Petros Koutrakis

Petros Koutrakis
Harvard Medical School | HMS · Department of Environmental Health

About

714
Publications
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Publications

Publications (714)
Data
Particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) increases mortality and morbidity. PM2.5 is composed of a mixture of chemical components that vary across space and time. Due to limited hyperlocal data availability, less is known about health risks of PM2.5 components, their US-wide exposure disparities, or which species are dr...
Article
The Arabian Peninsula (AP), the largest peninsula in the world, contains ‘hot spot’ areas for intensive dust storms. Dust sources outside the AP can also represent ‘hot spots’ that heavily impact the AP. This study explores the source and transport pathways of severe dust storm events over the AP over nine years (2010–2018) using MODIS Aqua and Ter...
Article
Full-text available
Background There is a lack of evidence for the associations between atmospheric particle components exposure and psychiatric health. We aimed to identify the most toxic particle component(s) and source(s) related with psychiatric illness. Methods Using Health Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) State Inpatient Databases (SIDs), we analyzed the rel...
Article
This study investigated the associations between solar and geomagnetic activity and circulating biomarkers of systemic inflammation and endothelial activation in the Normative Aging Study (NAS) cohort. Mixed effects models with moving day averages from day 0 to day 28 were used to study the associations between solar activity (sunspot number (SSN),...
Article
Objective: Triple-crossover randomized controlled intervention trial to test whether reduced exposure to household NO2 or fine particles results in reduced symptoms among children with persistent asthma. Methods: Children (n = 126) aged 5-11 years with persistent asthma living in homes with gas stoves and levels of NO2 15 ppb or greater recruite...
Article
Full-text available
Birth defects are a major cause of poor health outcomes during both childhood and adulthood. A growing body of evidence demonstrated associations between air pollution exposure during pregnancy and birth defects. To date, there is no study looking at birth defects and exposure to wildfire-related air pollution, which is suggested as a type of air p...
Article
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Background–It is uncertain what climate change could bring to populations and countries in the hot desert environment of the Arabian Peninsula. Not only because they are already hot, countries in this region also have unique demographic profiles, with migrant populations potentially more vulnerable and constituting a large share of the population....
Article
Exposure to ambient temperature has been linked to adverse birth outcomes in several regions, including the USA, Australia, China, countries in the Middle East, and European countries. To date, no studies were performed in South America, a region with serious challenges related to climate change. Our investigation addresses this literature lack by...
Article
Full-text available
Heavy metals are natural and essential elements of the environment and living beings, produced from natural (e.g. volcanic activity and cosmic ray-induced spallation) and anthropogenic processes (e.g. industrial and fossil fuel combustion). High-concentrations of heavy metals and radionuclides are also originated from anthropogenic activities in ur...
Preprint
Full-text available
Particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) increases mortality and morbidity.1,2 PM2.5 is composed of a mixture of chemical components that vary across space and time.3 Due to limited hyperlocal data availability, less is known about health risks of PM2.5 components, their US-wide exposure disparities, or which species ar...
Article
Background Increased solar and geomagnetic activity (SGA) may alter sympathetic nervous system activity, reduce antioxidant activity, and modulate physiochemical processes that contribute to atmospheric aerosols, all which may reduce pulmonary function. Objectives Investigate associations between forced expiratory volume at 1 s (FEV1) and forced v...
Article
Importance: Aerosol-borne SARS-CoV-2 has not been linked specifically to nosocomial outbreaks. Objective: To explore the genomic concordance of SARS-CoV-2 from aerosol particles of various sizes and infected nurses and patients during a nosocomial outbreak of COVID-19. Design, setting, and participants: This cohort study included patients and...
Article
The ubiquity of formaldehyde emitted in indoor and in-cabin environments can adversely affect health. This study proposes a novel full-range C-history method to rapidly, accurately and simultaneously determine the three key parameters (initial emittable concentration, partition coefficient, diffusion coefficient) that characterize the emission beha...
