Science: “Volatile Chemical Products Emerging as Largest Petrochemical Source of Urban Organic Emission,” McDonald et. al., February 16, 2018

Science. “Volatile Chemical Products Emerging as Largest Petrochemical Source of Urban Organic Emission,” McDonald et. al., February 16, 2018. Science  16 Feb 2018: Vol. 359, Issue 6377, pp. 760-76.

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6377/760

From the Human Health Implications section:

“Although fossil fuels remain important sources of urban air pollution, exposure to ambient PM2.5 is increasingly from chemical products as the transportation sector becomes cleaner. Additionally, because a large fraction of VCP emissions occurs in buildings, exposure to air toxics is of concern indoors (59). Below we summarize two implications for human health:

(1) The average fossil contribution to carbonaceous aerosols (∑ = black carbon + organic aerosol) measured in ambient air at Pasadena was 3.4 ± 1.0 μg m−3 (55, 56), which does not include nonfossil components from cooking or biogenic sources. Of the fossil total, ~40%, or ~1.3 μg m−3, is attributed to directly emitted particles (55, 56), mainly from diesel engines (7). The SOA from use of VCPs (Fig. 4D) is of similar magnitude and accounts for ~35% of the fossil total, or ~1.2 μg m−3. As diesel particle filters and oxidation catalysts become more widespread, and reduce diesel contributions to PM2.5 (60), the fraction of PM2.5 from VCPs will grow because SOA precursor emissions from VCPs are not decreasing as quickly (7).

(2) We show that indoor emissions of aromatics and chlorinated hydrocarbons from use of VCPs are consistent with typical indoor concentrations (Fig. 3D), which are of concern because of their human toxicity (61). Indoor emissions of aromatic compounds have decreased by ~7% per year between 1981 and 2001 (33), comparable to decreases in transportation emissions of ~8% per year (7, 22). Consumer uses of VCPs likely remain key sources of human exposure to air toxics relative to fossil fuels, especially because people spend most of their time indoors (62).

Traditional approaches to mitigating air pollution emphasize transportation and industrial sources (63). However, chemical products are an emerging source of urban VOCs (22), including SOA precursors (7), because VOC emissions from VCPs are not declining as fast as those from transportation. New paradigms leveraging research tools from the indoor and outdoor air quality communities could strengthen efforts to reduce human exposure to O3, PM2.5, and air toxics. As the composition of chemical products has evolved to remove chlorofluorocarbons to address stratospheric O3, shifted from solvent- to water-borne formulations to mitigate tropospheric O3, and phased out toxic components (33), VCPs have begun to contribute significantly to SOA formation outdoors. Given that global mortality from fine particles is significantly greater than for ambient O3 pollution (1), further study is needed on whether chemical products currently designed to mitigate O3 are also sufficient to protect humans from exposure to fine particles.”

Posted in Air Pollution and Consumer Products, Air Pollution and Perfume, Air Pollution and VOCs, VOCs and Air Pollution | Leave a comment

EurekAlert!: “Consumer and Industrial Products Now a Dominant Urban Air Pollution Source,” University of Colorado at Boulder, February 15, 2018

EurekAlert! “Consumer and Industrial Products Now a Dominant Urban Air Pollution Source,” University of Colorado at Boulder, February 15, 2018.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uoca-cai020718.php

From the article: “Chemical products that contain compounds refined from petroleum, like household cleaners, pesticides, paints and perfumes, now rival motor vehicle emissions as the top source of urban air pollution, according to a surprising NOAA-led study.

People use a lot more fuel than they do petroleum-based compounds in chemical products–about 15 times more by weight, according to the new assessment. Even so, lotions, paints and other products contribute about as much to air pollution as the transportation sector does, said lead author Brian McDonald, a CIRES scientist working in NOAA’s Chemical Sciences Division. In the case of one type of pollution–tiny particles that can damage people’s lungs–particle-forming emissions from chemical products are about twice as high as those from the transportation sector, his team found. McDonald and colleagues from NOAA and several other institutions reported their results today in the journal Science.

“As transportation gets cleaner, those other sources become more and more important,” McDonald said. “The stuff we use in our everyday lives can impact air pollution.”

For the new assessment, the scientists focused on volatile organic compounds or VOCs. VOCs can waft into the atmosphere and react to produce either ozone or particulate matter–both of which are regulated in the United States and many other countries because of health impacts, including lung damage.”

