George D Thurston

George D Thurston
New York University | NYU · Department of Environmental Medicine

ScD

About

297
Publications
119,390
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Introduction
Dr. Thurston is the Director of the Program in Exposure Assessment and Health Effects at the NYU School of Medicine’s Department of Environmental Medicine. He has conducted extensive past epidemiological research into the human health effects of air pollution. He is an expert of particulate matter source apportionment, having developed a factor analysis method increasingly used in the field today. He also published the first manuscript relating PM2.5 mass and sources to mortality in 1987.
Additional affiliations
June 1984 - present
New York University
Position
  • Professor (Full)
Description
  • MS and PhD Program in the NYU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
June 1984 - present
NYU Langone Medical Center
Position
  • Professor (Full)

Publications

Publications (297)
Article
Background: Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution exposure has been identified as a global health threat. However, the types and sources of particles most responsible are not yet known. In this work, we sought to identify the causal characteristics and sources of air pollution underlying past published associations in the American Cancer S...
Article
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We assessed mortality risks associated with source-specific fine particles (PM2.5) in a pooled European cohort of 323,782 participants. Cox proportional hazard models were applied to estimate mortality hazard ratios (HRs) for source-specific PM2.5 identified through a source apportionment analysis. Exposure to 2010 annual average concentrations of...
Article
Background Greenhouse gas emissions are changing the Earth's climate, most directly by modifying temperatures and temperature variability (TV). Residents of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are likely more adversely affected, due to lack of air conditioning to compensate. To date, there is no local epidemiological evidence documenting the c...
Article
Although PM2.5 mass varies in source and composition over time and space, most health effects assessment have made the inherent assumption that all PM2.5 mass has the same health implications, irrespective of composition. Nationwide estimates of source-specific PM2.5 mass and constituents at local-scale would allow for epidemiological studies and h...
Chapter
Air pollution is a major environmental risk to health. Air pollution has been estimated to cause 6.7 million premature deaths worldwide annually (GBD, 2019). Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) is believed to be the largest contributor to the adverse health effects caused by air pollution, but the most toxic PM2.5 constituents and/or sources have not b...
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In this review, we elucidate the central role played by fossil fuel combustion in the health-related effects that have been associated with inhalation of ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5). We especially focus on individual properties and concentrations of metals commonly found in PM air pollution, as well as their sources and their adverse he...
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Rationale: To date, there is no published local epidemiological evidence documenting the respiratory health effects of source specific air pollution in South Asia, where PM2.5 composition is different from past studies. Differences include more biomass and residue crop-burning emissions, which may have differing health implications. Objectives:...
Article
Background: Fine-particulate-matter (i.e. with an aerodynamic diameter of ≤2.5 µm, PM2.5) air pollution is commonly treated as if it had 'equivalent toxicity', irrespective of the source and composition. We investigate the respective roles of fossil-fuel- and biomass-combustion particles in the PM2.5 relationship with cardiovascular morbidity and...
Article
Background Commercial databases can be used to identify participant addresses over time, but their quality and impact on environmental exposure assessment is uncertain. Objective To evaluate the performance of a commercial database to find residences and estimate environmental exposures for study participants. Methods We searched LexisNexis® for...
Article
Objectives Few studies have comprehensively assessed multiple environmental exposures affecting children's health. This study applied machine-learning methods to evaluate how indoor environmental conditions at home and school contribute to asthma and allergy-related symptoms. Methods We randomly selected 10 public schools representing different so...
Chapter
Fossil-fuel combustion processes that generate greenhouse gases (GHG) also emit and/or cause the creation of other air pollutants that are harmful to inhaled. Thus, while policies designed to avert climate change would eventually result in direct human health benefits from reduced global temperature and weather changes, they would also bring much m...
Article
Food carts are common along streets in cities throughout the world. In North America, food cart vendors generally use propane, charcoal, or both propane and charcoal (P and C) for food preparation. Although cooking emissions are known to be a major source of indoor air pollution, there is limited knowledge on outdoor cooking’s impact on the ambient...
Article
Outdoor air pollution is a major contributor to the burden of disease worldwide. Most of the global population resides in places where air pollution levels, because of emissions from industry, power generation, transportation, and domestic burning, considerably exceed the World Health Organization's health‐based air‐quality guidelines. Outdoor air...
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Children’s health, attendance, and academic performance may be affected by school environmental hazards. While prior studies evaluated home environment and health, few have evaluated indicators of school in-/outdoor environment and health. This study addresses this knowledge gap by systematically reviewing and evaluating outdoor and indoor indicato...
