Browsing by Subject "Air pollution"

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  • Halonen, Jaana I.; Erhola, Marina; Furman, Eeva; Haahtela, Tari; Jousilahti, Pekka; Barouki, Robert; Bergman, Åke; Billo, Nils E.; Fuller, Richard; Haines, Andrew; Kogevinas, Manolis; Kolossa-Gehring, Marike; Krauze, Kinga; Lanki, Timo; Vicente, Joana Lobo; Messerli, Peter; Nieuwenhuijsen, Mark; Paloniemi, Riikka; Peters, Annette; Posch, Karl-Heinz; Timonen, Pekka; Vermeulen, Roel; Virtanen, Suvi M.; Bousquet, Jean; Antó, Josep M. (2021)
    In 2015, the Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission launched a report introducing a novel approach called Planetary Health and proposed a concept, a strategy and a course of action. To discuss the concept of Planetary Health in the context of Europe, a conference entitled: “Europe That Protects: Safeguarding Our Planet, Safeguarding Our Health” was held in Helsinki in December 2019. The conference participants concluded with a need for action to support Planetary Health during the 2020s. The Helsinki Declaration emphasizes the urgency to act as scientific evidence shows that human activities are causing climate change, biodiversity loss, land degradation, overuse of natural resources and pollution. They threaten the health and safety of human kind. Global, regional, national, local and individual initiatives are called for and multidisciplinary and multisectorial actions and measures are needed. A framework for an action plan is suggested that can be modified for local needs. Accordingly, a shift from fragmented approaches to policy and practice towards systematic actions will promote human health and health of the planet. Systems thinking will feed into conserving nature and biodiversity, and into halting climate change. The Planetary Health paradigm ‒ the health of human civilization and the state of natural systems on which it depends ‒ must become the driver for all policies.
  • Viippola, Viljami; Yli-Pelkonen, Vesa; Järvi, Leena; Kulmala, Markku; Setälä, Heikki (2020)
    Trees and other vegetation have been advocated as a mitigation measure for urban air pollution mainly due to the fact that they passively filter particles from the air. However, mounting evidence suggests that vegetation may also worsen air quality by slowing the dispersion of pollutants and by producing volatile organic compounds that contribute to formation of ozone and other secondary pollutants. We monitored nanoparticle (>10 nm) counts along distance gradients away from major roads along paired transects across open and forested landscapes in Baltimore (USA), Helsinki (Finland) and Shenyang (China) − i.e. sites in three biomes with different pollution levels − using condensation particle counters. Mean particle number concentrations averaged across all sampling sites were clearly reduced (15 %) by the presence of forest cover only in Helsinki. For Baltimore and Shenyang, levels showed no significant difference between the open and forested transects at any of the sampling distances. This suggests that nanoparticle deposition on trees is often counterbalanced by other factors, including differing flow fields and aerosol processes under varying meteorological conditions. Similarly, consistent differences in high frequency data patterns between the transects were detected only in Helsinki. No correlations between nanoparticle concentrations and solar radiation or local wind speed as affecting nanoparticle abundances were found, but they were to some extent associated with canopy closure. These data add to the accumulating evidence according to which trees do not necessarily improve air quality in near-road environments.