Posted in Air Pollution and Consumer Products, Air Pollution and Perfume, Air Pollution and VOCs, VOCs and Air Pollution, VOCs and Lung Damage | Leave a comment

Science Daily: “Air Pollution May Shorten Telomeres in Newborns — A Sign of Increased Health Risks,” Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, January 24, 2018

Science Daily. “Air Pollution May Shorten Telomeres in Newborns — A Sign of Increased Health Risks: Researchers Find Babies Exposed in the Womb to High Levels of Air Pollution had Shortened Telomeres,” Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, January 24, 2018.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180124085540.htm

From the article:

“A study conducted before and after the 2004 closure of a coal-burning power plant in Tongliang, China, found children born before the closure had shorter telomeres than those conceived and born after the plant stopped polluting the air.

Results appear in the journal Environment International.

Telomeres are specialized sections of DNA that allow chromosomes to be faithfully copied during cell division. However, with each round of cell division, telomeres shorten, resulting in a gradual loss of genomic stability. Shortened telomere length has been linked with cancer and heart disease, cognitive decline, aging, and premature death.

Led by Deliang Tang and Frederica Perera at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, the research team analyzed telomere length in the umbilical cord blood of 255 newborns, about half of whom were born before the plant closure and half conceived and born after. In babies born pre-closure, researchers found higher levels of PAH-DNA cord adducts, a biomarker for exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a toxic component of air pollution from coal plants. Elevated levels of these adducts in cord blood were associated with shorter telomeres — the first time this relationship has been tested — as well as with lower levels of brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), a protein involved in neuronal grown….

“An individual’s telomere length at birth is known to influence their risk for disease decades later during adulthood,” says Tang, professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the Mailman School.”

Posted in Air Pollution and Gestation, Air Pollution and Newborns, Air Pollution and Telomeres, PAHS and Gestational Development, PAHs and Telomeres | Leave a comment

NEJM: “Air Pollution and Mortality in the Medicare Population,” Di et. al., June 29, 2017

New England Journal of Medicine. “Air Pollution and Mortality in the Medicare Population,” Di et. al., June 29, 2017. N Engl J Med 2017; 376:2513-2522
DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1702747.

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1702747#t=abstract

From Results: “There was a significant association between PM2.5 exposure and mortality when the analysis was restricted to concentrations below 12 μg per cubic meter, with a steeper slope below that level. This association indicated that the health-benefit-per-unit decrease in the concentration of PM2.5 is larger for PM2.5 concentrations that are below the current annual NAAQS than the health benefit of decreases in PM2.5 concentrations that are above that level. Similar, steeper concentration-response curves at low concentrations have been observed in previous studies.29 Moreover, we found no evidence of a threshold value — the concentration at which PM2.5 exposure does not affect mortality — at concentrations as low as approximately 5 μg per cubic meter (Figure 3); this finding is similar to those of other studies.18,30  ” [Emphasis added].

Posted in Air Pollution and Mortality, no safe level, No Safe Level PM2.5, Particulate Pollution No Safe Level, PM2.5 and Mortality, PM2.5 No Safe Level | Leave a comment

Stroke: “Long-Term Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter, Residential Proximity to Major Roads and Measures of Brain Structure,” Wilker et. al., April 23, 2015

Stroke. “Long-Term Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter, Residential Proximity to Major Roads and Measures of Brain Structure,” Wilker et. al., April 23, 2015.

http://stroke.ahajournals.org/content/early/2015/04/23/STROKEAHA.114.008348

From the Abstract:

“Results—A 2-μg/m3 increase in PM2.5 was associated with −0.32% (95% confidence interval, −0.59 to −0.05) smaller total cerebral brain volume and 1.46 (95% confidence interval, 1.10 to 1.94) higher odds of covert brain infarcts. Living further away from a major roadway was associated with 0.10 (95% confidence interval, 0.01 to 0.19) greater log-transformed white matter hyperintensity volume for an interquartile range difference in distance, but no clear pattern of association was observed for extensive white matter.

Conclusions—Exposure to elevated levels of PM2.5 was associated with smaller total cerebral brain volume, a marker of age-associated brain atrophy, and with higher odds of covert brain infarcts. These findings suggest that air pollution is associated with insidious effects on structural brain aging even in dementia- and stroke-free persons.”