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Recent studies have demonstrated that mobile sampling can improve the spatial granularity of land use regression (LUR) models. Mobile sampling campaigns deploying low-cost (<$300) air quality sensors could potentially offer an inexpensive and practical approach to measure and model air pollution concentration levels. In this study, we developed LUR...
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Purpose of Review Ambient air pollution is strongly linked to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. We summarize available published evidence regarding similar associations with diabetes across the life course. Recent Findings We performed a life-course survey of the recent literature, including prenatal, gestational, childhood/adolescence, and...
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Background: Ambient air pollution is a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease, yet uncertainty remains about the size of risks at lower levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure which now occur in the USA and elsewhere. Methods: We investigated the relationship of ambient PM2.5 exposure with cause-specific cardiovascular dise...
Article
The relationship between air pollution and health is being questioned at the highest levels of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today. However, it is well established in the medical literature that short-term exposure to higher levels of outdoor air pollution is associated with reduced lung function, asthma exacerbations, myocardial inf...
Article
Background: With the number of annual global travelers reaching 1.2 billion, many individuals encounter greater levels of air pollution when they travel abroad to megacities around the world. This study's objective was to determine if visits to cities abroad with greater levels of air pollution adversely impacts cardiopulmonary health. Methods:...
Article
Rationale: Many studies have linked short-term exposure to ozone (O3) with morbidity and mortality, but epidemiologic evidence of associations between long-term O3 exposure and mortality is more limited.Objectives: To investigate associations of long-term (annual or warm season average of daily 8-h maximum concentrations) O3 exposure with all-cause...
Article
Background: Recent experimental evidence suggests that nutritional supplementation can blunt adverse cardiopulmonary effects induced by acute air pollution exposure. However, whether usual individual dietary patterns can modify the association between long-term air pollution exposure and health outcomes has not been previously investigated. We ass...
Article
Although air pollution is well-known to be harmful to the lung and airways, it can also damage most other organ systems of the body. It is estimated that about 500,000 lung cancer deaths and 1.6 million chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) deaths can be attributed to air pollution, but air pollution may also account for 19% of all cardiovas...
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Full-text available
Exposure to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is a major global health concern. Quantitative estimates of attributable mortality are based on disease-specific hazard ratio models that incorporate risk information from multiple PM2.5 sources (outdoor and indoor air pollution from use of solid fuels and secondhand and active smoking), requiring...
Article
In this study, factor analysis and mass regression were used to identify four fine particulate matter sources and estimate their contributions to the ambient air pollution in Beijing. The identified sources were traffic re-suspended soil, mixed industrial sources, oil combustion, and secondary sulfate. The estimated source contributions were then i...
Article
Objective: Recent mechanistic and epidemiological evidence implicates air pollution as a potential risk factor for diabetes; however, mortality risks have not been evaluated in a large US cohort assessing exposures to multiple pollutants with detailed consideration of personal risk factors for diabetes. Research design and methods: We assessed t...
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Environmental benefits that could be gained by successful climate change mitigation actions are usually subject to long action-reaction time lags. Furthermore, the links of mitigation efforts to major sources of climate forcing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are often complex. Therefore, there is a risk that potentially effective mitigation strateg...
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Recent epidemiological evidence suggests that exposure to particulates may be a factor in the etiology of metabolic syndrome (MetS). In this novel study, we investigated the relationship between particulate levels and prevalence of MetS component abnormalities (hypertension, hyperglycemia, obesity) in a recruited cohort (N = 2025) in Jeddah, Saudi...
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Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma are common diseases with a heterogeneous distribution worldwide. Here, we present methods and disease and risk estimates for COPD and asthma from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors (GBD) 2015 study. The GBD study provides annual updates on estimates of death...
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BACKGROUND: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma are common diseases with a heterogeneous distribution worldwide. Here, we present methods and disease and risk estimates for COPD and asthma from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors (GBD) 2015 study. The GBD study provides annual updates on estimates of deaths...
Article
Full-text available