  • Kollanus, Virpi; Tiittanen, Pekka; Niemi, Jarkko V.; Lanki, Timo (2016)
    Introduction: Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions from vegetation fires can be transported over long distances and may cause significant air pollution episodes far from the fires. However, epidemiological evidence on health effects of vegetation-fire originated air pollution is limited, particularly for mortality and cardiovascular outcomes. Objective: We examined association between short-term exposure to long-range transported PM2.5 from vegetation fires and daily mortality due to non-accidental, cardiovascular, and respiratory causes and daily hospital admissions due to cardiovascular and respiratory causes in the Helsinki metropolitan area, Finland. Methods: Days significantly affected by smoke from vegetation fires between 2001 and 2010 were identified using air quality measurements at an urban background and a regional background monitoring station, and modelled data on surface concentrations of vegetation-fire smoke. Associations between daily PM2.5 concentration and health outcomes on i) smoke-affected days and ii) all other days (i.e. non smoke days) were analysed using Poisson time series regression. All statistical models were adjusted for daily temperature and relative humidity, influenza, pollen, and public holidays. Results: On smoke-affected days, 10 mu g/m(3) increase in PM2.5 was associated with a borderline statistically significant increase in cardiovascular mortality among total population at a lag of three days (12.4%, 95% CI -0.2% to 26.5%), and among the elderly (>= 65 years) following same-day exposure (13.8%, 95% CI -0.6% to 30.4%) and at a lag of three days (11.8%, 95% CI -2.2% to 27.7%). Smoke day PM2.5 was not associated with non-accidental mortality or hospital admissions due to cardiovascular causes. However, there was an indication of a positive association with hospital admissions due to respiratory causes among the elderly, and admissions due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma among the total population. In contrast, on non-smoke days PM2.5 was generally not associated with the health outcomes, apart from suggestive small positive effects on non-accidental mortality at a lag of one day among the elderly and hospital admissions due to all respiratory causes following same-day exposure among the total population. Conclusions: Our research provides suggestive evidence for an association of exposure to long-range transported PM2.5 from vegetation fires with increased cardiovascular mortality, and to a lesser extent with increased hospital admissions due to respiratory causes. Hence, vegetation-fire originated air pollution may have adverse effects on public health over a distance of hundreds to thousands of kilometres from the fires. (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.
  • Yli-Pelkonen, Vesa Johannes; Viippola, Juho Viljami; Kotze, David Johannes; Setälä, Heikki Martti (2017)
    Trees are believed to improve air quality, thus providing an important ecosystem service for urban inhabitants. However, empirical evidence on the beneficial effects of urban vegetation on air quality at the local level and in boreal climatic regions is scarce. We studied the influence of greenbelt-type forest patches on NO2 levels (i) in front of, (ii) inside and (iii) behind greenbelts next to major roads in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Finland, during summer and winter using passive collectors. Concentrations of NO2 were significantly higher in front of greenbelts compared to road sides without greenbelts. The more trees there were inside greenbelts the higher the NO2 level in front of greenbelts, likely due to the formation of a recirculation zone of air flow in front of greenbelts. Similarly, NO2 levels were higher inside greenbelts than in open areas without them, likely due to reduced air flow inside greenbelts. NO2 levels behind greenbelts were similar to those detected at the same distance from the road but without greenbelts. Our results suggest that, regardless of season, roadside greenbelts of mostly broadleaf trees do not reduce NO2 levels in near-road environments, but can result in higher NO2 levels in front of and inside greenbelts.
  • Mäkelä, Kati; Ollila, Hely; Sutinen, Eva; Vuorinen, Vesa; Peltola, Emilia; Kaarteenaho, Riitta; Myllärniemi, Marjukka (2019)
    Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic lung disease with a dismal prognosis and an unknown etiology. Inorganic dust is a known risk factor, and air pollution seems to affect disease progression. We aimed to investigate inorganic particulate matter in IPF lung tissue samples. Using polarizing light microscopy, we examined coal dust pigment and inorganic particulate matter in 73 lung tissue samples from the FinnishIPF registry. We scored the amount of coal dust pigment and particulate matter from 0 to 5. Using energy dispersive spectrometry with a scanning electron microscope, we conducted an elemental analysis of six IPF lung tissue samples. We compared the results to the registry data, and to the population density and air quality data. To compare categorical data, we used Fisher's exact test; we estimated the survival of the patients with Kaplan-Meier curves. We found inorganic particulate matter in all samples in varying amounts. Samples from the southern regions of Finland, where population density and fine particle levels are high, more often had particulate matter scores from 3 to 5 than samples from the northern regions (31/50, 62.0% vs. 7/23, 30.4%, p = 0.02). The highest particulate matter scores of 4 and 5 (n = 15) associated with a known exposure to inorganic dust (p = 0.004). An association between particulate matter in the lung tissue of IPF patients and exposure to air pollution may exist.
