Science with Pure New Zealand Air


Addressing Global Mortality from Ambient PM2.5

Ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) has a large and well-documented global burden of disease. Our analysis uses high-resolution (10 km, global-coverage) concentration data and cause-specific integrated exposure-response (IER) functions developed for the Global Burden of Disease 2010 to assess how regional and global improvements in ambient air quality could reduce attributable mortality from PM2.5. Overall, an aggressive global program of PM2.5 mitigation in line with WHO interim guidelines could avoid 750 000 (23%) of the 3.2 million deaths per year currently (ca. 2010) attributable to ambient PM2.5

The contribution of outdoor air pollution sources to premature mortality on a global scale

Assessment of the global burden of disease is based on epidemiological cohort studies that connect premature mortality to a wide range of causes1-5, including the long-term health impacts of ozone and fine particulate matter with a diameter smaller than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) 3-9. It has proved difficult to quantify premature mortality related to air pollution, notably in regions where air quality is not monitored, and also because the toxicity of particles from various sources may vary10. Here we use a global atmospheric chemistry model to investigate the link between premature mortality and seven emission source categories in urban and rural environments. In accord with the global burden of disease for 2010 (ref. 5), we calculate that outdoor air pollution, mostly by PM2.5, leads to 3.3 (95 percent confidence interval 1.61-4.81) million premature deaths per year worldwide,
predominantly in Asia.

Associations of short-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution with cardiovascular and respiratory hospital admissions in London, UK

The findings point towards short-term exposure to exhaust rather than non-exhaust-related pollutants as the ones mostly associated with adverse effects on morbidity, previously attributed to traffic-related pollutants. As diesel-powered engines are the main urban source of EC and BC, which presented the most consistent indications, actions to further abate diesel emissions should be prioritised as part of policy measures for protection of public health. However, our results in respect to CO also suggest that there should also be stricter control of emissions from petrol combustion. The role of non-exhaust sources remains a concern however and more extensive monitoring of traffic pollution in urban centres is required to further elucidate the associations.