance) by combining standardized measurement data from 17 (PM) and 23 (NO2) ESCAPE (European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects) study areas across 14 European countries for PM and NO2. Models were evaluated with cross-validation (CV) and hold-out validation (HV). We investigated the transferability of the models by successively excluding each study area from model building.
Results: The European model explained 56% of the concentration variability across all sites for NO2, 86% for PM2.5, and 70% for PM2.5 absorbance. The HV R2s were only slightly lower than the model R2 (NO2, 54%; PM2.5, 80%; PM2.5 absorbance, 70%). The European NO2, PM2.5, and PM2.5 absorbance models explained a median of 59%, 48%, and 70% of within-area variability in individual areas. The transferred models predicted a modest-to-large fraction of variability in areas that were excluded from model building (median R2: NO2, 59%; PM2.5, 42%; PM2.5 absorbance, 67%).
Conclusions: Using a large data set from 23 European study areas, we were able to develop LUR models for NO2 and PM metrics that predicted measurements made at independent sites and areas reasonably well. This finding is useful for assessing exposure in health studies conducted in areas where no measurements were conducted.
Citation: Wang M, Beelen R, Bellander T, Birk M, Cesaroni G, Cirach M, Cyrys J, de Hoogh K, Declercq C, Dimakopoulou K, Eeftens M, Eriksen KT, Forastiere F, Galassi C, Grivas G, Heinrich J, Hoffmann B, Ineichen A, Korek M, Lanki T, Lindley S, Modig L, Mölter A, Nafstad P, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ, Nystad W, Olsson D, Raaschou-Nielsen O, Ragettli M, Ranzi A, Stempfelet M, Sugiri D, Tsai MY, Udvardy O, Varró MJ, Vienneau D, Weinmayr G, Wolf K, Yli-Tuomi T, Hoek G, Brunekreef B. 2014. Performance of multi-city land use regression models for nitrogen dioxide and fine particles. Environ Health Perspect 122:843–849;
PMCID: PMC4123024  PMID: 24787034
5.  GSTP1 and TNF Gene Variants and Associations between Air Pollution and Incident Childhood Asthma: The Traffic, Asthma and Genetics (TAG) Study 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2014;122(4):418-424.
Background: Genetics may partially explain observed heterogeneity in associations between traffic-related air pollution and incident asthma.
Objective: Our aim was to investigate the impact of gene variants associated with oxidative stress and inflammation on associations between air pollution and incident childhood asthma.
Methods: Traffic-related air pollution, asthma, wheeze, gene variant, and potential confounder data were pooled across six birth cohorts. Parents reported physician-diagnosed asthma and wheeze from birth to 7–8 years of age (confirmed by pediatric allergist in two cohorts). Individual estimates of annual average air pollution [nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particulate matter ≤ 2.5 μm (PM2.5), PM2.5 absorbance, ozone] were assigned to each child’s birth address using land use regression, atmospheric modeling, and ambient monitoring data. Effect modification by variants in GSTP1 (rs1138272/Ala114Val and rs1695/IIe105Val) and TNF (rs1800629/G-308A) was investigated.
Results: Data on asthma, wheeze, potential confounders, at least one SNP of interest, and NO2 were available for 5,115 children. GSTP1 rs1138272 and TNF rs1800629 SNPs were associated with asthma and wheeze, respectively. In relation to air pollution exposure, children with one or more GSTP1 rs1138272 minor allele were at increased risk of current asthma [odds ratio (OR) = 2.59; 95% CI: 1.43, 4.68 per 10 μg/m3 NO2] and ever asthma (OR = 1.64; 95% CI: 1.06, 2.53) compared with homozygous major allele carriers (OR = 0.95; 95% CI: 0.68, 1.32 for current and OR = 1.20; 95% CI: 0.98, 1.48 for ever asthma; Bonferroni-corrected interaction p = 0.04 and 0.01, respectively). Similarly, for GSTP1 rs1695, associations between NO2 and current and ever asthma had ORs of 1.43 (95% CI: 1.03, 1.98) and 1.36 (95% CI: 1.08, 1.70), respectively, for minor allele carriers compared with ORs of 0.82 (95% CI: 0.52, 1.32) and 1.12 (95% CI: 0.84, 1.49) for homozygous major allele carriers (Bonferroni-corrected interaction p-values 0.48 and 0.09). There were no clear differences by TNF genotype.
