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Evaluation and Application of Alternative Air Pollution Exposure Metrics in Air Pollution Epidemiology Studies
Ozkaynak, H., L. Baxter, AND J. Burke. Evaluation and Application of Alternative Air Pollution Exposure Metrics in Air Pollution Epidemiology Studies. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology . Nature Publishing Group, London, Uk, 23:566-572, (2013).
ABSTRACT: Periodic review, revision and subsequent implementation of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for criteria air pollutants rely upon various types of scientific air quality, exposure, toxicological dose-response and epidemiological information. Exposure assessment plays a pivotal role in the evaluation of concentration-effects relationships for air pollutants during both the standard setting process and in the selection of optimal risk mitigation strategies. In the past, epidemiological studies of air pollution have traditionally relied upon surrogates of personal exposures, such as ambient concentration measurements from fixed-site monitors. However, these central site based exposure surrogates may not adequately capture the spatial and temporal variability of ambient pollutant concentrations, or account for exposures in different microenvironments (e.g. indoors and in-vehicle). The 11 research articles published in this special issue of the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology (JESEE) compare the performance of a variety of alternative exposure metrics developed for particulate matter and gaseous pollutants, in the context of their applications to existing epidemiological health databases. The majority of the research reported in this issue involved collaborations between the scientists from EPA and various academic, federal and state institutions. This Special of JESEE contains research articles that evaluate alternative exposure metrics derived using a wide variety of approaches ranging from central site or interpolated monitoring data to population-based human exposure models. Various health outcomes including daily mortality and different types of morbidity data from NYC, Atlanta and Cleveland were considered. Results show that when compared to use of central-site monitoring data, the enhanced spatial resolution in air quality or exposure predictions can sometimes influence pollutant-specific health effect estimates. The utility of these enhanced exposure assessment approaches depends on the influence of infiltration and human activity patterns on the pollutant concentrations, the spatial and temporal patterns of the pollutants of interest, and the form of the epidemiological study design chosen (e.g., time-series or cross-sectional designs). For future health effects investigations, we recommend the development of pollutant-specific infiltration data, improved characterization of human time-activity patterns, and refined prediction methods for exposures to local sources. Finally, in order to produce more reliable or relevant results for both research and regulatory use, authors suggest forming a strong and sustained collaboration between the exposure scientists and epidemiologists, starting from the study planning phase.
The one page Editorial being submitted to JESEE will serve as a brief overview of the research described in the following 11 articles in the same Special Issue of JESEE, on the topic of "Evaluation and Application of Alternative Air Pollution Exposure Metrics in Air Pollution Epidemiology Studies". The Editorial summarizes the key findings from this collection of articles and the role and importance of considering alternative and enhanced exposure metrics than those typically used in air pollution epidemiology studies (i.e., central site monitoring data). The authors recommend that future health effects investigations consider the development of pollutant-specific infiltration data, improved characterization of human time-activity patterns, and refined prediction methods for exposures to local sources. The authors also suggest that in order to produce more reliable or relevant results for both research and regulatory use in the future, forming a strong and sustained collaboration between the exposure scientists and epidemiologists, starting from the study planning phase. The impact of developing and using enhanced exposure tools that meets the specific needs of each health effects investigations will improve future regulatory and research programs of EPA.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LAB
NERL-OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR