Article

Creating environmental consciousness in underserved communities: Implementation and outcomes of community-based environmental justice and air pollution research

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

While the literature documents known barriers to research participation in underserved communities, there are still very few evidence-based strategies that have successfully addressed gaps regarding recruitment and retention. To this end, we developed a replicable model designed to establish community-academic partnerships and advance environmental health research in underserved communities. The Environmental Justice Community Alert Matrix (EJCAM) was implemented in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and includes programmatic elements of both citizen science and community engagement: (1) Outreach – Community Action Teams, (2) Involvement – Urban Transition Cities Movement, (3) Participatory Research – Mobile Air Quality Monitoring Bicycle Campaign, and (4) Consultation – Indoor Air Quality Assessments. Resident-led workshops were used to increase environmental consciousness in communities through peer-to-peer education. Adapting citizen science methods, commercially available particle counters were retrofitted to bicycles and the associated data used to develop GIS maps of particulate matter dispersion. Results show spatially-resolved PM 2.5 values increase from background levels by an order of magnitude or 1000 counts adjacent to construction sites and public transportation hubs. As distrust in outside institutions has limited the reach of environmental justice research in underserved communities, bottom-up principles that start with individuals are essential, and should be undertaken as a meaningful and ongoing process.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... The timescale and extent of the monitoring varied across the studies identified, from mobile sampling over a few days [36], to maintaining monitoring sites for a number of years [41]. Residents also led workshops and community meetings, interpreted data findings, and disseminated information to the wider community and other stakeholders [31,32,53]. Fewer studies involved citizens using other scientific methods, including generating "a lay model of local air quality" [48,50,[56][57][58], creating photo-maps to reflect lived experience of residing in polluted areas [45], and using a smell-reporting system to predict pollution events [68]. ...
... Trusting and equitable relationships between researchers and residents were seen as a facilitator [35,36,39]. Expertise and experience of community members was valued, for example recruiting members of the community with technical skills [35], or local experts to ensure that activities were tailored to residents [53]. ...
... Some studies suggested the integration of community outreach and education from the outset provided a solid foundation for informed community engagement [35,41,52]. Diversity in both the community members and the research team was viewed as a critical to success across some studies, particularly in ensuring it was representative of the local population [35,43,53,65]. Lastly, financial recognition for the individuals involved and ensuring that community-based organisations received an appropriate share of the funding was also noted as a facilitator [39,41]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background Exposure to air pollution has a detrimental effect on health and disproportionately affects people living in socio-economically disadvantaged areas. Engaging with communities to identify concerns and solutions could support organisations responsible for air quality control, improve environmental decision-making, and widen understanding of air quality issues associated with health. This scoping review aimed to provide an overview of approaches used to engage communities in addressing air quality and identify the outcomes that have been achieved. Methods Searches for studies that described community engagement in air quality activities were conducted across five databases (Academic Search Complete, CABI, GreenFILE, MEDLINE, Web of Science). Data on study characteristics, community engagement approach, and relevant outcomes were extracted. The review process was informed by a multi-stakeholder group with an interest in and experience of community engagement in air quality. Thirty-nine papers from thirty studies were included in the final synthesis. Conclusion A range of approaches have been used to engage communities in addressing air quality, most notably air quality monitoring. Positive outcomes included increased awareness, capacity building, and changes to organisational policy and practice. Longer-term projects and further exploration of the impact of community engagement on improving air quality and health are needed as reporting on these outcomes was limited.
... For example, non-Hispanic Black communities experience the poorest air quality [1] and green spaces are inadequate in low income neighborhoods [2,3]. Moreover, African Americans/Blacks (hereafter "Blacks") were exposed to a higher rate of toxic water pollutants in Flint, Michigan, USA than other racial groups [4,5]. The environmental justice movement centers on environmental hazards that have impacted minority communities far more often than whites [1]; however, perceptions of Blacks about issues like natural resources and climate change are not well understood. ...
... Blacks may have been perceived as being indifferent to mainstream environmental issues because many lack involvement in mainstream environmental organizations compared to whites. However, Blacks have been at the forefront of the environmental justice movement by advocating for justice on local issues that negatively impact their communities [4,13,16,31,32]. ...
... Because many Blacks live in impoverished neighborhoods, it is an undeniable fact that local issues are prioritized, which includes environmental issues in these poorly resourced communities. While many urban cities espouse the notion of promoting healthy city environments, not all citizens share these benefits equally [4]. There appears a limited appetite from many local governments to seek true policy implementation that invest resources in impoverished communities. ...
Article
Full-text available
Our study elucidated knowledge and perceptions of natural resources and climate change by African Americans/Blacks in Washington, DC since they are a traditionally marginalized population and to see if we could dispel the perception that they have low knowledge and interest in environmental issues. Secondarily, we wanted to determine if knowledge and perceptions vary across age groups. We conducted a survey of 491 Blacks in the District and asked 26 questions/statements related to natural resources, climate change, economics, and health. Participants were categorized into four age groups 18–25, 26–40, 41–65, and 66 and older for analysis. We found that the level of environmental knowledge across the age groups was relatively high and largely similar. Our results suggest that Blacks care about the environment, see the environment as beneficial to their health, and are knowledgeable about natural resources. However, younger Blacks (18–25) were the least likely to think of the natural world as a community to which they belong, report feelings of connection to it, and recognize that it impacts their personal welfare. In conclusion, we find that Blacks in the District possess environmental awareness and use local environmental language, depicting the uniqueness of their community. The mainstream environmental movement may fail to recognize this local language, leading to exclusion of vulnerable populations based on a faulty premise that these populations lack knowledge or interest in environmental issues.
... Although the existing literature clearly established a relationship between the built environment and its effects on physical health (Berglund et al. 1992;Samet 1993), to our knowledge, no studies to date have examined indoor air pollution and its effect on quality of life (physical and mental health) (Hoisington et al. 2019). In the tradition of our previous work on environmental justice and community engagement in underserved communities, utilizing the Environmental Justice Community Alert Matrix (EJCAM) framework (Rickenbacker et al. 2019), in this study we examine the relationship between the built environment, air quality, and quality of life (QOL) in 30 neighborhoods and 51 residences in the greater Pittsburgh region. ...
... Households entered this study on a rolling basis through existing partnerships with local community-based organizations (CBO). The community-academic partnership is summarized in our prior work (Rickenbacker et al. 2019). Local residents were recruited at various tabling events, through door-to-door canvasing, and by word of mouth. ...
Article
There is evidence that when people are exposed to sociobehavorial and socioeconomic disadvantage they become more susceptible to the impacts of poor environmental quality and experience exacerbated health outcomes as a result. In addition, existing literature clearly establishes a relationship between the built environment (e.g., housing, transportation infrastructure) and its effects on physical health, yet no studies to date have examined indoor air pollution and its effect on quality of life (combining physical and mental health). The goal of this study was to move beyond physical health and associate indoor air pollution to reduced psychological and social wellbeing. This study focuses on indoor air quality (IAQ) data and select results from a quality of life (QOL) survey from 41 homes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Each home was monitored for 7–31 days collecting continuous samples of carbon dioxide, particulate matter (PM), black carbon, relative humidity, radon, temperature, formaldehyde, and total volatile organic compounds; colocated outdoor samples were also collected. Seasonal effects on IAQ were observed across the study. More specifically, a buildup of volatile organic compounds from cleaning/sanitizing products and other anthropogenic sources (e.g., human metabolism, personal care products, and clothing) were attributed to the enclosed nature of homes during heating months. The challenges of aged and deteriorating infrastructure also impacted pollutant concentrations. Radon levels in homes built before 1940, were on average 69% higher than conventional homes built after 1940. The largest PM concentrations were observed in homes where occupants smoked indoors, or the homes were occupied by pets. Based on the QOL survey, bivariate analysis of the 41 questions suggests household income (r = 0.57), poor mental health days (r = −0.71), depression (r = −0.77), anxiety (r = −0.66), everyday functionally (r = −0.62), and living in a safe and secure environment (r = 0.52) are significant factors that impact QOL. Multiple linear regression was then performed to determine the strength of each predictor variable, and to forecast the effect of indoor PM on the overall QOL score. The analysis revealed a significant relationship between indoor PM and individual dimensions of QOL (household income, and living in a safe and secure environment), but there was not a dominant effect on the overall QOL score. Although the effect was less profound than expected, our analysis serves as the basis of future work and marks the beginning of needed research in IAQ and its effect on social and emotional wellbeing.
