Sarah B Henderson

Sarah B Henderson
BC Centre for Disease Control · Environmental Health Services

BASc, PhD

About

171
Publications
36,328
Reads
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5,078
Citations
Introduction
I oversee a program of applied research and surveillance to support evidence-based environmental health policy for the province of British Columbia, Canada. My experience in a wide range of environmental health content is integrated by my strengths as a creative methodologist and data scientist.
Additional affiliations
March 2013 - present
University of British Columbia
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
June 2010 - March 2020
BC Centre for Disease Control
Position
  • Senior Researcher
November 2009 - June 2010
University of Tasmania
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Education
September 2003 - September 2009
University of British Columbia - Vancouver
Field of study
  • Environmental Epidemiology
September 1995 - April 2000
University of British Columbia - Vancouver
Field of study
  • Environmental Engineering

Publications

Publications (171)
Article
BACKGROUND: Exposure to fine particulate matter (PM 2:5) during wildfire seasons has been associated with adverse health outcomes. Previous studies have focused on daily exposure, but PM 2:5 levels in smoke events can vary considerably within 1 d. OBJECTIVES: We aimed to assess the immediate and lagged relationship between sub-daily exposure to P...
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Wildfire smoke exposure is associated with a range of acute health outcomes, which can be more severe in individuals with underlying health conditions. Currently, there is limited information on the susceptibility of healthcare facilities to smoke infiltration. As part of a larger study to address this gap, a rehabilitation facility in Vancouver, C...
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Background: British Columbia, Canada, was impacted by a record-setting heat dome in early summer 2021. Most households in greater Vancouver do not have air conditioning, and there was a 440% increase in community deaths during the event. Readily available data were analyzed to inform modifications to the public health response during subsequent eve...
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Background Residential wood burning is a major source of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) during winter and a leading contributor to air pollution. Exposure to woodsmoke PM2.5 is associated with many health effects, so it is important to characterize the magnitude and spatial variability in exposures. However, high infrastructure and maintenance cos...
Article
Background: There is increasing evidence that long-term exposure to fine particulate matter [PM ≤2.5μm in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5)] may adversely impact cognitive performance. Wildfire smoke is one of the biggest sources of PM2.5 and concentrations are likely to increase under climate change. However, little is known about how short-term expos...
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Purpose of Review Increasing wildfire size and severity across the western United States has created an environmental and social crisis that must be approached from a transdisciplinary perspective. Climate change and more than a century of fire exclusion and wildfire suppression have led to contemporary wildfires with more severe environmental impa...
Preprint
In late June to early July 2021 a heatwave of unprecedented magnitude impacted the Pacific Northwest region, lands colonially named British Columbia (BC) and Alberta (AB) in Canada, and Washington (WA) and Oregon (OR) in the United States. Many locations broke all-time maximum daily temperature records by more than 5°C. The standing Canadian nation...
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Wildfire smoke events are increasing in British Columbia (BC), Canada and environmental and public health agencies are responsible for communicating the health-related risks and mitigation strategies. To evaluate and identify opportunities for improving public communications about wildfire smoke and associated health risks we collaborated with end-...
Article
This review addresses knowledge gaps in cannabis cultivation facility (CCF) air emissions by synthesizing the peer-reviewed and gray literature. Focus areas include compounds emitted, air quality indoors and outdoors, odor assessment, and the potential health effects of emitted compounds. Studies suggest that β-myrcene is a tracer candidate for CCF...
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Odours from a wide range of sources can affect local air quality at different times and with different intensities. Unlike air pollutants such as fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ground-level ozone (O3), there is no strong scientific evidence directly linking exposure to odours with specific health effects. Although odours are often characterize...
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Wildland fires are diminishing air quality on a seasonal and regional basis, raising concerns about respiratory health risks to the public and occupational groups. This American Thoracic Society (ATS) workshop was convened in 2019 to meet the growing health threat of wildland fire smoke. The workshop brought together a multi-disciplinary group of 1...
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Background: The modular British Columbia Asthma Prediction System (BCAPS) is designed to reduce information burden during wildfire smoke events by automatically gathering, integrating, generating, and visualizing data for public health users. The BCAPS framework comprises five flexible and geographically scalable modules: (1) historic data on fine...
Article
Objective: Smoke from burning biomass is an important source of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), but the health risks may not be fully captured by the Canadian Air Quality Health Index (AQHI). In May 2018, the province of British Columbia launched an evidence-based amendment (AQHI-Plus) to improve AQHI performance for wildfire smoke, but the AQHI-P...
Article
