Sarah B Henderson

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

40.35
 · 
BASc, PhD

About

154
Publications
24,152
Reads
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3,526
Citations
Introduction
I lead 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.
Research Experience
March 2013 - present
University of British Columbia
Position
  • Assistant Professor
June 2010 - March 2020
BC Centre for Disease Control
Position
  • Senior Scientist
November 2009 - June 2010
University of Tasmania
Position
  • Post Doctoral Fellow
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 (154)
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: 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...
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...
Article
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...
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
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
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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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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...
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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...
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...
Article
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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
Full-text available
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
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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...
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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
Full-text available
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
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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...
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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...
Article
Residential woodsmoke is an under-regulated source of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), often surpassing mobile and industrial emissions in rural communities in North America and elsewhere. In the province of British Columbia (BC), Canada, many municipalities are hesitant to adopt stricter regulations for residential wood burning without empirical e...
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Background Mobile air temperature monitoring is a promising method to better understand temperature distributions at fine spatial resolutions across urban areas. The study objectives were to collect microscale measurements for evaluate different data sources used to assess heat exposure in greater Vancouver, Canada. Methods Mobile air temperature m...
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Background Most excess deaths that occur during extreme hot weather events do not have natural heat recorded as an underlying or contributing cause. This study aims to identify the specific individuals who died because of hot weather using only secondary data. A novel approach was developed in which the expected number of deaths was repeatedly samp...
Article
Background: Emergency ambulance dispatches (EAD) are a novel outcome for evaluating the public health impacts of air pollution. We assessed the relationships between ambient particulate matter (PM) from all sources, PM from landscape fire smoke (LFS), and EADs likely to be associated with cardiorespiratory problems in the Sydney greater metropolit...
Article
Background: Industrial plants emit air pollutants like fine particles (PM2.5), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) that may affect the health of individuals living nearby. Objective: To assess the effects of community exposure to air emissions of PM2.5, SO2, and NO2 from pulp mills, oil refineries, metal smelters, on respiratory hospita...
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Very few land use regression (LUR) models have been developed for megacities in low-and middle-income countries, but such models are needed to facilitate epidemiologic research on air pollution. We developed annual and seasonal LUR models for ambient oxides of nitrogen (NO, NO2 , and NOx) in the Middle Eastern city of Tehran, Iran, using 2010 data...
Conference Paper
Introduction Climate change is expected to increase the burden of waterborne acute gastrointestinal illness (AGI) with the increased frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events. Turbidity in source water is a risk factor. Here we investigate the relationship between extreme precipitation, turbidity and parasitic AGI. Further, we project...
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Full-text available
Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) generated by forest fires has been associated with a wide range of adverse health outcomes, including exacerbation of respiratory diseases and increased risk of mortality. Due to the unpredictable nature of forest fires, it is challenging for public health authorities to reliably evaluate the magnitude and duration o...
Article
This paper outlines a latent process model for forecasting multiple health outcomes arising from a common environmental exposure. Traditionally, surveillance models in environmental health do not link health outcome measures, such as morbidity or mortality counts, to measures of exposure, such as air pollution. Moreover, different measures of healt...
Article
Keywords: Wildfire Public health Evacuations Emergency management Terra MODIS Aerosol optical depth Cloud mask Wildfires can pose direct and indirect threats to public health via fire and smoke, respectively. Evacuations are used to manage both types of threat given situational information about fires and their behaviour. However, there has been li...
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Full-text available
Background: There is no safe concentration of radon gas, but guideline values provide threshold concentrations that are used to map areas at higher risk. These values vary between different regions, countries, and organizations, which can lead to differential classification of risk. For example the World Health Organization suggests a 100 Bq m(-3)...
Conference Paper
Introduction: Land use regression (LUR) models based on measurement campaigns are frequently used to assess long-term exposure to ambient air pollution. Our aim was to develop LUR models based on fixed-site monitoring station data for estimating annual and seasonal spatial variation in nitrogen oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitrogen oxides...
Conference Paper
Introduction: Land use regression (LUR) models based on measurement campaigns are frequently used to assess long-term exposure to ambient air pollution. Our aim was to develop LUR models based on fixed-site monitoring station data for estimating annual and seasonal spatial variation in nitrogen oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitrogen oxides...
Article
Full-text available
The British Columbia Asthma Monitoring System (BCAMS) tracks forest fire smoke exposure and asthma-related health outcomes, identifying excursions beyond expected daily counts. Weekly reports during the wildfire season support public health and emergency management decision-making. We evaluated BCAMS by identifying excursions for asthma-related phy...