Conclusions: Children carrying GSTP1 rs1138272 or rs1695 minor alleles may constitute a susceptible population at increased risk of asthma associated with air pollution.
Citation: MacIntyre EA, Brauer M, Melén E, Bauer CP, Bauer M, Berdel D, Bergström A, Brunekreef B, Chan-Yeung M, Klümper C, Fuertes E, Gehring U, Gref A, Heinrich J, Herbarth O, Kerkhof M, Koppelman GH, Kozyrskyj AL, Pershagen G, Postma DS, Thiering E, Tiesler CM, Carlsten C, TAG Study Group. 2014. GSTP1 and TNF gene variants and associations between air pollution and incident childhood asthma: the traffic, asthma and genetics (TAG) Study. Environ Health Perspect 122:418–424;
PMCID: PMC3984232  PMID: 24465030
7.  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
8.  A ventilation intervention study in classrooms to improve indoor air quality: the FRESH study 
Environmental Health  2013;12:110.
Classroom ventilation rates often do not meet building standards, although it is considered to be important to improve indoor air quality. Poor indoor air quality is thought to influence both children’s health and performance. Poor ventilation in The Netherlands most often occurs in the heating season. To improve classroom ventilation a tailor made mechanical ventilation device was developed to improve outdoor air supply. This paper studies the effect of this intervention.
The FRESH study (Forced-ventilation Related Environmental School Health) was designed to investigate the effect of a CO2 controlled mechanical ventilation intervention on classroom CO2 levels using a longitudinal cross-over design. Target CO2 concentrations were 800 and 1200 parts per million (ppm), respectively. The study included 18 classrooms from 17 schools from the north-eastern part of The Netherlands, 12 experimental classrooms and 6 control classrooms. Data on indoor levels of CO2, temperature and relative humidity were collected during three consecutive weeks per school during the heating seasons of 2010–2012. Associations between the intervention and weekly average indoor CO2 levels, classroom temperature and relative humidity were assessed by means of mixed models with random school-effects.
At baseline, mean CO2 concentration for all schools was 1335 ppm (range: 763–2000 ppm). The intervention was able to significantly decrease CO2 levels in the intervention classrooms (F (2,10) = 17.59, p < 0.001), with a mean decrease of 491 ppm. With the target set at 800 ppm, mean CO2 was 841 ppm (range: 743–925 ppm); with the target set at 1200 ppm, mean CO2 was 975 ppm (range: 887–1077 ppm).
Although the device was not capable of precisely achieving the two predefined levels of CO2, our study showed that classroom CO2 levels can be reduced by intervening on classroom ventilation using a CO2 controlled mechanical ventilation system.
PMCID: PMC3893609  PMID: 24345039
Ventilation; Schools; Carbon dioxide; Indoor air quality; Intervention
9.  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
10.  Ambient Air Pollution and Preeclampsia: A Spatiotemporal Analysis 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2013;121(11-12):1365-1371.
Background: Available evidence concerning the association between air pollution and preeclampsia is limited, and specific associations with early- and late-onset preeclampsia have not been assessed.
Objectives: We investigated the association, if any, between preeclampsia (all, early-, and late-onset) and exposure to nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter ≤ 2.5 μm (PM2.5; fine particles), ≤ 10 μm, and 2.5–10 μm, and PM2.5 light absorption (a proxy for elemental carbon) during the entire pregnancy and during the first, second, and third trimesters.
Methods: This study was based on 8,398 pregnancies (including 103 cases of preeclampsia) among women residing in Barcelona, Spain (2000–2005). We applied a spatiotemporal exposure assessment framework using land use regression models to predict ambient pollutant levels during each week of pregnancy at the geocoded residence address of each woman at the time of birth. Logistic and conditional logistic regression models were used to estimate unadjusted and adjusted associations.
Results: We found positive associations for most of our evaluated outcome–exposure pairs, with the strongest associations observed for preeclampsia and late-onset preeclampsia in relation to the third-trimester exposure to fine particulate pollutants, and for early-onset preeclampsia in relation to the first-trimester exposure to fine particulate pollutants. Among our investigated associations, those of first- and third-trimester exposures to PM2.5 and third-trimester exposure to PM2.5 absorbance and all preeclampsia, and third-trimester PM2.5 exposure and late-onset preeclampsia attained statistical significance.