... Works mentioned in Table 1 either use participatory research or citizen science to address critical issues related to creating efficient air pollution monitoring frameworks (Jerrett et al., 2017;Leonardi, Cappellotto, Caraviello, Lepri, & Antonelli, 2014;Rickenbacker, Brown, & Bilec, 2019), understanding personal exposure (Kaduwela et al., 2019;Kumar et al., 2020), risk-governance and environmental justice (Hubbell et al., 2018;Rickenbacker et al., 2019). With the easy availability of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and crowdsourcing platforms, it has become easier than ever to develop citizen sensed air quality data collection and analysis infrastructures (Camprodon et al., 2019;D'Amore, Cinnirella, & Pirrone, 2012). ...
... Works mentioned in Table 1 either use participatory research or citizen science to address critical issues related to creating efficient air pollution monitoring frameworks (Jerrett et al., 2017;Leonardi, Cappellotto, Caraviello, Lepri, & Antonelli, 2014;Rickenbacker, Brown, & Bilec, 2019), understanding personal exposure (Kaduwela et al., 2019;Kumar et al., 2020), risk-governance and environmental justice (Hubbell et al., 2018;Rickenbacker et al., 2019). With the easy availability of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and crowdsourcing platforms, it has become easier than ever to develop citizen sensed air quality data collection and analysis infrastructures (Camprodon et al., 2019;D'Amore, Cinnirella, & Pirrone, 2012). ...
Article
Air pollution is a serious problem and has caused public health concerns all over the world. Despite the evidence, the preparedness and response of citizens has been limited. This underlines the importance of having sustainable air quality monitoring solutions that foster inclusion and multi-stakeholder partnerships for social-scientific interventions. This study illustrates how AirBox project has emerged in Taiwan, where makers and citizens use the sensors to sense air quality and provide the public with actionable data about their environments. The AirBox project includes elements of technology-innovation and citizen science: (1) Participatory Sensing – Static and mobile air quality sensing, (2) Open Data – Open hardware, software and access to data, (3) Co-creation Citizen Science – Citizen-led campaigns and forums, and (4) Outreach – Knowledge sharing, trust building and multi-stakeholder collaboration. The project uses a wide range of sensors to provide extendable solutions and data at fine spatio-temporal resolution. The results are highlighted using five cases studies that show how integrating social dimensions in an air quality monitoring framework can lead to public awareness, data-driven applications and environmentally sustainable cities. The multi-faceted approach highlights the effects of a bottom-up citizen science approach that considers local culture, practices and problems at grassroots.
... Analyses of the impacts of PPGIS on the urban planning process have indicated that there are limitations to the ways in which community mapping informs land use decisions. While some argue that community mapping data is the most strategically used during the problem identification stage of the urban planning process, there is more need to have this data fit within the intervention stage [52][53][54]. While there are examples PPGIS used in addressing procedural justice in urban planning, there is still limited evidence pointing to its impacts on influencing the process for several reasons, including the lack of resources to support effective community participation [52,55] and resistance from planners [56]. ...
... Though there are significant impacts on the land use planning process, there are some limitations to this influence. First, community mapping data is often used in the problem identification stage of the urban planning process and less so in the intervention stage [52][53][54]. While IMPLAN representatives did allude to some influence the project had in creating planning interventions for the Alamar region, to date there are no concrete examples of this in action. ...
Article
Full-text available
Community mapping projects have been studied as important contributions to the field of environmental justice and Public Participation Geographic Information Systems (PPGIS). As a collaborative project between the Colectivo Salud y Justicia Ambiental and Red de Ciudadanos por el Mejoramiento de las Comunidades (RECIMEC), the “Mapeo Comunitario de la Zona Alamar” was created as a mechanism for community participation in the urban planning process in Tijuana, México. This paper outlines the project’s community mapping process, including planning, data collection, priority identification, and data submission. Results from this community mapping project are analyzed including the (1) particular environmental risks and goods in this border region, (2) the influence that the project data had on the urban planning process, and (3) the impact that the community mapping process had on community organizing capacity. Our findings point to particular environmental challenges in this border city including clandestine trash dumps, and contaminated water runoff points. The mapping project influenced the land use planning process by identifying the key environmental risks and goods to prioritize in the zoning and ground truthing urban planning data. The community mapping project also had a key impact on community organizing through the fomenting of knowledge and relationships between community members and government representatives at the city’s urban planning agency.
... Previous literature has shown that in addition to outdoor air quality, indoor household air quality also contributes to asthma prevalence (Akar-Ghibril and Phipatanakul, 2020). Household air quality has been studied as an environmental justice factor and it has been shown that underrepresented communities have worse indoor air quality compared to well-represented community counterparts (Rickenbacker et al., 2019). ...
Article
Approximately twenty-five million individuals in the United States suffer from asthma, a chronic lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe. Environmental factors, such as air quality, contribute to asthma prevalence. Unfortunately, socioeconomic status is also a key risk factor for asthma, where people of color or of low-income have the highest prevalence of asthma. In the City of Philadelphia, policy-driven segregation helped create underserved and underrepresented communities, where this public health issue is highly prevalent. This study examines the relationship between community demographics, socioeconomic status, air quality, and asthma prevalence from an environmental justice perspective in the City of Philadelphia. Geospatial and correlation analyses were used to determine relationships between community demographics, median household income, yearly average concentration of PM 2.5, and asthma prevalence. Parts of North Philadelphia and West Philadelphia have a relatively high number of non-Hispanic Black residents, relatively low annual median household income, relatively high PM2.5 concentration, and relatively high asthma prevalence. Recommendations for improving air quality and public health include reducing PM2.5 sources, planting more vegetation to reduce PM2.5 levels, promotion of equitable health services, reduction of systemic racism, and implementation of policy-driven reform to promote equity leading to social and environmental justice.
... Researchers can build trust by listening to community members and making them partners in the research process. Holding meetings to both speak and listen may seem tedious and repetitive at times, but they are important in building partnerships (Goldberg-Freeman et al. 2010), especially if community members are co-leaders (Rickenbacker, Brown, and Bilec 2019). Because holding physical meetings is not always logistically possible, social media can help researchers build trust by allowing them to stay electronically connected and responsive (Koch, Gerber, and De Klerk 2018). ...
Article
Community-based research can improve validity and benefit its subjects, but building trust with communities and research subjects can be challenging. Social media is a powerful tool that can be used to build connections and share information. Yet, little research has been done on how social media can be used as a recruitment and communication tool for community-based research (CBR) projects. Our study used Facebook to advance the goals of a community-based social science research project in Little Rock, Arkansas. We compared participation and results distribution rates for this longitudinal research project in 2012, 2016, and 2018, and we found increases in 2018, the year we used social media. The results indicate that social media can aid CBR by helping to build trust, improve credibility, and facilitate communication.
... Air pollution provides one of the highest environmental health risks for underserved communities [25]. The intersection of outdoor and indoor air pollution with socioeconomic status can result in many adverse health outcomes ( Figure 1). ...
Article
Full-text available
Air pollution disproportionately affects marginalized populations of lower socioeconomic status. There is little literature on how socioeconomic status affects the risk of exposure to air pollution and associated health outcomes, particularly for children’s health. The objective of this article was to review the existing literature on air pollution and children’s health and discern how socioeconomic status affects this association. The concept of environmental injustice recognizes how underserved communities often suffer from higher air pollution concentrations in addition to other underlying risk factors for impaired health. This exposure then exerts larger effects on their health than it does in the average population, affecting the whole body, including the lungs and the brain. Children, whose organs and mind are still developing and who do not have the means of protecting themselves or creating change, are the most vulnerable to the detrimental effects of air pollution and environmental injustice. The adverse health effects of air pollution and environmental injustice can harm children well into adulthood and may even have transgenerational effects. There is an urgent need for action in order to ensure the health and safety of future generations, as social disparities are continuously increasing, due to social discrimination and climate change.