  • Zaidan, Martha Arbayani; Hossein Motlagh, Naser; Fung, Pak Lun; Lu, David; Timonen, Hilkka; Kuula, Joel; Niemi, Jarkko V; Tarkoma, Sasu; Petäjä, Tuukka; Kulmala, Markku; Hussein, Tareq (2020)
    This paper presents the development of air quality low-cost sensors (LCS) with improved accuracy features. The LCS features integrate machine learning based calibration models and virtual sensors. LCS performances are analyzed and some LCS variables with low performance are improved through intelligent field-calibrations. Meteorological variables are calibrated using linear dynamic models. While, due to the non-linear relationship to reference instruments, fine particulate matter (PM2.5) are calibrated using non-linear machine learning models. However, due to sensor drifts or faults, carbon dioxide (CO2) does not present correlation to reference instrument. As a result, the LCS for CO2 is not feasible to be calibrated. Hence, to estimate the CO2 concentration, mathematical models are developed to be integrated in the calibrated LCS, known as a virtual sensor. In addition, another virtual sensor is developed to demonstrate the capability of estimating air pollutant concentrations, e.g. black carbon, when the physical sensor devices are not available. In our paper, calibration models and virtual sensors are established using corresponding reference instruments that are installed on two reference stations. This strategy generalizes the models of calibration and virtual sensing which then allows LCS to be deployed in field independently with a high accuracy. Our proposed methodology enables scaling-up accurate air pollution mapping appropriate for smart cities.
  • Mamali, D.; Mikkilä, J.; Henzing, B.; Spoor, R.; Ehn, M.; Petäjä, T.; Russchenberg, H.; Biskos, G. (2018)
    Long-term measurements of PM2.5 mass concentrations and aerosol particle size distributions from 2008 to 2015, as well as hygroscopicity measurements conducted over one year (2008-2009) at Cabauw, The Netherlands, are compiled here in order to provide a comprehensive dataset for understanding the trends and annual variabilities of the atmospheric aerosol in the region. PM2.5 concentrations have a mean value of 14.4 mu g m(-3) with standard deviation 2.1 mu g m(-3), and exhibit an overall decreasing trend of -0.74 mu g m(-3) year(-1). The highest values are observed in winter and spring and are associated with a shallower boundary layer and lower precipitation, respectively, compared to the rest of the seasons. Number concentrations of particles smaller than 500 nm have a mean of 9.2 x 10(3) particles cm(-3) and standard deviation 4.9x10(3) particles cm(-3), exhibiting an increasing trend between 2008 and 2011 and a decreasing trend from 2013 to 2015. The particle number concentrations exhibit highest values in spring and summer (despite the increased precipitation) due to the high occurrence of nucleation-mode particles, which most likely are formed elsewhere and are transported to the observation station. Particle hygroscopicity measurements show that, independently of the air mass origin, the particles are mostly externally mixed with the more hydrophobic mode having a mean hygroscopic parameter kappa of 0.1 while for the more hydrophilic mode kappa is 0.35. The hygroscopicity of the smaller particles investigated in this work (i.e., particles having diameters of 35 nm) appears to increase during the course of the nucleation events, reflecting a change in the chemical composition of the particles. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
  • Brown, Steven G.; Eberly, Shelly; Paatero, Pentti; Norris, Gary A. (2015)
    The new version of EPA's positive matrix factorization (EPA PMF) software, 5.0, includes three error estimation (EE) methods for analyzing factor analytic solutions: classical bootstrap (BS), displacement of factor elements (DISP), and bootstrap enhanced by displacement (BS-DISP). These methods capture the uncertainty of PMF analyses due to randomerrors and rotational ambiguity. To demonstrate the utility of the EEmethods, results are presented for three data sets: (1) speciated PM2.5 data froma chemical speciation network (CSN) site in Sacramento, California (2003-2009); (2) trace metal, ammonia, and other species inwater quality samples taken at an inline storage system (ISS) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (2006); and (3) an organic aerosol data set from high- resolution aerosolmass spectrometer (HR-AMS) measurements in Las Vegas, Nevada (January 2008). We present an interpretation of EE diagnostics for these data sets, results fromsensitivity tests of EE diagnostics using additional and fewer factors, and recommendations for reporting PMF results. BS-DISP and BS are found useful in understanding the uncertainty of factor profiles; they also suggest if the data are over-fitted by specifying toomany factors. DISP diagnosticswere consistently robust, indicating its use for understanding rotational uncertainty and as a first step in assessing a solution's viability. The uncertainty of each factor's identifying species is shown to be a useful gauge for evaluating multiple solutions, e.g., with a different number of factors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