As we enter the wildfire season in the northern hemisphere, the potential for a dangerous interaction between SARS-CoV-2 and smoke pollution should be recognized and acknowledged. This is challenging because the public health threat of COVID-19 is immediate and clear, whereas the public health threat of wildfire smoke seems distant and uncertain in...
Article
Background Extreme heat events have been associated with excess morbidity and mortality worldwide. Previous research mainly evaluated extreme heat exposures at the municipal and local scales, but individuals are exposed in much smaller areas. The goal of this study was to assess whether land use regression (LUR) models could be developed for air te...
Article
Smoke from wildfires contains many air pollutants of concern and epidemiological studies have identified associations between exposure to wildfire smoke PM2.5 and mortality and respiratory morbidity, and a possible association with cardiovascular morbidity. For this study, a retrospective analysis of air quality modelling was performed to quantify...
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Climate change is an increasingly important public health issue, reflected in morbidity and mortality outcomes during extreme heat events. At the same time, the harms of social isolation with respect to a wide range of health outcomes are becoming better understood. Given that older adults are at higher risk during hot weather and at higher risk of...
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Previous research has associated snowfall with risk of myocardial infarction (MI). Most studies have been conducted in regions with harsh winters, it remains unclear whether snowfall is associated with risk of MI in regions with milder or more varied climates. This study used a case-crossover design to investigate the association between snowfall a...
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There is limited evidence for short-term association between mortality and ambient air pollution in the Middle East and no study has evaluated exposure windows of about a month prior to death. We investigated all-cause non-accidental daily mortality and its association with fine particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and the Air Qualit...
Article
Objective Wildfire smoke is an important source of air pollution associated with a range of cardiopulmonary health conditions. The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is the most widely used tool in Canada to communicate with the public about air pollution, but it may not adequately reflect health risks from wildfire smoke. The objective of this study...
Article
In a rapidly urbanizing world, identifying evidence-based strategies to support healthy design is essential. Although urban living offers increased access to critical resources and can help to mitigate climate change, densely populated neighborhood environments are often higher in many of the physical and psychological stressors that are detrimenta...
Article
Urban greenness has been associated with a wide range of health benefits, partially due to local cooling. Several studies on these health benefits have assessed individual and population exposure to urban greenness using the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) from different satellite platforms. Recent comparisons between birds-eye NDVI a...
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Objectives To estimate the proportion of the Canadian population that is more susceptible to adverse effects of ozone (O3) and fine particle (PM2.5) air pollution exposure and how this varies by health region alongside ambient concentrations of O3 and PM2.5. Methods Using data from the census, the Canadian Community Health Survey, vital statistics...
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The extensible Biomass Smoke Validated Events Database is an ongoing, community driven, collection of air pollution events which are known to be caused by vegetation fires such as bushfires (also known as wildfire and wildland fires), or prescribed fuel reduction burns, and wood heaters. This is useful for researchers of health impacts who need to...
Article
Exposure to wildfire smoke averaged over 24-hour periods has been associated with a wide range of acute cardiopulmonary events, but little is known about the effects of sub-daily exposures immediately preceding these events. One challenge for studying sub-daily effects is the lack of spatially and temporally resolved estimates of smoke exposures. I...
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Background: Ambulance data provide a useful source of population-based and spatiotemporally resolved information for assessing health impacts of air pollution in non-hospital settings. We used the clinical records of paramedics to quantify associations between PM2.5 and diabetic, cardiovascular, and respiratory conditions commonly managed by those...
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Following an extreme heat event in 2009, a Heat Alert and Response System (HARS) was implemented for the greater Vancouver area of British Columbia (BC), Canada. This system has provided a framework for guiding public health interventions and assessing population response and adaptation to extreme heat in greater Vancouver, but no other parts of BC...
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Sustainable fire management has eluded all industrial societies. Given the growing number and magnitude of wildfire events, prescribed fire is being increasingly promoted as the key to reducing wildfire risk. However, smoke from prescribed fires can adversely affect public health. We propose that the application of air quality standards can lead to...
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Aeroallergens occur naturally in the environment and are widely dispersed across Canada, yet their public health implications are not well-understood. This review intends to provide a scientific and public health-oriented perspective on aeroallergens in Canada: their distribution, health impacts, and new developments including the effects of climat...
Article
Forest fire smoke is a growing public health concern as more intense and frequent fires are expected under climate change. Remote sensing is a promising tool for exposure assessment, but its utility for health studies is limited because most products measure pollutants in the total column of the atmosphere, and not the surface concentrations most r...