... Second, studies on governance methods have proposed some carbon emission governance tools [10,11] or models [12][13][14][15], targeting one aspect, such as production or building, of governance, at the city level [16][17][18]. Third, many carbon emission governance case studies have been conducted on small-scale objects, such as urban centers [19], communities [20][21][22], and industrial parks [23,24]. Also, more than 80 low-carbon pilots were set up in China from 2010 to 2017 and some research was conducted to analyze the carbon emission governance effects of the pilots. ...
Article
Full-text available
Low-carbon governance at the county level has been an important issue for sustainable development due to the large contributions to carbon emission. However, the experiences of carbon emission governance at the county level are lacking. This paper discusses 5 carbon emission governance zones for 1753 counties. The zoning is formed according to a differentiated zoning method based on a multi-indicator evaluation to judge if the governance had better focus and had formulated a differentiated carbon emission governance system. According to zoning results, there is 1 high-carbon governance zone, 2 medium-carbon governance zones, and 2 low-carbon zones. The extensive high-carbon governance zone and medium-carbon zones are key governance areas, in which the counties are mainly located in the northern plain areas and southeast coastal areas and have contributed 51.88% of total carbon emissions. This paper proposes differentiated governance standards for each indicator of the 5 zones. The differentiated zoning method mentioned in this paper can be applied to other governance issues of small-scale regions.
... In addition to environmental awareness that relates to ecological buying behavior, which can be measured through environmental knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and actions involved in consumer behavior [46,67], a state of mind associated with environmentally friendly behavior is defined as ecological consciousness [49]. Ecological consciousness is the key to the relationships between people and new technologies with the ecosystems [68] and moreover can be referred to as the experience of 'Self' [13,69]. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study aims at embedding sustainability practices by exploring sustainable actions of individuals consisting the educated workforce of Greece. A tailored questionnaire was created and sent via e-mails to 500 respondents, to identify a snapshot of participants daily buying and consuming actions. 483 responses received and analyzed using statistical tools. They respond to recommendations for enhancing sustainability consciousness at individual level, inspiring people to buy sustainable, creating new consumption attitudes that are key factors for moving towards a sustainable citizenship. The findings will further provide information for a second paper on developing the 'Go Sustainable Living' digital application to be uploaded in individuals' mobile phones, for rewarding users with points that correspond to each sustainable action and can later be used for discounts in all participating stores. The analysis showed that <30% of consumers are considered sustainability-conscious, 57.6% are in a transition phase, while 13% fell into the category of non-conscious. To make sustainable decisions and actions in every daily life, individuals need to have knowledge of sustainability, awareness, consciousness of their actions, and be active citizens. An educated workforce armed with sustainability perceptions and competencies is an asset for societies and businesses poised to respond to the sustainability call. Sustainability should not be only an 'utopia' in our societies but an 'eutopia' entailing a life with ecological and social health and prosperity at a local, regional, and global level. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s43615-021-00046-9.
... Multiple studies have capitalized on the citizens science approach to engage with the community by promoting interactive quizzes and workshops [39], active participatory monitoring campaign [40,41], easy-to-understand maps [21], attractive visualization platforms [42], and mobile applications [43] to make sense of the environmental data. ...
Article
Full-text available
Smart and sustainable communities seek to ensure comfortable and sustainable quality of life for community residents, the environment and the landscape. Pollution is a key factor affecting quality of life within a community. This research provides a detailed insight into a successfully developed and deployed framework for an environmental monitoring platform for an urban study to monitor, in real time, the air quality and noise level of two cities of the Dominican Republic—Santo Domingo and Santiago de Los Caballeros. This urban platform is based on a technology range, allowing for the integration of multiple environmental variables related to landscape and providing open data access to urban study and the community. Two case studies are presented: The first highlights how the platform can be used to understand the impact a natural event, for example, how dust landscapes (such as the Sahara) impact a community and the actions that can be taken for wellness and preventive care. The second case focuses on understanding how policies taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 affect the air quality and noise level of the landscape and community. In the second case, the platform can be used to expand the view of decision makers in the urban landscape and communities that are affected.
... Teaching environmental education in schools has played a key role in the educational process of turning young people into responsible citizens (Pascual et al., 2000). Environmental teaching programs (ETP) based on environmental policies help to transform local societies and communities (Pitoska and Lazarides, 2013;Rickenbacker et al., 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
Even though sacred scriptures emphasize the key role that Creation and respect for living creatures play in all religions, the so-called religious schools seem to show little interest in putting this sacred mandate into effect. To shed light on this subject, this work investigates the role of teachers in the process, focusing on their environmental competencies. Our hypotheses are tested through a structural equation model on a sample of 214 biology and religion teachers from 118 Catholic schools in Spain who voluntary participated in a survey. The research findings confirm that it is crucial that environmental competencies are developed in teachers to enable the greening of schools. Theoretical and practical implications for defining the job training of teachers in religious schools are drawn from the study.
... However, given the complexity of ecosystem services and demographics (population density, ethnicity, household income), study on linking them to environmental justice and considering distributive justice among beneficiaries is still relatively scarce (Ernstson, 2013). Achieving equity or fairness in the benefits of ecosystem services is still a complicated point in the study of ecosystem services and environmental justice (Schwarz et al., 2018;Rickenbacker et al., 2019). ...
Article
Ecosystem services generated in a specific area have utility outside the area. Ecosystem services have obvious externality. The degree and scale of ecosystem services directly delivered to beneficiaries vary greatly among different regions, resulting in environmental injustice. Implementation of ecological compensation (EC) can internalize the external effects and effectively solve environmental justice problems. It is imperative to clarify the supply-transmission-benefit mechanism between the providers of ecological products and services and the beneficiaries, and scientifically determine the beneficiaries and the compensation amount. Based on externalities and environmental justice theories, this study used the InVEST model and hotspot analysis to quantitatively assess carbon sequestration (CS) supply and demand in the Yellow River Basin and identified ecosystem service supply and demand areas. The comparative ecological radiation force (CERF), based on the gravity model and the breaking-point formula, was proposed to reveal the transmission paths, ecosystem service flow and to quantify the amount of EC. The result showed that although there was a spatial mismatch between the supply and demand of CS in the Yellow River Basin, most of the regions showed a surplus pattern. Baotou, Aba, Bayannur, and Erdos were the regions with large CERFs, and the amount of CS transferred outward was large. The total amount of EC obtained from the ecosystem services demand area was about 67.6 billion RMB. This study can provide references for the Yellow River Basin ecosystem management and the formulation of EC policies.
... Finally, concerning the DEJI validation, the literature suggests interpreting index results cautiously and assessing their validity through statistical robustness analyses and open discussions with citizens and stakeholders (Burgass et al., 2017). For example, adding qualitative methods and societal inputs for index validation could help explore the underlying values and interests that shape communities' perceptions and realities (Rickenbacker et al., 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental justice (EJ) raises concerns about just allocating environmental harms and goods. It has been mainly analysed from a distributive lens through indicators and screening tools that have underlined communities' proximity to pollution and risk sources. However, for urban areas, existing gaps relate to the need for more comprehensive assessments of green space benefits distribution (e.g., flood mitigation, air pollution control and recreation, etc.) as well as aligning EJ indicators to local planning and policy efforts for simultaneously addressing planning issues and reinforce the evaluation of existing unjust realities. To address these issues, we developed a composite distributive environmental justice index (DEJI) structured into three sub-indices that reflect locally relevant patterns of environmental risks, disadvantaged communities, and the provision of green space benefits. The construction of this index also relies on a qualitative content analysis of planning and policy documents to contextualise EJ priorities relevant to the planning administration, and a detailed methodological rationale for composite indicator building. Applying the DEJI in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain) at the census tract level, we identified a complex city-wide pattern of distributive injustices driven by the historical segregation patterns of insular contexts. Based on our results, we discuss how using the DEJI could help planning and policymakers reach specific goals, including those related to enhancing greening interventions in urban areas. Moreover, we argue that EJ composite indicators are needed to support environmentally just trajectories in cities with realities and planning patterns different from those found in mainland territories.