Conclusion: We observed increased risk of preeclampsia associated with exposure to fine particulate air pollution. Our findings, in combination with previous evidence suggesting distinct pathogenic mechanisms for early- and late-onset preeclampsia, support additional research on this topic.
Citation: Dadvand P, Figueras F, Basagaña X, Beelen R, Martinez D, Cirach M, Schembari A, Hoek G, Brunekreef B, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ. 2013. Ambient air pollution and preeclampsia: a spatiotemporal analysis. Environ Health Perspect 121:1365–1371;
PMCID: PMC3855505  PMID: 24021707
11.  Long-term air pollution exposure and cardio- respiratory mortality: a review 
Environmental Health  2013;12:43.
Current day concentrations of ambient air pollution have been associated with a range of adverse health effects, particularly mortality and morbidity due to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. In this review, we summarize the evidence from epidemiological studies on long-term exposure to fine and coarse particles, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and elemental carbon on mortality from all-causes, cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease. We also summarize the findings on potentially susceptible subgroups across studies. We identified studies through a search in the databases Medline and Scopus and previous reviews until January 2013 and performed a meta-analysis if more than five studies were available for the same exposure metric.
There is a significant number of new studies on long-term air pollution exposure, covering a wider geographic area, including Asia. These recent studies support associations found in previous cohort studies on PM2.5. The pooled effect estimate expressed as excess risk per 10 μg/m3 increase in PM2.5 exposure was 6% (95% CI 4, 8%) for all-cause and 11% (95% CI 5, 16%) for cardiovascular mortality. Long-term exposure to PM2.5 was more associated with mortality from cardiovascular disease (particularly ischemic heart disease) than from non-malignant respiratory diseases (pooled estimate 3% (95% CI −6, 13%)). Significant heterogeneity in PM2.5 effect estimates was found across studies, likely related to differences in particle composition, infiltration of particles indoors, population characteristics and methodological differences in exposure assessment and confounder control. All-cause mortality was significantly associated with elemental carbon (pooled estimate per 1 μg/m3 6% (95% CI 5, 7%)) and NO2 (pooled estimate per 10 μg/m3 5% (95% CI 3, 8%)), both markers of combustion sources. There was little evidence for an association between long term coarse particulate matter exposure and mortality, possibly due to the small number of studies and limitations in exposure assessment. Across studies, there was little evidence for a stronger association among women compared to men. In subjects with lower education and obese subjects a larger effect estimate for mortality related to fine PM was found, though the evidence for differences related to education has been weakened in more recent studies.
PMCID: PMC3679821  PMID: 23714370
Air pollution; Mortality; Motorized traffic; Cardiovascular; Respiratory; Particles
12.  Composition of PM Affects Acute Vascular Inflammatory and Coagulative Markers - The RAPTES Project 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58944.
Exposure to ambient particulate matter (PM) has been associated with adverse cardiovascular effects in epidemiological studies. Current knowledge of independent effects of individual PM characteristics remains limited.
Using a semi-experimental design we investigated which PM characteristics were consistently associated with blood biomarkers believed to be predictive of the risk of cardiovascular events. We exposed healthy adult volunteers at 5 different locations chosen to provide PM exposure contrasts with reduced correlations among PM characteristics. Each of the 31 volunteers was exposed for 5 h, exercising intermittently, 3–7 times at different sites from March to October 2009. Extensive on-site exposure characterization included measurements of PM mass and number concentration, elemental- (EC) and organic carbon (OC), trace metals, sulfate, nitrate, and PM oxidative potential (OP). Before and 2 h and 18 h after exposure we measured acute vascular blood biomarkers - C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, platelet counts, von Willebrand Factor, and tissue plasminogen activator/plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 complex. We used two-pollutant models to assess which PM characteristics were most consistently associated with the measured biomarkers.
Results and Conclusion
We found OC, nitrate and sulfate to be most consistently associated with different biomarkers of acute cardiovascular risk. Associations with PM mass concentrations and OP were less consistent, whereas other measured components of the air pollution mixture, including PNC, EC, trace metals and NO2, were not associated with the biomarkers after adjusting for other pollutants.