  • Ikävalko, Ville (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Air pollution kills an estimated seven million people per year according to the World Health Organization – people living in the cities of low- and middle-income countries being the one’s most exposed to toxic air. As rapid urbanisation continues to dominate the demographic trends in the developing world into the fore-seeable future, so will the negative consequences of air pollution. This, coupled with the intense pressure for developing economies to prioritise rapid and unadulterated growth as a mean to raise the living standards of their citizens over the environmental consequences of that growth, will almost invariably make air pollution one of the leading causes of death in the world, if it is not already. This thesis analyses environmental policy around air pollution to not only under-stand the policies and their effectiveness, or ineffectiveness, but also their rationality regarding the wider economic activities in the background. The study examines (state´s) air pollution abatement efforts in Delhi and the National Capital Region concerning the four primary sources of particulate matter in Delhi´s air: vehicular emissions, industries, dust, and crop burning. The research approach is based on policy analysis while the theoretical framework leans on political ecology. More specifically, the theoretical starting point is in urban political ecology, and political ecology of the state as per Antonio Ioris (2014), the former being built upon Marxist historical materialism, while latter is found upon a Marxist analysis of the (capitalist) state. The research aims to answer two questions: Does the quality and nature of Delhi´s environmental action correspond with Antonio Ioris’ theory of the environmental (capitalist) state; and second, to what extent do state interventions fail to address, further, or even create environmental issues due to the contradictory positions they hold with respect to accumulation and environmental protection. The main findings of the study follow the claims of Antonio Ioris about environmental statehood: the nature of state interventions concerning air pollution in Delhi and the National Capital Region have largely been ineffective, temporary, provisional, and partial. Furthermore, the failure to address the issue effectively obligates the Delhi government to declare air pollution emergency every winter during the worst pollution months in late October and November, introducing increasingly ad hoc - and drastic - measures that cascade up in accordance with the toxicity levels. From increasing parking tickets prices and banning diesel generators, to closing schools, banning all heavy vehicles, and prohibiting construction. Not coincidentally, the main source of air pollution during this worst period of the year is crop burning, a practice that has its roots in state legislation curbing water use in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana, as well as in state procurement policies that promote the unecological farming of rice in the northern plains of India. And so, the state has not only been ineffective in curbing air pollution in Delhi but has also played a part in bringing about the situation in the first place. The case of Delhi´s air pollution gives valuable insight into the contradiction the modern state finds itself when trying to balance between its two opposing responsibilities: the first as the one creating the best conditions for economic growth, and the other as the entity regulating and mitigating the environmental consequences of this growth. It is likewise yet another sobering instance of contemporary green action, where environmental action is rationalised though and out while maintaining irrationality in the assessment and conceptualisation of the issue the mitigation action is supposed to address in the first place, leading to environmental policy that is dislocated from the root cause of the issue. The inherent issues of state environmental policy highlight the need for more focus not only on the state policy itself, but on the rationality and commitment behind those policies. The Indian Democracy similarly offers a resolution by being able to exert pressure on state entities for more meaningful mitigation action. To make this happen, there needs to be an available and open real-time monitoring infor-mation on the pollution levels to empower the local residents and organisations to not only be able to point out the local pollutants in their areas and understand the health hazard these emissions are exposing them to, but also to be able to effectively direct action and demands towards the local, state, and federal rep-resentatives for meaningful environmental action to happen.