... An additional benefit of this approach is having open software/hardware, which helps to revise the study design and repeat the experiment by others to verify the authenticity of the work . Although this process could raise awareness and create environmental consciousness among local people regarding the destructive impact of air pollution Rickenbacker et al., 2019), the obtained results are informal and less reliable than traditional air quality monitoring stations (Boulos et al., 2011). Table 1 summarizes some citizen science-based studies that have been conducted to tackle air pollution. ...
Article
Full-text available
The use of cars for drop-off and pick-up of pupils from schools is a potential cause of pollution hotspots at school premises. Employing a joint execution of smart sensing technology and citizen science approach, a primary school took an initiative to co-design a study with local community and researchers to generate data and provide information to understand the impact on pollution levels and identify possible mitigation measures. This study was aimed to assess the hotspots of vehicle-generated particulate matter ≤2.5 μm (PM2.5) and ≤ 10 μm (PM10) at defined drop-off/pick-up points and its ingress into a nearby naturally ventilated primary school classroom. Five different locations were selected inside school premises for measurements during two peak hours: morning (MP; 0730-0930 h; local time) and evening (EP; 1400-1600 h) peak hours, and off-peak (OP; 1100-1300 h) hours for comparison. These represent PM measurements at the main road, pick-up point at the adjoining road, drop-off point, a classroom, and the school playground. Additional measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2) were taken simultaneously inside and outside (drop-off point) the classroom to understand its build-up and ingress of outdoor PM. The results indicate nearly a three-fold increase in the concentrations of fine particles (PM2.5) during drop-off hours compared to off-peak hours indicated the dominant contribution of car queuing in the school premises. Coarse particles (PM2.5–10) were prevalent in the school playground, while the contribution of fine particles as a result of traffic congestion became more pronounced during drop-off hours. In the naturally ventilated classroom, the changes in indoor PM2.5 concentrations during both peak hours (0.58 < R2 < 0.67) were followed by the outdoor concentration at the drop-off point. This initiative resulted in valuable information that might be used to influence school commuting style and raise other important issues such as the generally fairly high PM2.5 concentrations in the playground and future classroom ventilation plans.
... The negative health effects associated with criteria pollution have also been observed as being disproportionately present in certain low income and underrepresented populations [23,24]. Other studies have found correlations between the locations of these at-risk populations and major highways [25,26]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Exploring the system-level interactions within the modern urban transportation system, factors such as human health, vehicle exhaust pollution, air quality, emerging personal transportation technologies, and local weather events, are increasingly expedient considering the growth of human population centers projected in the 21st century. Pollutants often accumulate to unhealthy concentrations during winter inversion events such as those that commonly occur in Utah’s Salt Lake valley and other mountainous regions. This work examines the degree to which replacing conventionally powered vehicles with electric vehicles (EV) could reduce the near-road accumulation of criteria pollutants under various degrees of inversion depth and wind speed. Vehicle emissions data are combined with inversion and wind factors to determine changes in the Air Quality Index, and a first-order estimate of the cost required to build an EV charging infrastructure to support a given EV adoption scenario is also derived. Results are presented in the form of multiple Pareto frontiers and a simplified cost–benefit formula that inform potential public and private EV charging infrastructure investments to drive the EV adoption that would result in optimal air quality improvements during average weather and winter inversion events.
... This research utilizes a community-based participatory action research (CBPAR) approach, with the goal of promoting positive social change, and centring the needs and objectives of the local communities (Bacon et al 2013). The creation of long-term relationships with local populations is crucial to achieving democratic, egalitarian, and inclusive collaborations, beginning with the first phases of the project, including the design of the study and identification of objectives (Garzàn et al 2013, Rickenbacker et al 2019. ...
Article
Full-text available
In the Ecuadorian Amazon - one of Earth's last high-biodiversity wilderness areas and home to uncontacted indigenous populations – 50 years of widespread oil development is jeopardizing biodiversity and feeding environmental conflicts. In 2019, a campaign to eliminate oil-related gas flaring, led by Amazonian communities impacted by fossil fuel production, resulted in an injunction against the Ecuadoran Ministry of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources and the Ministry of Environment and Water. On January 26, 2021 the Court of Nueva Loja issued a historical order to ban gas flaring in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The present Citizen Science project plaied an important role in this process, enabling the production of independent spatial information through participatory mapping with indigenous and farmer communities. Globally, lack of independent information about oil activities has led to the monitoring of gas flaring by satellite imagery, achieving remarkable results. However, apart from institutional and remotely sensed data, reliable spatial information on gas flaring in the Ecuadorian Amazon is not available. Therefore, we adopted the Community-Based Participatory Action Research approach to develop a Participatory GIS process, aiming both to provide reliable data and to support social campaigns for environmental and climate justice. This work presents the first participatory mapping initiative of gas flaring at a regional scale, carried out completely through open source data and software. Having identified 295 previously unmapped gas flaring sites through participatory mapping, we highlight that the extent of gas flaring activities is well beyond the official data provided by the Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment and NOAA Nightfire annual datasets, which map only 24% and 33% of the sites, respectively. 75 of the detected sites were in the Yasuní Biosphere Reserve. Moreover, 39 of the identified sites were venting instead of flaring, a phenomenon never before documented in the Ecuadorian Amazon. This study demonstrates that, because official datasets and satellite imagery underestimate the extent of gas flaring in the Ecuadorian Amazon, community-based mapping offers a promising alternative for producing trusted, community-based scientific data. This community-produced data can support campaigns for legal recognition of human rights and environmental justice in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Finally, this study shows how local environmental conflicts can foster policy transformations that promote climate justice.
... This is an example of an approach to bridge the gap between increasingly technical air monitoring data and community expertise and knowledge. Further, the process of engaging in participatory air monitoring can increase capacity for youth to engage in environmental health and encourage participation in the political and regulatory systems [59]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Air pollution in Southern California does not impact all communities equally; communities of color are disproportionately burdened by poor air quality and more likely to live near industrial facilities and freeways. Government regulatory monitors do not have the spatial resolution to provide air quality information at the neighborhood or personal scale. We describe the A Day in the Life program, an approach to participatory air monitoring that engages youth in collecting data that they can then analyze and use to take action. Academics partnered with Los Angeles-based youth environmental justice organizations to combine personal air monitoring, participatory science, and digital storytelling to build capacity to address local air quality issues. Eighteen youth participants from four different neighborhoods wore portable personal PM2.5 (fine particles <2.5 µm in diameter) monitors for a day in each of their respective communities, documenting and mapping their exposure to PM2.5 during their daily routine. Air monitoring was coupled with photography and videos to document what they experienced over the course of their day. The PM2.5 exposure during the day for participants averaged 10.7 µg/m3, although the range stretched from <1 to 180 µg/m3. One-third of all measurements were taken <300 m from a freeway. Overall, we demonstrate a method to increase local youth-centered understanding of personal exposures, pollution sources, and vulnerability to air quality.
... have been deployed around the globe to provide more spatially-dense ambient air quality data than are available from networks used to monitor for regulatory compliance. Data from low-cost monitoring networks can: (1) assist in identification of pollution hotspots and sources (Gao et al., 2015;Rickenbacker et al., 2019;Zikova et al., 2017), (2) be used to identify targets for pollution reduction (Gillooly et al., 2019), and (3) enable individuals to adjust their behavior to reduce their contributions and exposure to air pollution (English et al., 2017). Data from such networks could be especially valuable to individuals that are more susceptible to adverse health impacts associated with exposure to particulate matter, such as those with asthma (Nelson, 2016). ...