PMCID: PMC3596332  PMID: 23516583
13.  Environmental exposure assessment in European birth cohorts: results from the ENRIECO project 
Environmental Health  2013;12:8.
Environmental exposures during pregnancy and early life may have adverse health effects. Single birth cohort studies often lack statistical power to tease out such effects reliably. To improve the use of existing data and to facilitate collaboration among these studies, an inventory of the environmental exposure and health data in these studies was made as part of the ENRIECO (Environmental Health Risks in European Birth Cohorts) project. The focus with regard to exposure was on outdoor air pollution, water contamination, allergens and biological organisms, metals, pesticides, smoking and second hand tobacco smoke (SHS), persistent organic pollutants (POPs), noise, radiation, and occupational exposures. The review lists methods and data on environmental exposures in 37 European birth cohort studies. Most data is currently available for smoking and SHS (N=37 cohorts), occupational exposures (N=33), outdoor air pollution, and allergens and microbial agents (N=27). Exposure modeling is increasingly used for long-term air pollution exposure assessment; biomonitoring is used for assessment of exposure to metals, POPs and other chemicals; and environmental monitoring for house dust mite exposure assessment. Collaborative analyses with data from several birth cohorts have already been performed successfully for outdoor air pollution, water contamination, allergens, biological contaminants, molds, POPs and SHS. Key success factors for collaborative analyses are common definitions of main exposure and health variables. Our review emphasizes that such common definitions need ideally be arrived at in the study design phase. However, careful comparison of methods used in existing studies also offers excellent opportunities for collaborative analyses. Investigators can use this review to evaluate the potential for future collaborative analyses with respect to data availability and methods used in the different cohorts and to identify potential partners for a specific research question.
PMCID: PMC3564791  PMID: 23343014
Environment; Europe; Exposure assessment; Birth cohort; Review
15.  BMI and Waist Circumference; Cross-Sectional and Prospective Associations with Blood Pressure and Cholesterol in 12-Year-Olds 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51801.
Childhood and adolescent overweight, defined by body mass index (BMI) are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in later life. Abdominal adiposity may be more important in associations with cardiovascular diseases but waist circumference (WC) has been rarely studied in children. We studied associations between BMI and WC and blood pressure (BP) and cholesterol in 12-year-old children and prospectively changes in BMI or WC status between age 8 and 12 years and BP and cholesterol at age 12.
Study Design
Weight, height, WC, BP and cholesterol concentrations were measured in 1432 children at age 12 years. Linear regression was used to study the associations between high BMI and large WC (>90th percentile) and BP and cholesterol.
Systolic BP was 4.9 mmHg higher (95% (CI 2.5, 7.2) in girls and 4.2 mmHg (95%CI 1.9, 6.5) in boys with a high BMI. Large WC was also associated with higher systolic BP in girls (3.7 mmHg (95%CI 1.3, 6.1)) and boys (3.5 mmHg (95%CI 1.2, 5.8)). Diastolic BP and cholesterol concentrations were significantly positively (HDL cholesterol negatively) associated with high BMI and large WC, too. Normal weight children with a history of overweight did not have higher blood pressure levels or adverse cholesterol concentrations than children that were normal weight at both ages.
A high BMI and large WC were associated with higher BP levels and adverse cholesterol concentrations. WC should be taken into account when examining cardiovascular risk factors in children.
PMCID: PMC3522600  PMID: 23251628
16.  Satellite-based Estimates of Ambient Air Pollution and Global Variations in Childhood Asthma Prevalence 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2012;120(9):1333-1339.
Background: The effect of ambient air pollution on global variations and trends in asthma prevalence is unclear.
Objectives: Our goal was to investigate community-level associations between asthma prevalence data from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) and satellite-based estimates of particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter < 2.5 µm (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and modelled estimates of ozone.
Methods: We assigned satellite-based estimates of PM2.5 and NO2 at a spatial resolution of 0.1° × 0.1° and modeled estimates of ozone at a resolution of 1° × 1° to 183 ISAAC centers. We used center-level prevalence of severe asthma as the outcome and multilevel models to adjust for gross national income (GNI) and center- and country-level sex, climate, and population density. We examined associations (adjusting for GNI) between air pollution and asthma prevalence over time in centers with data from ISAAC Phase One (mid-1900s) and Phase Three (2001–2003).