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Background: Data from poison centers have the potential to be valuable for public health surveillance of long-term trends, short-term aberrations from those trends, and poisonings occurring in near-real-time. This information can enable long-term prevention via programs and policies and short-term control via immediate public health response. Over...
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Mortality attributable to extreme hot weather is a growing concern in many urban environments, and spatial heat vulnerability indexes are often used to identify areas at relatively higher and lower risk. Three indexes were developed for greater Vancouver, Canada using a pool of 20 potentially predictive variables categorized to reflect social vulne...
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Various aspects of land use regression (LUR) models for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were systematically reviewed. Sixteen studies were identified published between 2002 and 2017. Of these, six were conducted in Canada, five in the USA, two in Spain, and one each in Germany, Italy, and Iran. They were developed for 14 different individual VOCs...
Conference Paper
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Background/Aim The spatiotemporal variability of ambient volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in Tehran, Iran, is not well understood. Here we present the design, methods, and results of Tehran Study of Exposure Prediction for Environmental Health Research (Tehran SEPEHR) on ambient concentrations of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, p-xylene, m-xylene,...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background/Aim: We aimed to systematically review all land use regression (LUR) models developed for volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Methods: We searched 12 databases in The Web of Science® including Web of Science Core Collection, Medline and ten others up to March 10, 2017. Only original research articles were retained for the analyses. Studie...
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FireWork is an on-line, one-way coupled meteorology–chemistry model based on near-real-time wildfire emissions. It was developed by Environment and Climate Change Canada to deliver operational real-time forecasts of biomass-burning pollutants, in particular fine particulate matter (PM2.5), over North America. Such forecasts provide guidance for ear...
Article
Drinking water related infections are expected to increase in the future due to climate change. Understanding the current links between these infections and environmental factors is vital to understand and reduce the future burden of illness. We investigated the relationship between weekly reported cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis (n = 7,422), extr...
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Background Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) is a naturally occurring bacterium found in marine environments worldwide. It can cause gastrointestinal illness in humans, primarily through raw oyster consumption. Water temperatures, and potentially other environmental factors, play an important role in the growth and proliferation of Vp in the environment...
Article
Background: Natural spaces can provide psychological benefits to individuals, but population-level epidemiologic studies have produced conflicting results. Refining current exposure-assessment methods is necessary to advance our understanding of population health and to guide the design of health-promoting urban forms. Objectives: The aim of thi...
Article
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In recent years, many air quality monitoring programs have favoured measurement of particles less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) over particles less than 10 microns (PM10) in light of evidence that health impacts are mostly from the fine fraction. However, the coarse fraction (PM10-2.5) may have independent health impacts that support continued measureme...
Article
Full-text available
The spatiotemporal variability of ambient volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in Tehran, Iran, is not well understood. Here we present the design, methods, and results of the Tehran Study of Exposure Prediction for Environmental Health Research (Tehran SEPEHR) on ambient concentrations of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, p-xylene, m-xylene, o-xylene (...
Article
Background: Harmful algal blooms produce paralytic shellfish toxins that accumulate in the tissues of filter feeding shellfish. Ingestion of these toxic shellfish can cause a serious and potentially fatal condition known as paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). The coast of British Columbia is routinely monitored for shellfish toxicity, and this stu...
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Background: Climate change has increased the frequency and intensity of extremely hot weather. The health risks are not uniform across affected areas due to variability in heat exposure and social vulnerability, but these differences are challenging to map with precision. Objectives: To develop a spatially- and temporally-stratified case-crossov...
Article
Full-text available
Landscape fires can produce large quantities of smoke that degrade air quality in both remote and urban communities. Smoke from these fires is a complex mixture of fine particulate matter and gases, exposure to which is associated with increased respiratory and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The public health response to short-lived smoke...
Article
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Prescribed burning is used to reduce the occurrence, extent and severity of uncontrolled fires in many flammable landscapes. However, epidemiologic evidence of the human health impacts of landscape fire smoke emissions is shaping fire management practice through increasingly stringent environmental regulation and public health policy. An unresolved...