Article
Low-cost aerosol monitors can provide more spatially- and temporally-resolved data on ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations than are available from regulatory monitoring networks; however, concentrations reported by low-cost monitors are sometimes inaccurate. We investigated laboratory- and field-based approaches for calibrating low-cost PurpleAir monitors. First, we investigated the linearity of the PurpleAir response to NIST Urban PM and derived a laboratory-based gravimetric correction factor. Then, we co-located PurpleAirs with portable filter samplers at 15 outdoor sites spanning 3 × 3-km in Fort Collins, CO, USA. We evaluated whether PM2.5 correction factors calculated using ambient relative humidity data improved the accuracy of PurpleAir monitors (relative to reference filter samplers operated at 16.7 L min⁻¹). We also (1) evaluated gravimetric correction factors derived from periodic co-locations with portable filter samplers and (2) compared PM2.5 concentrations measured using portable and reference filter samplers. Both before and after field deployment, a linear model relating NIST Urban PM concentrations reported by a tapered element oscillating microbalance and PurpleAir monitors (“PM2.5 ATM”) had R² = 99%; however, an F-test identified a significant lack of fit between the model and the data. The laboratory-based correction did not translate to the field. Over a 35-day period, time-averaged ambient PM2.5 concentrations and RHs measured during 72- or 48-h filter samples ranged from 1.5 to 8.3 μg m⁻³ and 47%–77%, respectively. Corrections calculated using ambient RH data increased the fraction of time-averaged PurpleAir PM2.5 concentrations that were within 20% of the reference concentration from 24% (for uncorrected measurements) to 66%. Corrections derived from monthly, weekly, and concurrent in-field co-locations with portable filter samplers increased the fraction of time-averaged PurpleAir PM2.5 concentrations that were within 20% of the reference to 46%, 54%, and 72%. PM2.5 concentrations measured using portable filter samplers were within 20% of the reference for 69% of samples.
... This has led to an increasing consciousness that we can no longer disregard the environment in the process of economic development. (55) indicated that the problem of air pollution has been a concern by the broader communities in urban areas such as Pittsburgh. The government in the United States put effort into advanced renewable energy that is more ecofriendly on the environment rather than traditional energy generation. ...
Article
Full-text available
Transportation and environmental degradation, with indirect and direct effects, play a significant role in determining the health of a nation's citizens. This study uses bootstrap ARDL with a Fourier function to examine transportation, environmental degradation, and health dynamics in the United States and China. In the long run, the results support the cointegration relationship between transportation, environmental degradation, and health in both countries. The results show the contingency of the causality where a negative impact of transportation on environmental degradation exists in the United States while a positive impact exists in China. The effect of environmental degradation on health is negative in the United States while a positive effect exists in China. Regarding the causal direction between the variables of interest, the implications provide policymakers in developing strategy and policy for sustainable development.
... By engaging local communities and stakeholders, citizen science can be used as a "tool" to increase public awareness of air pollution (Mahajan et al., 2020). Every citizen can mitigate air pollution through behavioural changes in their lifestyles, such as reducing energy consumption in transport, households and supplies (Rickenbacker et al., 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract:Air is necessary for human survival and the preservation of the environment. The scientific community is concerned about the ongoing rapid expansion of the population, which uses resources faster, and thus the accumulation of an enormous amount of waste will gradually worsen the air quality. The change in the pollutants released in the atmosphere became more complex throughout human history, and they were released in huge quantities. The sources of air pollution vary greatly – from burning fuel, the household, agricultural or mining activities to natural disasters or significant industrial accidents. New techniques that monitor the air composition are being developed to ensure air quality control. The population exposed to these harmful compounds is predisposed to various health concerns, including skin, cardiovascular, brain, blood, and lung illnesses. The substances also contribute to global warming, acid rains and ozone depletion. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it was noticed that reducing human activities causing pollution leads to improved air quality, which shows that long-term solutions can also be found. This paper aims to offer an overview of the air pollution problems persisting around the globe and present the current state, causes and evolution of air pollution. Some of the solutions we propose in this article include energy-saving, public transportation and material recycling. We also emphasize the need to develop new technologies to control the air quality and implement a sustainable approach.
... Ambient (outdoor) air pollution (e.g., fine particulate matter with a diameter less than 2.5 µm (PM 2.5 )) is estimated to cause 4.6 million premature deaths annually worldwide [1] and is widely associated with various adverse health effects including cardiovascular and respiratory diseases [2,3]. For decades, evidence has suggested that communities of low income, low education attainment, and people of color (often referred to as disadvantaged communities) are more likely to live near freeways and industrial facilities and are exposed to higher levels of air pollution, leading to environmental health disparities [4][5][6]. For air pollution exposure disparities, and few studies have discussed potential strategies to improve air quality. ...
Article
Full-text available
Assessing exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) across disadvantaged communities is understudied, and the air monitoring network is inadequate. We leveraged emerging low-cost sensors (PurpleAir) and engaged community residents to develop a community-based monitoring program across disadvantaged communities (high proportions of low-income and minority populations) in Southern California. We recruited 22 households from 8 communities to measure residential outdoor PM2.5 concentrations from June 2021 to December 2021. We identified the spatial and temporal patterns of PM2.5 measurements as well as the relationship between the total PM2.5 measurements and diesel PM emissions. We found that communities with a higher percentage of Hispanic and African American population and higher rates of unemployment, poverty, and housing burden were exposed to higher PM2.5 concentrations. The average PM2.5 concentrations in winter (25.8 µg/m3) were much higher compared with the summer concentrations (12.4 µg/m3). We also identified valuable hour-of-day and day-of-week patterns among disadvantaged communities. Our results suggest that the built environment can be targeted to reduce the exposure disparity. Integrating low-cost sensors into a citizen-science-based air monitoring program has promising applications to resolve monitoring disparity and capture “hotspots” to inform emission control and urban planning policies, thus improving exposure assessment and promoting environmental justice.
... In this paper, we develop a framework to assess IAQ in the context of energy conservation districts (ECD). Founded on the Theory of Change (ToC) process (Connell & Kubisch, 2013;Connell, Kubisch, Schorr, & Weiss, 1995;Rickenbacker, Brown, & Bilec, 2019;Rimer & Glanz, 2005), this framework identifies participatory approaches, spheres of influence, and shared vision as primary components to successful science translation research. Next, we describe the goals and each step of the IAQ framework. ...
Article
While several national and international organizations offer standards for pollution levels and techniques to measure ambient air, there are no consistent metrics or methods for assessing and monitoring indoor air quality (IAQ) for an entire community. In this paper, we develop a framework for monitoring and addressing indoor air pollution in the context of an energy conservation district in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, comprised of 518 buildings. This district-based IAQ framework has two major components. The first component is based on an IAQ sampling protocol developed from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency BASE study. IAQ assessments were performed in eight pilot buildings to evaluate concentrations of particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, carbon dioxide, relative humidity, and temperature. The second component was a communications strategy designed to help building professionals understand IAQ science and translate results into actionable procedures. Both the sampling data and feedback from building stakeholders, informed the development of an IAQ survey, which was used to establish a performance baseline and guide the future operation and maintenance of buildings in the district. This research has far-reaching impacts as there is a need for a replicable framework and actionable program that monitors and assesses IAQ in a wide range of buildings.
... lva et al., 2018). This could be achieved by interdisciplinary research and using analytical internet of things framework of smart sensors (Bibri 2018;Bibri and Krogstie 2017). Smart cities would have infrastructures like smart pollution monitoring and sensing systems (Silva et. al, 2012). Raising awareness and creating environmental consciousness (Rickenbacker et. al, 2019) among citizens is of utmost importance to efficiently assess the harmful impact of air pollution on human health and the sustainability of cities. ...