Results: For the 13- to 14-year age group (128 centers in 28 countries), the estimated average within-country change in center-level asthma prevalence per 100 children per 10% increase in center-level PM2.5 and NO2 was –0.043 [95% confidence interval (CI): –0.139, 0.053] and 0.017 (95% CI: –0.030, 0.064) respectively. For ozone the estimated change in prevalence per parts per billion by volume was –0.116 (95% CI: –0.234, 0.001). Equivalent results for the 6- to 7-year age group (83 centers in 20 countries), though slightly different, were not significantly positive. For the 13- to 14-year age group, change in center-level asthma prevalence over time per 100 children per 10% increase in PM2.5 from Phase One to Phase Three was –0.139 (95% CI: –0.347, 0.068). The corresponding association with ozone (per ppbV) was –0.171 (95% CI: –0.275, –0.067).
Conclusion: In contrast to reports from within-community studies of individuals exposed to traffic pollution, we did not find evidence of a positive association between ambient air pollution and asthma prevalence as measured at the community level.
PMCID: PMC3440118  PMID: 22548921
air pollution; asthma prevalence; children; epidemiology; global; nitrogen dioxide; ozone; particulate matter; satellite observations
17.  Does Pet Ownership in Infancy Lead to Asthma or Allergy at School Age? Pooled Analysis of Individual Participant Data from 11 European Birth Cohorts 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43214.
To examine the associations between pet keeping in early childhood and asthma and allergies in children aged 6–10 years.
Pooled analysis of individual participant data of 11 prospective European birth cohorts that recruited a total of over 22,000 children in the 1990s.
Exposure definition
Ownership of only cats, dogs, birds, rodents, or cats/dogs combined during the first 2 years of life.
Outcome definition
Current asthma (primary outcome), allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis and allergic sensitization during 6–10 years of age.
Data synthesis
Three-step approach: (i) Common definition of outcome and exposure variables across cohorts; (ii) calculation of adjusted effect estimates for each cohort; (iii) pooling of effect estimates by using random effects meta-analysis models.
We found no association between furry and feathered pet keeping early in life and asthma in school age. For example, the odds ratio for asthma comparing cat ownership with “no pets” (10 studies, 11489 participants) was 1.00 (95% confidence interval 0.78 to 1.28) (I2 = 9%; p = 0.36). The odds ratio for asthma comparing dog ownership with “no pets” (9 studies, 11433 participants) was 0.77 (0.58 to 1.03) (I2 = 0%, p = 0.89). Owning both cat(s) and dog(s) compared to “no pets” resulted in an odds ratio of 1.04 (0.59 to 1.84) (I2 = 33%, p = 0.18). Similarly, for allergic asthma and for allergic rhinitis we did not find associations regarding any type of pet ownership early in life. However, we found some evidence for an association between ownership of furry pets during the first 2 years of life and reduced likelihood of becoming sensitized to aero-allergens.
Pet ownership in early life did not appear to either increase or reduce the risk of asthma or allergic rhinitis symptoms in children aged 6–10. Advice from health care practitioners to avoid or to specifically acquire pets for primary prevention of asthma or allergic rhinitis in children should not be given.
PMCID: PMC3430634  PMID: 22952649
18.  Respiratory Health Effects of Airborne Particulate Matter: The Role of Particle Size, Composition, and Oxidative Potential—The RAPTES Project 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2012;120(8):1183-1189.
Background: Specific characteristics of particulate matter (PM) responsible for associations with respiratory health observed in epidemiological studies are not well established. High correlations among, and differential measurement errors of, individual components contribute to this uncertainty.
Objectives: We investigated which characteristics of PM have the most consistent associations with acute changes in respiratory function in healthy volunteers.
Methods: We used a semiexperimental design to accurately assess exposure. We increased exposure contrast and reduced correlations among PM characteristics by exposing volunteers at five different locations: an underground train station, two traffic sites, a farm, and an urban background site. Each of the 31 participants was exposed for 5 hr while exercising intermittently, three to seven times at different locations during March–October 2009. We measured PM10, PM2.5, particle number concentrations (PNC), absorbance, elemental/organic carbon, trace metals, secondary inorganic components, endotoxin content, gaseous pollutants, and PM oxidative potential. Lung function [FEV1 (forced expiratory volume in 1 sec), FVC (forced vital capacity), FEF25–75 (forced expiratory flow at 25–75% of vital capacity), and PEF (peak expiratory flow)] and fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FENO) were measured before and at three time points after exposure. Data were analyzed with mixed linear regression.