BACKGROUND: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma are common diseases with a heterogeneous distribution worldwide. Here, we present methods and disease and risk estimates for COPD and asthma from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors (GBD) 2015 study. The GBD study provides annual updates on estimates of death...
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Full-text available
Implications: Temporal variations of fine and coarse PM mass, elemental constituents, and sources were examined in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for the first time. The main source of PM2.5-10 is natural windblown soil and road dust, whereas the predominant source of PM2.5 is residual oil burning, generated from the port and oil refinery located west of t...
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Background: The statistical association between increased exposure to air pollution and increased risk of morbidity and mortality is well established. However, documentation of the health benefits of lowering air pollution levels, which would support the biological plausibility of those past statistical associations, are not as well developed. A b...
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The American Thoracic Society has previously published statements on what constitutes an adverse effect on health of air pollution in 1985 and 2000. We set out to update and broaden these past statements that focused primarily on effects on the respiratory system. Since then, many studies have documented effects of air pollution on other organ syst...
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BACKGROUND: In September, 2015, the UN General Assembly established the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs specify 17 universal goals, 169 targets, and 230 indicators leading up to 2030. We provide an analysis of 33 health-related SDG indicators based on the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2015 (GBD 2015). ME...
Data
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The supplementary results offer additional results tables and figures, as well as more detailed methodological figures.
Data
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This methods appendix provides further methodological detail for the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The appendix is organized into broad sections following the structure of the main paper. The supplementary results offer additional results tables and figures, as well as more detailed methodological figures.
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Background: The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2015 provides an up-to-date synthesis of the evidence for risk factor exposure and the attributable burden of disease. By providing national and subnational assessments spanning the past 25 years, this study can inform debates on the importance of addressing risks in contex...
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Background: Healthy life expectancy (HALE) and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) provide summary measures of health across geographies and time that can inform assessments of epidemiological patterns and health system performance, help to prioritise investments in research and development, and monitor progress toward the Sustainable Developmen...
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Background: Improving survival and extending the longevity of life for all populations requires timely, robust evidence on local mortality levels and trends. The Global Burden of Disease 2015 Study (GBD 2015) provides a comprehensive assessment of all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 249 causes in 195 countries and territories from 1980 to 2...
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Background: Non-fatal outcomes of disease and injury increasingly detract from the ability of the world's population to live in full health, a trend largely attributable to an epidemiological transition in many countries from causes affecting children, to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) more common in adults. For the Global Burden of Diseases, Inj...
Data
This appendix provides methodological detail, supplemental figures, and more detailed results for disability‐adjusted life years and healthy life expectancy. The appendix is organized into broad sections following the structure of the main paper.
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The American Thoracic Society (ATS), in collaboration with George Mason University, surveyed international members of the society to assess perceptions, clinical experiences, and preferred policy responses related to global climate change. A recruitment email was sent by the ATS President in October 2015 to 5,013 international members. Subsequently...
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There is widespread agreement among scientists that climate change, primarily due to greenhouse gas (GHG) production from human activities, is causing significant global health impacts.The focus of this Pulmonary Perspective is to highlight emerging evidence for cardio-respiratory health impacts related to climate change, and to suggest possible st...
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Background: Remote sensing (RS) is increasingly used for exposure assessment in epidemiological and burden of disease studies, including those investigating whether chronic exposure to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is associated with mortality. Objectives: To compare relative risk estimates of mortality from diseases of the circulatory...
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Exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and black carbon (BC) have been linked to negative health risks, but exposure among professional taxi drivers is understudied. This pilot study measured drivers' knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs (KAB) about air pollution compared with direct measures of exposures. Roadside and in-vehicle levels of PM2.5...