Posted in Air Pollution and Brain Infarcts, Air Pollution and Brain Volume, Air Pollution and Structural Brain Aging, PM2.5 and Brain Volume | Leave a comment

American Heart Association: “Long-Term Exposure to Air Pollution May Harm Your Brain,” April 23, 2015

American Heart Association. “Long-Term Exposure to Air Pollution May Harm Your Brain,” American Heart Association Rapid Access Report, April 23, 2015.

https://newsroom.heart.org/news/long-term-exposure-to-air-pollution-may-harm-your-brain

From the article: “Long-term exposure to fine particle air pollution may cause subtle structural changes in the brain that could precede cognitive impairment and hidden brain damage, according to research in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

Fine particle air pollution – smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5) – may be the most common and hazardous type of air pollution. It comes from burning wood or coal, car exhaust and other sources.

“Long-term exposure to air pollution showed harmful effects on the brain in this study, even at low levels, particularly with older people and even those who are relatively healthy,” said Elissa H. Wilker, Sc.D., study lead author and researcher in the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

Researchers analyzed 943 adults in the Framingham Offspring Study, who were relatively healthy and free of dementia and stroke. The participants lived in the greater Boston area and throughout New England and New York — regions where air pollution levels are low compared to other parts of the nation and the world.

During 1995-2005, researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine the effect of long-term exposure to air pollution on markers of brain structure. They found a 2 microgram per cubic meter of air (μg/m3) increase in PM2.5, a range commonly observed across a metropolitan region, was associated with a 0.32 percent smaller total cerebral brain volume and a 46 percent higher risk of covert brain infarcts, a type of silent stroke.

“The magnitude of association that we observed for brain volume was similar to approximately one year of brain aging,” Wilker said.

Fundamental changes in the structure of the cerebral brain volume and smaller brain size are markers of age-associated brain atrophy.

“We found that people who live in areas where there are higher levels of air pollution had smaller total cerebral brain volume and were more likely to have evidence of covert brain infarcts,” said Wilker, who is also an instructor of medicine in the Harvard Medical School.

The small infarcts, typically located in deep regions of the brain, have been associated with neurological abnormalities, poorer cognitive function, dementia, and are thought to reflect small vessel disease, she said.”

Posted in Air Pollution and Brain Aging, Air Pollution and Brain Infarcts, Air Pollution and Brain Volume, Air Pollution and the Brain | Leave a comment

JASN: “Particulate Matter Air Pollution and the Risk of Incident CKD [Chronic Kidney Disease] and Progression to ESRD [End-Stage Renal Disease],” Bowe et. al., September 21, 2017

Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.  “Particulate Matter Air Pollution and the Risk of Incident CKD and Progression to ESRD,” Bowe et. al., September 21, 2017.
 Figure
From the Discussion section:
“In a large national cohort of United States veterans, we observed a linear relationship between PM2.5 concentrations and risk of incident CKD [chronic kidney disease] and progression to ESRD [end-stage renal disease]. The results were consistent where baseline exposure was defined as the annual average PM2.5 concentrations in the year 2004, and where exposure was time-varying to reflect movement of cohort participants and changes in PM2.5 concentrations over the years. Furthermore, we examined a range of kidney outcomes including development of kidney disease, kidney function decline (eGFR [estimated glomerular filtration rate] decline ≥30%), and the terminal outcome of ESRD. The results consistently showed a linear relationship between PM2.5 levels and risk of kidney outcomes. The results were robust in sensitivity analyses including the examination of different distance thresholds from an air monitoring station, and analyses evaluating the association within metropolitan areas. The results were also consistent in analyses using ambient PM2.5 estimates derived from NASA’s satellite data. Ambient air sodium concentrations (used as a negative control) were not associated with increased risk of adverse renal outcomes. The constellation of findings suggests that chronic exposure to fine particulate matter air pollution is a significant risk factor for the development and progression of kidney disease.”
Posted in Air Pollution and Kidney Disease, Air Pollution and Veterans, PM2.5 and Chronic Kidney Disease, PM2.5 and eGFR Decline, PM2.5 and End-Stage Renal Disease, PM2.5 and Kidney Disease | Leave a comment