Results: An interquartile increase in PNC (33,000 particles/cm3) was associated with an 11% [95% confidence interval (CI): 5, 17%] and 12% (95% CI: 6, 17%) FENO increase over baseline immediately and at 2 hr postexposure, respectively. A 7% (95% CI: 0.5, 14%) increase persisted until the following morning. These associations were robust and insensitive to adjustment for other pollutants. Similarly consistent associations were seen between FVC and FEV1 with PNC, NO2 (nitrogen dioxide), and NOx (nitrogen oxides).
Conclusions: Changes in PNC, NO2, and NOx were associated with evidence of acute airway inflammation (i.e., FENO) and impaired lung function. PM mass concentration and PM10 oxidative potential were not predictive of the observed acute responses.
PMCID: PMC3440077  PMID: 22552951
air pollution; experimental exposure; FENO; FEV1; FVC; oxidative potential; PM; ultrafine particles
19.  BMI Development of Normal Weight and Overweight Children in the PIAMA Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39517.
There is evidence that rapid weight gain during the first year of life is associated with overweight later in life. However, results from studies exploring other critical periods for the development of overweight are inconsistent.
The objective was to investigate BMI development to assess at what ages essential differences between normal weight and overweight children occur, and to assess which age intervals the most strongly influence the risk of overweight at 8 years of age.
Longitudinal weight and height data were collected by annual questionnaires in a population of 3963 children participating in the PIAMA birth cohort study. BMI and BMI standard deviation scores (SDS) were calculated for every year from birth until 8 years of age. BMI, BMI SDS and BMI SDS change in each 1-year-age interval were compared between children with and without overweight at 8 years of age, using t-tests, logistic regression analysis and the analysis of response profiles method.
At 8 years of age, 10.5% of the children were overweight. Already at the age of 1 year, these children had a significantly higher mean BMI SDS than normal weight 8-year-olds, (0.53 vs 0.04). In each 1-year-age interval the change in BMI SDS was significantly associated with overweight at 8 years with odds ratios increasing from 1.14 (95% CI 1.04–1.24) per 1 SDS increase at 0–1 year to 2.40 (95% CI 2.09–2.76) at 7–8 years.
At every age, starting already in the first year of life, a rapid increase in BMI SDS was significantly associated with overweight risk at the age of 8 years. There was no evidence for a specific critical period for the development of overweight. Prevention of overweight should start early in life and be continued with age-specific interventions throughout childhood.
PMCID: PMC3386269  PMID: 22761811
20.  Contrasts in Oxidative Potential and Other Particulate Matter Characteristics Collected Near Major Streets and Background Locations 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2011;120(2):185-191.
Background: Measuring the oxidative potential of airborne particulate matter (PM) may provide a more health-based exposure measure by integrating various biologically relevant properties of PM into a single predictor of biological activity.
Objectives: We aimed to assess the contrast in oxidative potential of PM collected at major urban streets and background locations, the associaton of oxidative potential with other PM characteristics, and the oxidative potential in different PM size fractions.
Methods: Measurements of PM with aerodynamic diameter ≤ 10 μm (PM10), PM with aerodynamic diameter ≤ 2.5 μm (PM2.5), soot, elemental composition, and oxidative potential of PM were conducted simultaneously in samples from 8 major streets and 10 urban and suburban background locations in the Netherlands. Six 1-week measurements were performed at each location over a 6-month period in 2008. Oxidative potential was measured as the ability to generate hydroxyl radicals in the presence of hydrogen peroxide in all PM10 samples and a subset of PM2.5 samples.
Results: The PM10 oxidative potential of samples from major streets was 3.6 times higher than at urban background locations, exceeding the contrast for PM mass, soot, and all measured chemical PM characteristics. The contrast between major streets and suburban background locations was even higher (factor of 6.5). Oxidative potential was highly correlated with soot, barium, chromium, copper, iron, and manganese. Oxidative potential of PM10 was 4.6 times higher than the oxidative potential of PM2.5 when expressed per volume unit and 3.1 times higher when expressed per mass unit.
Conclusions: The oxidative potential of PM near major urban roads was highly elevated compared with urban and suburban background locations, and the contrast was greater than that for any other measured PM characteristic.