Article
Background Solar and geomagnetic activity (GA) have been linked to increased cardiovascular (CVD) events. We hypothesize that heart rate variability (HRV) may be the biological mechanism between increased CVD risk and intense geomagnetic disturbances (GMD). Methods To evaluate the impact of GA and intense GMD on HRV in 809 elderly men [age mean 74...
Article
Traffic-related particulate matter (PM) plays an important role in urban air pollution. However, sources of urban pollution are difficult to distinguish. This study utilises a mobile particle concentrator platform and statistical tools to investigate factors affecting roadway ambient coarse particle (PM10–2.5) and fine particle (PM2.5–0.2) concentr...
Article
Full-text available
Background: School classrooms, where students spend the majority of their time during the day, are the second most important indoor microenvironment for children. Objective: We investigated factors influencing classroom exposures to fine particulate matter (PM2.5), black carbon (BC), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in urban schools in the northeast U...
Article
Objective: The School Inner-City Asthma Intervention Study 2 (SICAS 2) tested interventions to reduce exposures in classrooms of students with asthma. The objective of this post-hoc analysis was limited to evaluating the effect of high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) filtration interventions on mold levels as quantified using the Environmental Relat...
Article
Rationale: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients often report aggravated symptoms due to heat and cold, but few studies have formally evaluated this. Methodology: We followed 30 Boston-based former smokers with COPD for four non-consecutive 30-day periods over 12 months. Personal and outdoor temperature exposure were measured usi...
Article
Preterm birth (PTB) complications are the leading cause of death among children under 5 years of age, responsible for approximately 1 million deaths in 2015, according to the World Health Organization. Those infants born prematurely who survived the first 5 years, studies suggest that these infants are more likely to experience a range of poor heal...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Environmental risk factors for psychiatric health are poorly identified. We examined the association between air pollution and psychiatric symptoms, which are often precursors to the development of psychiatric disorders. Methods: This study included 570 participants in the US Veterans Administration (VA) Normative Aging Study and 1,1...
Article
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Little is known about whether exposure to unconventional oil and gas development is associated with higher mortality risks in the elderly and whether related air pollutants are exposure pathways. We studied a cohort of 15,198,496 Medicare beneficiaries (136,215,059 person-years) in all major US unconventional exploration regions from 2001 to 2015....
Article
Exposure to particulate matter (PM) could increase both susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection and severity of COVID-19 disease. Prior studies investigating associations between PM and COVID-19 morbidity have only considered PM2.5 or PM10, rather than PM1. We investigated the associations between daily-diagnosed COVID-19 morbidity and average expos...
Article
Background Low birth weight is associated with increased risks of health problems in infancy and later life. Among the epidemiological analyses suggesting an association between air pollution and birth weight, few have estimated the effects of black carbon (BC) or together with nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and even fewer studies have used causal modelli...
Article
Rationale Little is known about personal characteristics and systemic responses to particulate pollution in patients with COPD. Objectives Assess whether diabetes, obesity, statins and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)) modify associations between indoor black carbon (BC) and fine particulate matter ≤2.5 μm in diameter (PM2.5) o...
Article
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Background Little is known about sources of residential exposure to carbonaceous aerosols, which include black carbon (BC), the elemental carbon core of combustion particles, and organic compounds from biomass combustion (delta carbon). Objective Assess the impact of residential characteristics on indoor BC and delta carbon when known sources of c...
Article
Rationale: Risk of asthma hospitalization and its disparities associated with air pollutant exposures are less clear within socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, particularly at low exposure levels. Objectives: To assess effects of short-term exposures to fine particulate matter (PM2.5), warm-season ozone (O3), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2)...
Article
Full-text available
Background Several epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS) of ambient particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter ≤ 2.5 µm (PM2.5) have been reported. However, EWAS of PM2.5 elements (PEs), reflecting different emission sources, are very limited. Objectives We performed EWAS of short- and intermediate-term exposure to PM2.5 and 13 PEs. We hypot...
