EPA Science Inventory

Clustering cities with similar fine particulate matter exposure characteristics based on infiltration and in-vehicle commuting factors

Citation:

Baxter, L. AND J. Sacks. Clustering cities with similar fine particulate matter exposure characteristics based on infiltration and in-vehicle commuting factors. SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT. Elsevier BV, AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, 470:631-638, (2014).

Description:

Epidemiological studies have observed between city heterogeneity in PM2.5-mortality risk estimates. These differences could potentially be due to the use of central-site monitors as a surrogate for exposure which do not account for an individual's activities or ambient pollutant infiltration to the indoor environment. Therefore, relying solely on central-site monitoring data introduces exposure error in the epidemiological analysis. The amount of exposure error produced by using the central-site monitoring data may differ by city. The objective of this analysis was to cluster cities with similar exposure distributions based on residential infiltration and invehicle commuting characteristics. Factors related to residential infiltration and commuting were developed from the American Housing Survey (AHS) from 2001 to 2005 for 94 Core-Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs). We conducted two separate cluster analyses using a k-means clustering algorithm to cluster CBSAs based on these factors. The first only included residential infiltration factors (i.e. percent of homes with central air conditioning (AC) mean year home was built, and mean home size) while the second incorporated both infiltration and commuting (i.e. mean invehicle commuting time and mean in-vehicle commuting distance) factors. Clustering on residential infiltration factors resulted in 5 clusters,with twohaving distinct exposure distributions. Cluster 1 consisted of cities with older, smaller homes with less central AC while homes in Cluster 2 cities were newer, larger, and more likely to have central AC. Including commuting factors resulted in 10 clusters. Clusters with shorter in-vehicle commuting times had shorter in-vehicle commuting distances. Cities with newer homes also tended to have longer commuting times and distances. This is the first study to employ cluster analysis to group cities based on exposure factors. Identifying cities with similar exposure distributions may help explain city-to-city heterogeneity in PM2.5 mortality risk estimates.

Purpose/Objective:

The National Exposure Research Laboratory′s (NERL′s) Human Exposure and Atmospheric Sciences Division (HEASD) conducts research in support of EPA′s mission to protect human health and the environment. HEASD′s research program supports Goal 1 (Clean Air) and Goal 4 (Healthy People) of EPA′s strategic plan. More specifically, our division conducts research to characterize the movement of pollutants from the source to contact with humans. Our multidisciplinary research program produces Methods, Measurements, and Models to identify relationships between and characterize processes that link source emissions, environmental concentrations, human exposures, and target-tissue dose. The impact of these tools is improved regulatory programs and policies for EPA.

URLs/Downloads:

BAXTER CLUSTERS PAPER FOR SCI REVISION CLEAN FINAL.PDF   (PDF,NA pp, 120 KB,  about PDF)

Science of the Total Environment   Exit

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Start Date: 01/14/2014
Completion Date: 01/14/2014
Record Last Revised: 01/14/2014
Record Created: 01/14/2014
Record Released: 01/14/2014
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 266539

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LAB

HUMAN EXPOSURE AND ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES DIVISION

EXPOSURE MODELING RESEARCH BRANCH