PMCID: PMC3279435  PMID: 22015682
background locations; metals; oxidative potential; particulate matter; urban streets
21.  Black Carbon as an Additional Indicator of the Adverse Health Effects of Airborne Particles Compared with PM10 and PM2.5 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2011;119(12):1691-1699.
Background: Current air quality standards for particulate matter (PM) use the PM mass concentration [PM with aerodynamic diameters ≤ 10 μm (PM10) or ≤ 2.5 μm (PM2.5)] as a metric. It has been suggested that particles from combustion sources are more relevant to human health than are particles from other sources, but the impact of policies directed at reducing PM from combustion processes is usually relatively small when effects are estimated for a reduction in the total mass concentration.
Objectives: We evaluated the value of black carbon particles (BCP) as an additional indicator in air quality management.
Methods: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of health effects of BCP compared with PM mass based on data from time-series studies and cohort studies that measured both exposures. We compared the potential health benefits of a hypothetical traffic abatement measure, using near-roadway concentration increments of BCP and PM2.5 based on data from prior studies.
Results: Estimated health effects of a 1-μg/m3 increase in exposure were greater for BCP than for PM10 or PM2.5, but estimated effects of an interquartile range increase were similar. Two-pollutant models in time-series studies suggested that the effect of BCP was more robust than the effect of PM mass. The estimated increase in life expectancy associated with a hypothetical traffic abatement measure was four to nine times higher when expressed in BCP compared with an equivalent change in PM2.5 mass.
Conclusion: BCP is a valuable additional air quality indicator to evaluate the health risks of air quality dominated by primary combustion particles.
PMCID: PMC3261976  PMID: 21810552
air quality management; black carbon; combustion particles; health effects; particulate matter; review
22.  In-Traffic Air Pollution Exposure and CC16, Blood Coagulation, and Inflammation Markers in Healthy Adults 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2011;119(10):1384-1389.
Background: Exposure to traffic-related air pollution is a risk factor for cardiovascular events, probably involving mechanisms of inflammation and coagulation. Little is known about effects of the short exposures encountered while participating in traffic.
Objectives: The objective of the study was to examine effects of exposure of commuters to air pollution on cardiovascular biomarkers.
Methods: Thirty-four healthy adult volunteers commuted for 2 hr by bus, car, or bicycle during the morning rush hour. During the commute, exposure to particle number, particulate matter (PM) ≤ 2.5 µm in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5), PM ≤ 10 µm in diameter (PM10), and soot was measured. We estimated inhaled doses based on heart rate monitoring. Shortly before exposure and 6 hr after exposure, blood samples were taken and analyzed for CC16 (Clara cell protein 16), blood cell count, coagulation markers, and inflammation markers. Between June 2007 and June 2008, 352 pre- and postexposure blood samples were collected on 47 test days. We used mixed models to analyze the associations between exposure and changes in health parameters.
Results: We observed no consistent associations between the air pollution exposures and doses and the various biomarkers that we investigated.
Conclusions: Air pollution exposure during commuting was not consistently associated with acute changes in inflammation markers, blood cell counts, or blood coagulation markers.
PMCID: PMC3230432  PMID: 21665568
air epidemiology; Clara cell protein 16; coagulation; inflammation; interleukins; outdoor air; particulate matter; ultrafine particles
23.  Acute Respiratory Inflammation in Children and Black Carbon in Ambient Air before and during the 2008 Beijing Olympics 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2011;119(10):1507-1512.
Background: Epidemiologic evidence for a causative association between black carbon (BC) and health outcomes is limited.
Objectives: We estimated associations and exposure–response relationships between acute respiratory inflammation in schoolchildren and concentrations of BC and particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of ≤ 2.5 μm (PM2.5) in ambient air before and during the air pollution intervention for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Methods: We measured exhaled nitric oxide (eNO) as an acute respiratory inflammation biomarker and hourly mean air pollutant concentrations to estimate BC and PM2.5 exposure. We used 1,581 valid observations of 36 subjects over five visits in 2 years to estimate associations of eNO with BC and PM2.5 according to generalized estimating equations with polynomial distributed-lag models, controlling for body mass index, asthma, temperature, and relative humidity. We also assessed the relative importance of BC and PM2.5 with two-pollutant models.