Article
BackgroundThere is a lack of evidence for the associations between atmospheric particle components exposure and psychiatric health. We aimed to identify the toxic particle component(s) and source(s) related with psychiatric illness.MethodsUsing Health Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) State Inpatient Databases (SIDs), we analyzed the relative ris...
Data
Daily 1km ozone data are available on the NASA SEDAC website (https://doi.org/10.7927/a4mb-4t86). The Daily 8-Hour Maximum and Annual O3 Concentrations for the Contiguous United States, 1-km Grids, v1 (2000 - 2016) data set contains estimates of ozone concentrations at a high resolution in space (1 km x 1 km grid cells) and time (daily) for the ye...
Book
The public awareness on aeolian dust (fine and ultrafine) has been increased after the increase in dust events all over the world. In spite of the raise on public concerns regarding the dust, the medical society needs to be prepared in several aspects, including scientific confirmation of health hazards, risk prevention and reduction rates, and com...
Article
Objectives: To prospectively quantify at the community level changes in asthma symptom control and other morbidity indices, among asthmatic schoolchildren in response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown measures. Methods: In Spring 2019 and Spring 2020, we prospectively assessed monthly changes in pediatric asthma control test (c-ACT...
Article
Aims Cardiac arrhythmias have been associated with intense solar and geomagnetic activity (SGA) and exposures to air pollution. Methods We examined whether oscillations of SGA can modify the effect of hourly exposures to air pollutants on atrial fibrillation ≥30 s (AF) risk in patients with dual-chamber implantable cardioverter-defibrillators. The...
Article
Full-text available
Particulate radioactivity, a characteristic of particulate matter, is primarily determined by the abundance of radionuclides that are bound to airborne particulates. Exposure to high levels of particulate radioactivity has been associated with negative health outcomes. However, there are currently no spatially and temporally resolved particulate ra...
Article
Full-text available
Background Since solar activity and related geomagnetic disturbances modulate autonomic nervous system activity, we hypothesized that these events would be associated with blood pressure (BP). Methods and Results We studied 675 elderly men from the Normative Aging Study (Boston, MA) with 1949 BP measurements between 2000 and 2017. Mixed‐effects re...
Article
Rationale: Few studies have assessed personal exposure to pollutants and lung function among adults with COPD. Blood eosinophilia may be a biomarker of airway inflammation and pollution susceptibility. Objectives: To evaluate if daily pollutant exposures are associated with lung function and if associations are modified by eosinophilia in COPD....
Article
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Background: Long-term exposure to air pollution has been linked with an increase in risk of mortality. Whether existing US Environmental Protection Agency standards are sufficient to protect health is unclear. Our study aimed to examine the relationship between exposure to lower concentrations of air pollution and the risk of mortality. Methods:...
Article
Full-text available
Importance School and classroom allergens and particles are associated with asthma morbidity, but the benefit of environmental remediation is not known. Objective To determine whether use of a school-wide integrated pest management (IPM) program or high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter purifiers in the classrooms improve asthma symptoms in...
Article
Green spaces in cities play an important role in people's social, economic and physical well-being. Children spend a large proportion of their time at school, and to date there have been no studies that have investigated the proximity of schools to green spaces. In this work, we conducted a nationwide assessment of the green spaces surrounding 186,...
Article
It has been hypothesized that solar and geomagnetic activity can affect the function of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and melatonin secretion, which both may influence immune response. We investigated the association between solar geomagnetic activity and white blood cell counts in the Normative Aging Study (NAS) Cohort between 2000 and 2013....
Preprint
Full-text available
Heavy metals are natural and essential elements of the environment and living beings, produced from natural (e.g. volcanic activity and cosmic ray-induced spallation) and anthropogenic processes (e.g. industrial and fossil fuel combustion). Studies showed increase of heavy metal and Polonium-210 concentrations in lung autopsies linked to urban and...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
BACKGROUND AND AIM: Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) mass is classified as carcinogenic for humans and linked to mortality and morbidity; however, less is known about health risks of PM2.5 components. We aimed to predict PM2.5 components across the contiguous United States. METHODS: Daily mean PM2.5 component data (EC, OC, NO3, NH4, SO4, Br, Ca, Cu,...