  • Yli-Pelkonen, Vesa Johannes; Scott, Anna A.; Viippola, Juho Viljami; Setälä, Heikki Martti (2017)
    Trees and other vegetation absorb and capture air pollutants, leading to the common perception that they, and trees in particular, can improve air quality in cities and provide an important ecosystem service for urban inhabitants. Yet, there has been a lack of empirical evidence showing this at the local scale with different plant configurations and climatic regions. We studied the impact of urban park and forest vegetation on the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ground-level ozone (O3) while controlling for temperature during early summer (May) using passive samplers in Baltimore, USA. Concentrations of O3 were significantly lower in tree-covered habitats than in adjacent open habitats, but concentrations of NO2 did not differ significantly between tree-covered and open habitats. Higher temperatures resulted in higher pollutant concentrations and NO2 and O3 concentration were negatively correlated with each other. Our results suggest that the role of trees in reducing NO2 concentrations in urban parks and forests in the Mid-Atlantic USA is minor, but that the presence of tree-cover can result in lower O3 levels compared to similar open areas. Our results further suggest that actions aiming at local air pollution mitigation should consider local variability in vegetation, climate, micro-climate, and traffic conditions.
  • Yli-Pelkonen, Vesa Johannes; Scott, Anna A.; Viippola, Juho Viljami; Setälä, Heikki Martti (2017)
    Trees and other vegetation absorb and capture air pollutants, leading to the common perception that they, and trees in particular, can improve air quality in cities and provide an important ecosystem service for urban inhabitants. Yet, there has been a lack of empirical evidence showing this at the local scale with different plant configurations and climatic regions. We studied the impact of urban park and forest vegetation on the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ground-level ozone (O3) while controlling for temperature during early summer (May) using passive samplers in Baltimore, USA. Concentrations of O3 were significantly lower in tree-covered habitats than in adjacent open habitats, but concentrations of NO2 did not differ significantly between tree-covered and open habitats. Higher temperatures resulted in higher pollutant concentrations and NO2 and O3 concentration were negatively correlated with each other. Our results suggest that the role of trees in reducing NO2 concentrations in urban parks and forests in the Mid-Atlantic USA is minor, but that the presence of tree-cover can result in lower O3 levels compared to similar open areas. Our results further suggest that actions aiming at local air pollution mitigation should consider local variability in vegetation, climate, micro-climate, and traffic conditions.
  • Yli-Pelkonen, Vesa Johannes; Setälä, Heikki Martti; Viippola, Juho Viljami (2017)
  • Valiulis, A.; Bousquet, J.; Veryga, A.; Suprun, U.; Sergeenko, D.; Cebotari, S.; Borelli, D.; Pietikainen, S.; Banys, J.; Agache, I.; Billo, N. E.; Bush, A.; Chkhaidze, I.; Dubey, L.; Fokkens, W. J.; Grigg, J.; Haahtela, T.; Julge, K.; Katilov, O.; Khaltaev, N.; Odemyr, M.; Palkonen, S.; Savli, R.; Utkus, A.; Vilc, V.; Alasevicius, T.; Bedbrook, A.; Bewick, M.; Chorostowska-Wynimko, J.; Danila, E.; Hadjipanayis, A.; Karseladze, R.; Kvedariene, V.; Lesinskas, E.; Munter, L.; Samolinski, B.; Sargsyan, S.; Sitkauskiene, B.; Somekh, D.; Vaideliene, L.; Valiulis, A.; Hellings, P. W. (2019)
    Background: Over 1 billion people suffer from chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma, COPD, rhinitis and rhinosinusitis. They cause an enormous burden and are considered as major non-communicable diseases. Many patients are still uncontrolled and the cost of inaction is unacceptable. A meeting was held in Vilnius, Lithuania (March 23, 2018) under the patronage of the Ministry of Health and several scientific societies to propose multisectoral care pathways embedding guided self-management, mHealth and air pollution in selected chronic respiratory diseases (rhinitis, chronic rhinosinusitis, asthma and COPD). The meeting resulted in the Vilnius Declaration that was developed by the participants of the EU Summit on chronic respiratory diseases under the leadership of Euforea. Conclusion: The Vilnius Declaration represents an important step for the fight against air pollution in chronic respiratory diseases globally and has a clear strategic relevance with regard to the EU Health Strategy as it will bring added value to the existing public health knowledge.