... Thus, it is important to understand how AQ (perceived or actual) affects recreationists' decision making. Existing literature suggests research gaps, such as temporal AQ variance [15], perceptions of AQ [16], and perceived health benefits of outdoor recreation [17]. Understanding recreationists' AQ and health benefit perceptions may explain the effects of AQ on urban trail visitation [18]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Poor air quality represents a significant health risk for individuals engaging in recreation activities outdoors in urban parks and trails. This study investigated temporal variability in particulate matter (PM) exposure along an urban waterfront trail. We also used recreation choice frameworks to examine the effects of visitors’ perceptions of air quality (AQ) and health benefits on trail use. Average air quality during the collection period was “good” (PM10) to “moderate” (PM2.5). We found that PM density was significantly higher (p < 0.001), though still in the “moderate” range, at 7–9 a.m., 11 a.m.–1 p.m., and 3–5 p.m., and on weekends. Visitors’ self-reported perceptions of health outcomes, but not air quality, significantly predicted trail use. Results suggest that these experiential factors may affect recreational choices depending on other factors, such as salience. Further research is merited to determine how experiential factors can be integrated with other theories of motivation to understand recreational decision-making.
Article
Brownfields redevelopment creates opportunities for enhanced environmental conditions, improved physical and mental health, community cohesion, and economic prosperity. However, brownfields cleanup and recycling projects sometimes fail due to a lack of community engagement. Recent research suggests that such failures can stem from a lack of equitability in the planning process, especially when it comes to decision making. This paper examines issues of equitability in a recent brownfields redevelopment project in Tampa, Florida funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The project focused on an underserved and under-resourced community with long-term environmental burdens and health disparities. Our ethnographic research shows that, while the project engaged in multiple and intersecting efforts to include a diversity of community voices in the decision-making process, ultimately structural and organizational power imbalances in sustainability transitions influenced participation in redevelopment initiatives. This study suggests that attending to issues of power articulated through expressions of local and authoritative knowledge about environmental cleanup and redevelopment can lead to deeper levels of community engagement.
Article
Both short-term and chronic exposure to fine particulate matter air pollution (PM2.5) are known to cause a host of adverse health outcomes, including premature death. Exposure to PM2.5 in the United States is inequitable due to public policies rooted in structural racism, which have situated polluting industries intentionally in communities of color. Understanding variable exposure to PM2.5 is critical to understanding the disproportionate burden of chronic disease in US populations made vulnerable due to racism and poverty. This paper will review sources, health impacts and health inequities associated with PM2.5, and will frame PM2.5 as both a social and structural determinant of health. Based upon this framing, we will propose interventions that acknowledge individual counseling alone will be inadequate to protect our patients; community and policy level efforts to address structural determinants of health are needed.
Article
Clean water is a significant challenge for the sustainability of expanding cities worldwide. The United Nations recognizes the importance of urban green space to improve sustainability and has proposed Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030. Political jurisdictions have their own sustainability goals and are instituting various policies to achieve them, but struggle to do so due to underlying socio-cultural, environmental, economic/financial, and other challenges. Utilizing a Community Based Participatory Research approach involving multi-stakeholders and transition management theory to frame different spheres of governance, this multi-disciplinary study aims to understand best management practices, sense of perceived responsibility, barriers, and future of Green Infrastructure (GI) in two Chesapeake Bay watersheds. We analyzed data from 42 in-depth interviews as well as GI policies. We identified five categories of perceived barriers, socio-cultural being the dominant category. More meaningful outreach activities are needed to build trust with residents, which can be achieved through modern channels of communications including smartphone applications and social media. This trust will increase the GI adoption rates and improve water quality in the USA and elsewhere. This can be achieved through an integrated governance approach.
Article
Community is the disaggregated unit to reflect the transformation of eco-urbanization in China. Eco-urbanization at communities is the ecological landscape and environment-friendly practices, and is directly reflected in residents' satisfaction on the transformation of these ecological elements. In this study, we assess resident's perception of eco-urbanization at community and explore the influencing factors by a field survey in 64 community block groups with 668 questionnaires. Methodologically, we have made the assessment using residents' satisfaction on green space, sanitation, landscape, noise pollution treatment, and optic pollution control. Then regression analysis has been made with the influencing factors from the dimensions of individual characteristics, management, and facilities. In general, residents' satisfaction on sanitation is at the highest level and noise pollution treatment is at the lowest level. The property management and the safety sense greatly influence the residents' perceptions, whereas facilities appear to have less influence. The environmental environment friendly behavior also affects residents' satisfaction on eco-community. The results have also revealed resident's perception of eco-urbanization at community shows great difference in different regions and in different community types. Accordingly, it is necessary to strengthen the comprehensive governance on eco-community, enhance the all-around management and promote human-oriented community in the future.
Article
Urban heritage sites are valuable assets that promote sustainable development and innovation in cities. Yet, various detrimental effects on the environment, including pandemics, crowding, climatic changes, lack of awareness, and failed waste management, caused by certain human activities and the introduction of non-viable projects do not only impact sustainability per se, but also harm the significance and fabric of heritage assets. In order to cope with these challenges, more potent approaches to heritage conservation should be investigated. This paper provides a thorough analysis of approaches, integrating traditional models of sustainability with urban heritage charters. The proposal of a framework for regenerative policies in heritage sites, based on the above-mentioned analysis, is presented subsequently. Benefits of applying the model are discussed afterwards, with reflectionson similar case studies and findings. The ultimate goal is directed towards resilience and sustaining the human dimension within urban heritage sites, as well as the city scope.
Article
Growing awareness of the health and environmental burden of air pollution combined with access to new low cost air pollution monitors has helped drive the explosion of citizen science initiatives. Despite this momentum, there remains little public attention to the sources or drivers of air pollution. Without greater emphasis on source awareness, scientists or community members using citizen science techniques cannot effectively identify or target interventions that cut emissions or build pressure for policies that hold specific polluters accountable to legal pollutant limits or best practices. To help understand how citizen science initiatives reflect or focus on sources of air pollution, this paper presents reflections from a purposive literature review of 33 case studies. Specifically it provides insights and a typology of citizen science initiatives that characterize how citizen science initiatives impact air pollution sources and provides recommendations for future approaches that could strengthen participatory science focused on pollution sources.
Article
Full-text available
Low-cost particulate matter monitors output airborne particle mass concentrations based on optical particle counter sensors. Because the relationship between particle number and mass is complex and varies with time and...
Article
Fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5) is a health hazard with numerous indoor and outdoor sources. Versatile monitors are needed to characterize PM2.5 sources, concentrations, and exposures in a range of locations and applications. Whereas low-cost light-scattering PM sensors provide real-time measurements with limited accuracy, gravimetric samples provide more accurate, albeit time-integrated, measurements. When used together, low-cost sensor data can be corrected to gravimetric samples. Here we describe the development of a portable PM2.5 monitor that features a low-cost sensor in-line with an active filter sampler. Laboratory tests were conducted to determine (1) the accuracy and precision of PM2.5 concentrations derived from the filter sample and (2) correction factors for the low-cost sensor response to ammonium sulfate, Arizona road dust, urban particulate matter, and match smoke. Filter samples collected at 0.25 and 1.0 L·min⁻¹ had mean biases of -10% and -4%, relative to a tapered element oscillating microbalance, and a relative standard deviation (RSD) that ranged from 1% to 17%. The low-cost sensor correction factor varied with the test aerosol, sample flow rate, and between individual monitors. Gravimetric correction reduced the bias and RSD of ~1-hour average concentrations measured by low-cost sensors in three collocated monitors. A week-long field experiment was also conducted to investigate how the monitor could be used to learn about sources of residential air pollution. Field data were used to identify: (1) pollution events resulting from cooking and use of a wood furnace and (2) variations in the number of air changes per hour inside the residence.