Article
Radon (Rn) is a natural and toxic radioactive gas that accumulates indoors, mainly in low-ventilated underground floors and basements. Several factors make prediction of indoor Rn exposure in enclosed spaces challenging. In this study, we investigated the influence of soil, geology, topography, atmospheric variables, radiation, urbanization, commun...
Article
Full-text available
Inhalation of particulate matter (PM) radioactivity is an important pathway of ionizing radiation exposure. We investigated the associations between short-term exposures to PM gamma radioactivity with oxidative stress in COPD patients. Urinary concentrations of 8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) and malondialdehyde (MDA) of 81 COPD patients from...
Article
There is little evidence on the short-term impact of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) on renal health, and the potential interactions and various influences of PM2.5 components on renal health have not been examined. We investigated whether short-term (≤28 days) ambient PM2.5 and 15 PM2.5 components were associated with serum uric acid (SUA), blood...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigated the impact of COVID-19 lockdown on particulate matter concentrations, specifically PM2.5 and PM10, in Kuwait. We studied the variations in PM2.5 and PM10 between the lockdown in 2020 with the corresponding periods of the years 2017–2019, and also investigated the differences in PM variations between the ‘curfew’ and ‘non cur...
Data
Daily 1km PM2.5 data are available on the NASA SEDAC website (https://beta.sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/data/set/aqdh-pm2-5-concentrations-contiguous-us-1-km-2000-2016). The Daily and Annual PM2.5 Concentrations for the Contiguous United States, 1-km Grids, v1 (2000 - 2016) data set includes predictions of PM2.5 concentrations in grid cells at a res...
Article
Full-text available
Background: The metabolomic signatures of short- and long-term exposure to PM2.5 have been reported and linked to inflammation and oxidative stress. However, little is known about the relative contribution of the specific PM2.5 species (hence sources) that drive these metabolomic signatures. Objectives: We aimed to determine the relative contrib...
Article
Solar radiation plays a major role in atmospheric photochemistry, contributing to the formation and growth of ultrafine particles (PN). PN affect global Earth's radiation balance, climate system, and human health. However, the impact of solar activity on ambient PN remains unclear. In this study, we investigated the associations between daily ambie...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Short-term exposures to air pollution and temperature have been reported to be associated with inflammation and oxidative stress. However, mechanistic understanding of the affected metabolic pathways is still lacking and literature on the short-term exposure of air-pollution on the metabolome is limited. Objectives: We aimed to deter...
Article
Recent studies have found associations between particle radioactivity and various human health outcomes. The aim of this study is to identify sources contributing to PM2.5 (particulate matter with the aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 μm) gross α- and β-activity levels. We used positive matrix factorization (PMF) to identify and apportion sources...
Article
Particle radioactivity (PR) exposure has been linked to adverse health effects. PR refers to the presence of α- and β-emitting radioisotopes attached to fine particulate matter (PM2.5). This study investigated sources contributing to indoor PM2.5 gross α- and β-radioactivity levels. We measured activity from long-lived radon progeny radionuclides f...
Article
Full-text available
Between March and April 2020, Cyprus and Greece health authorities enforced three escalated levels of public health interventions to control the COVID-19 pandemic. We quantified compliance of 108 asthmatic schoolchildren (53 from Cyprus, 55 from Greece, mean age 9.7 years) from both countries to intervention levels, using wearable sensors to contin...
Article
Background Rising temperatures due to climate change are expected to impact human adaptive response, including changes to home cooling and ventilation patterns. These changes may affect air pollution exposures via alteration in residential air exchange rates, affecting indoor infiltration of outdoor particles. We conducted a field study examining a...
Article
The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic spread rapidly despite extraordinary screening and social distancing measures. Such rapid spread was due in part to the fact that the disease transmission, particularly via airborne spread, is poorly understood. Characterizing the airborne size distribution of severe acute respiratory syndrome corona...