Results: Air pollution concentrations and eNO were clearly lower during the 2008 Olympics. BC and PM2.5 concentrations averaged over 0–24 hr were strongly associated with eNO, which increased by 16.6% [95% confidence interval (CI), 14.1–19.2%] and 18.7% (95% CI, 15.0–22.5%) per interquartile range (IQR) increase in BC (4.0 μg/m3) and PM2.5 (149 μg/m3), respectively. In the two-pollutant model, estimated effects of BC were robust, but associations between PM2.5 and eNO decreased with adjustment for BC. We found that eNO was associated with IQR increases in hourly BC concentrations up to 10 hr after exposure, consistent with effects primarily in the first hours after exposure.
Conclusions: Recent exposure to BC was associated with acute respiratory inflammation in schoolchildren in Beijing. Lower air pollution levels during the 2008 Olympics also were associated with reduced eNO.
PMCID: PMC3230448  PMID: 21642045
air pollution intervention; black carbon; nitric oxide; PM2.5; respiratory inflammation; schoolchildren
24.  Early-Life Determinants of Total and HDL Cholesterol Concentrations in 8-Year-Old Children; The PIAMA Birth Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e25533.
Adult cholesterol concentrations might be influenced by early-life factors, such as breastfeeding and birth weight, referred to as “early programming”. How such early factors exert their influence over the life course is still poorly understood. Evidence from studies in children and adolescents is scarce and conflicting. We investigated the influence of 6 different perinatal risk factors on childhood total and HDL cholesterol concentrations and total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio measured at 8 years of age, and additionally we studied the role of the child's current Body Mass Index (BMI).
Anthropometric measures and blood plasma samples were collected during a medical examination in 751 8-year-old children participating in the prospective Prevention and Incidence of Asthma and Mite Allergy (PIAMA) birth cohort study. Linear and logistic regression were performed to estimate associations of total and HDL cholesterol concentrations with breastfeeding, birth weight, infant weight gain, maternal overweight before pregnancy, gestational diabetes and maternal smoking during pregnancy, taking into account the child's current BMI.
Linear regressions showed an association between total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio and maternal pre-pregnancy overweight (β = 0.15, Confidence Interval 95% (CI): 0.02, 0.28), rapid infant weight gain (β = 0.13, 95%CI: 0.01, 0.26), and maternal smoking during pregnancy (β = 0.14, 95%CI: 0.00, 0.29). These associations were partly mediated by the child's BMI.
Total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio in 8-year-old children was positively associated with maternal pre-pregnancy overweight, maternal smoking during pregnancy and rapid infant weight gain.
PMCID: PMC3181258  PMID: 21980486
25.  Long-term Exposure to Traffic-related Air Pollution and Type 2 Diabetes Prevalence in a Cross-sectional Screening-study in the Netherlands 
Environmental Health  2011;10:76.
Air pollution may promote type 2 diabetes by increasing adipose inflammation and insulin resistance. This study examined the relation between long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution and type 2 diabetes prevalence among 50- to 75-year-old subjects living in Westfriesland, the Netherlands.
Participants were recruited in a cross-sectional diabetes screening-study conducted between 1998 and 2000. Exposure to traffic-related air pollution was characterized at the participants' home-address. Indicators of exposure were land use regression modeled nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentration, distance to the nearest main road, traffic flow at the nearest main road and traffic in a 250 m circular buffer. Crude and age-, gender- and neighborhood income adjusted associations were examined by logistic regression.
8,018 participants were included, of whom 619 (8%) subjects had type 2 diabetes. Smoothed plots of exposure versus type 2 diabetes supported some association with traffic in a 250 m buffer (the highest three quartiles compared to the lowest also showed increased prevalence, though non-significant and not increasing with increasing quartile), but not with the other exposure metrics. Modeled NO2-concentration, distance to the nearest main road and traffic flow at the nearest main road were not associated with diabetes. Exposure-response relations seemed somewhat more pronounced for women than for men (non-significant).
We did not find consistent associations between type 2 diabetes prevalence and exposure to traffic-related air pollution, though there were some indications for a relation with traffic in a 250 m buffer.
PMCID: PMC3200985  PMID: 21888674
50-75 yrs; general population; long term; the Netherlands; traffic related air pollution; type 2 diabetes

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