Article
Full-text available
Airborne fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is a pollutant that is found in all urban environments. PM2.5 is predominantly generated by traffic and domestic fuel combustion and has significant negative health impacts. The ever-growing urban population spends most of their time in indoor environments where it is exposed to PM2.5 that is brought in from the outdoor environment by ventilation airflow. Several studies show this inflow of outdoor PM2.5, combined with internal sources (e.g. indoor combustion, particle re-suspension) can lead to an I/O ratio above one: indoor air quality is lower than outdoors. The most common approach to limit ventilation inflow of PM2.5 is the use of mechanical ventilation systems with cloth filters that can significantly increase ventilation fan energy consumption. Decreasing exposure to PM2.5 is challenging, requiring a thorough understanding of PM2.5′s origin and the interaction between buildings and their surrounding environment. This review of the impact of PM2.5 in indoor urban environments summarizes existing research in this area, specifically, the main PM2.5 sources and sinks in outdoor and indoor urban environments, the PM2.5 exposure limits that are currently applicable throughout the world, the main socio-economic impacts of exposure to PM2.5 and the most promising solutions to minimize indoor exposure.
Article
Full-text available
Poor air quality remains a major environmental and health risk in Europe, despite improvements over the last few decades. Consistent exceedances of the nitrogen dioxide air quality limit values at a roadside monitoring station in Potsdam, owing to heavy local and commuter individual motorized traffic, prompted the city administration to implement a trial traffic measure aimed at reducing motorized traffic to improve air quality. This study analysed data (n = 3553) from a questionnaire carried out prior to the implementation of the trial traffic measure. This research provides a case-study to contribute to the understanding of general determinants of air quality perceptions, and policy-relevant information regarding how citizens perceive air quality in the context of a ‘hard’ policy measure. A subset of variables was used to build an ordinal logistic regression model to assess the explanatory power for air quality perceptions. Gender, perceived health status, level of concern for air quality, level of concern for climate change, and the desire for greater access to information regarding air quality were factors found to be significant in their explanatory power of perceptions of air quality. The results are discussed in the broader policy context of attempts to improve air quality in urban environments.
Article
Full-text available
Oilfield-adjacent communities often report symptoms such as headaches and/or asthma. Yet, little data exists on health experiences and exposures in urban environments with oil and gas development. In partnership with Promotoras de Salud (community health workers), we gathered household surveys nearby two oil production sites in Los Angeles. We tested the capacity of low-cost sensors for localized exposure estimates. Bilingual surveys of 205 randomly sampled residences were collected within two 1500 ft. buffer areas (West Adams and University Park) surrounding oil development sites. We used a one-sample proportion test, comparing overall rates from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) of Service Planning Area 6 (SPA6) and Los Angeles County for variables of interest such as asthma. Field calibrated low-cost sensors recorded methane emissions. Physician diagnosed asthma rates were reported to be higher within both buffers than in SPA6 or LA County. Asthma prevalence in West Adams but not University Park was significantly higher than in Los Angeles County. Respondents with diagnosed asthma reported rates of emergency room visits in the previous 12 months similar to SPA6. 45% of respondents were unaware of oil development; 63% of residents would not know how to contact local regulatory authorities. Residents often seek information about their health and site-related activities. Low-cost sensors may be useful in highlighting differences between sites or recording larger emission events and can provide localized data alongside resident-reported symptoms. Regulatory officials should help clarify information to the community on methods for reporting health symptoms. Our community-based participatory research (CBPR) partnership supports efforts to answer community questions as residents seek a safety buffer between sensitive land uses and active oil development.
Article
Full-text available
Little is known about recruitment methods for racial/ethnic minority populations from resource-limited areas for community-based health and needs assessments, particularly assessments that incorporate mobile health (mHealth) technology for characterizing physical activity and dietary intake. We examined whether the Communication, Awareness, Relationships and Empowerment (C.A.R.E.) model could reduce challenges recruiting and retaining participants from faith-based organizations in predominantly African American Washington, D.C. communities for a community-based assessment. Employing C.A.R.E. model elements, our diverse research team developed partnerships with churches, health organizations, academic institutions and governmental agencies. Through these partnerships, we cultivated a visible presence at community events, provided cardiovascular health education and remained accessible throughout the research process. Additionally, these relationships led to the creation of a community advisory board (CAB), which influenced the study’s design, implementation, and dissemination. Over thirteen months, 159 individuals were recruited for the study, 99 completed the initial assessment, and 81 used mHealth technology to self-monitor physical activity over 30 days. The culturally and historically sensitive C.A.R.E. model strategically engaged CAB members and study participants. It was essential for success in recruitment and retention of an at-risk, African American population and may be an effective model for researchers hoping to engage racial/ethnic minority populations living in urban communities.
Article
Full-text available
The environmental burden of disease is the mortality and morbidity attributable to exposures of air pollution and other stressors. The inequality metrics used in cumulative impact and environmental justice studies can be incorporated into environmental burden studies to better understand the health disparities of ambient air pollutant exposures. This study examines the diseases and health disparities attributable to air pollutants for the Detroit urban area. We apportion this burden to various groups of emission sources and pollutants, and show how the burden is distributed among demographic and socioeconomic subgroups. The analysis uses spatially-resolved estimates of exposures, baseline health rates, age-stratified populations, and demographic characteristics that serve as proxies for increased vulnerability, e.g., race/ethnicity and income. Based on current levels, exposures to fine particulate matter (PM2.5), ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are responsible for more than 10,000 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) per year, causing an annual monetized health impact of $6.5 billion. This burden is mainly driven by PM2.5 and O3 exposures, which cause 660 premature deaths each year among the 945,000 individuals in the study area. NO2 exposures, largely from traffic, are important for respiratory outcomes among older adults and children with asthma, e.g., 46% of air-pollution related asthma hospitalizations are due to NO2 exposures. Based on quantitative inequality metrics, the greatest inequality of health burdens results from industrial and traffic emissions. These metrics also show disproportionate burdens among Hispanic/Latino populations due to industrial emissions, and among low income populations due to traffic emissions. Attributable health burdens are a function of exposures, susceptibility and vulnerability (e.g., baseline incidence rates), and population density. Because of these dependencies, inequality metrics should be calculated using the attributable health burden when feasible to avoid potentially underestimating inequality. Quantitative health impact and inequality analyses can inform health and environmental justice evaluations, providing important information to decision makers for prioritizing strategies to address exposures at the local level.
Article
Full-text available
Many environmental justice studies have sought to examine the effect of residential segregation on unequal exposure to environmental factors among different social groups, but little is known about how segregation in non-residential contexts affects such disparity. Based on a review of the relevant literature, this paper discusses the limitations of traditional residence-based approaches in examining the association between socioeconomic or racial/ethnic segregation and unequal environmental exposure in environmental justice research. It emphasizes that future research needs to go beyond residential segregation by considering the full spectrum of segregation experienced by people in various geographic and temporal contexts of everyday life. Along with this comprehensive understanding of segregation, the paper also highlights the importance of assessing environmental exposure at a high spatiotemporal resolution in environmental justice research. The successful integration of a comprehensive concept of segregation, high-resolution data and fine-grained spatiotemporal approaches to assessing segregation and environmental exposure would provide more nuanced and robust findings on the associations between segregation and disparities in environmental exposure and their health impacts. Moreover, it would also contribute to significantly expanding the scope of environmental justice research.
Article
Full-text available
Children are at risk for adverse health outcomes from occupant-controllable indoor airborne contaminants in their homes. Data are needed to design residential interventions for reducing low-income children's pollutant exposure. Using customized air quality monitors, we continuously measured fine particle counts (0.5 to 2.5 microns) over a week in living areas of predominantly low-income households in San Diego, California, with at least one child (under age 14) and at least one cigarette smoker. We performed retrospective interviews on home characteristics, and particle source and ventilation activities occurring during the week of monitoring. We explored the relationship between weekly mean particle counts and interview responses using graphical visualization and multivariable linear regression (base sample n = 262; complete cases n = 193). We found associations of higher weekly mean particle counts with reports of indoor smoking of cigarettes or marijuana, as well as with frying food, using candles or incense, and house cleaning. Lower particle levels were associated with larger homes. We did not observe an association between lower mean particle counts and reports of opening windows, using kitchen exhaust fans, or other ventilation activities. Our findings about sources of fine airborne particles and their mitigation can inform future studies that investigate more effective feedback on residential indoor-air-quality and better strategies for reducing occupant exposures.
Article
Full-text available
In the last few decades, there has been an increase in community-based participatory research being conducted within the United States. Recent research has demonstrated that working with local community organizations, interest groups, and individuals can assist in the creation of, and sustainability in, health initiatives, adoption of emergency protocols, and potentially improve health outcomes for at-risk populations. However little research has assessed if communal concerns over environmental contaminants would be confirmed through environmental research. This cross-sectional study collected survey data and performed surface water analysis for heavy metals in a small neighborhood in Houston, TX, which is characterized by industrial sites, unimproved infrastructure, nuisance flooding, and poor air quality. Surveys were completed with 109 residents of the Manchester neighborhood. Water samples were taken from thirty zones within the neighborhood and assessed for arsenic (As), barium (Ba), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), lead (Pb), selenium (Se), silver (Ag), and mercury (Hg). Survey results showed that the vast majority of all respondents were concerned over proximity to industry and waste facilities, as well as exposure to standing surface water. Barium was discovered in every sample and many of the zones showed alarming levels of certain metals. For example, one zone, two blocks from a public park, showed levels of arsenic at 180 (μg/L), barium at 3296 (μg/L), chromium at 363 (μg/L), lead at 1448 (μg/L), and mercury at 10 (μg/L). These findings support the hypothesis that neighborhood members are aware of the issues affecting their community and can offer researchers valuable assistance in every stage of study design and execution.
Article
Full-text available
Studies have documented cumulative health effects of chemical and nonchemical exposures, particularly chronic environmental and social stressors. Environmental justice groups have advocated for community participation in research that assesses how these interactions contribute to health disparities experienced by low-income and communities of color. In 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a request for research applications (RFA), "Understanding the Role of Nonchemical Stressors and Developing Analytic Methods for Cumulative Risk Assessments." Seven research projects were funded to help address this knowledge gap. Each engaged with communities in different ways. We describe the community engagement approaches of the seven research projects, which ranged from outreach through shared leadership/participatory. We then assess the experiences of these programs with respect to the community engagement goals of the RFA. We present insights from these community engagement efforts, including how the grants helped to build or enhance the capacity of community organizations in addition to contributing to the research projects. Our analysis of project proposals, annual grantee reports, and participant observation of these seven projects suggests guidelines for the development of future funding mechanisms and for conducting community-engaged research on cumulative risk involving environmental and social stressors including: 1) providing for flexibility in the mode of community engagement; 2) addressing conflict between research timing and engagement needs, 3) developing approaches for communicating about the uniquely sensitive issues of nonchemical stressors and social risks; and 4) encouraging the evaluation of community engagement efforts.
Article
Full-text available
Real-time particle monitors are essential for accurately estimating exposure to fine particles indoors. However, many such monitors tend to be prohibitively expensive for some applications, such as a tenant or homeowner curious about the quality of the air in their home. A lower cost version (the Dylos Air Quality Monitor) has recently been introduced, but it requires appropriate calibration to reflect the mass concentration units required for exposure assessment. We conducted a total of 64 experiments with a suite of instruments including a Dylos DC1100, another real-time laser photometer (TSI SidePak™ Model AM-510 Personal Aerosol Monitor), and a gravimetric sampling apparatus to estimate Dylos calibration factors for emissions from 17 different common indoor sources including cigarettes, incense, fried bacon, chicken, and hamburger. Comparison of minute-by-minute data from the Dylos with the gravimetrically calibrated SidePak yielded relationships that enable the conversion of the raw Dylos particle counts less than 2.5 μm (in #/0.01 ft(3)) to estimated PM2.5 mass concentration (e.g. μg m(-3)). The relationship between the exponentially-decaying Dylos particle counts and PM2.5 mass concentration can be described by a theoretically-derived power law with source-specific empirical parameters. A linear relationship (calibration factor) is applicable to fresh or quickly decaying emissions (i.e., before the aerosol has aged and differential decay rates introduce curvature into the relationship). The empirical parameters for the power-law relationships vary greatly both between and within source types, although linear factors appear to have lower uncertainty. The Dylos Air Quality Monitor is likely most useful for providing instantaneous feedback and context on mass particle levels in home and work situations for field-survey or personal awareness applications.
Article
Full-text available
Impacts of industrial emissions on outdoor air pollution in nearby communities are well-documented. Fewer studies, however, have explored impacts on indoor air quality in these communities. Because persons in northern climates spend a majority of their time indoors, understanding indoor exposures, and the role of outdoor air pollution in shaping such exposures, is a priority issue. Braddock and Clairton, Pennsylvania, industrial communities near Pittsburgh, are home to an active steel mill and coke works, respectively, and the population experiences elevated rates of childhood asthma. Twenty-one homes were selected for 1-week indoor sampling for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and black carbon (BC) during summer 2011 and winter 2012. Multivariate linear regression models were used to examine contributions from both outdoor concentrations and indoor sources. In the models, an outdoor infiltration component explained 10 to 39% of variability in indoor air pollution for PM2.5, and 33 to 42% for BC. For both PM2.5 models and the summer BC model, smoking was a stronger predictor than outdoor pollution, as greater pollutant concentration increases were identified. For winter BC, the model was explained by outdoor pollution and an open windows modifier. In both seasons, indoor concentrations for both PM2.5 and BC were consistently higher than residence-specific outdoor concentration estimates. Mean indoor PM2.5 was higher, on average, during summer (25.8±22.7μg/m(3)) than winter (18.9±13.2μg/m(3)). Contrary to the study's hypothesis, outdoor concentrations accounted for only little to moderate variability (10 to 42%) in indoor concentrations; a much greater proportion of PM2.5 was explained by cigarette smoking. Outdoor infiltration was a stronger predictor for BC compared to PM2.5, especially in winter. Our results suggest that, even in industrial communities of high outdoor pollution concentrations, indoor activities - particularly cigarette smoking - may play a larger role in shaping indoor exposures. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Article
Full-text available
A growing literature explores intra-urban variation in pollution concentrations. Few studies, however, have examined spatial variation during "peak" hours of the day (e.g., rush hours, inversion conditions), which may have strong bearing for source identification and epidemiological analyses. We aimed to capture "peak" spatial variation across a region of complex terrain, legacy industry, and frequent atmospheric inversions. We hypothesized stronger spatial contrast in concentrations during hours prone to atmospheric inversions and heavy traffic, and designed a 2-year monitoring campaign to capture spatial variation in fine particles (PM2.5) and black carbon (BC). Inversion-focused integrated monitoring (0600-1100 hours) was performed during year 1 (2011-2012) and compared with 1-week 24-h integrated results from year 2 (2012-2013). To allocate sampling sites, we explored spatial distributions in key sources (i.e., traffic, industry) and potential modifiers (i.e., elevation) in geographic information systems (GIS), and allocated 37 sites for spatial and source variability across the metropolitan domain (~388 km(2)). Land use regression (LUR) models were developed and compared by pollutant, season, and sampling method. As expected, we found stronger spatial contrasts in PM2.5 and BC using inversion-focused sampling, suggesting greater differences in peak exposures across urban areas than is captured by most integrated saturation campaigns. Temporal variability, commercial and industrial land use, PM2.5 emissions, and elevation were significant predictors, but did not more strongly predict concentrations during peak hours.Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology advance online publication, 29 April 2015; doi:10.1038/jes.2015.14.
Article
Full-text available
To assess the experienced or perceived barriers and facilitators to health research participation for major US racial/ethnic minority populations, we conducted a systematic review of qualitative and quantitative studies from a search on PubMed and Web of Science from January 2000 to December 2011. With 44 articles included in the review, we found distinct and shared barriers and facilitators. Despite different expressions of mistrust, all groups represented in these studies were willing to participate for altruistic reasons embedded in cultural and community priorities. Greater comparative understanding of barriers and facilitators to racial/ethnic minorities’ research participation can improve population-specific recruitment and retention strategies and could better inform future large-scale prospective quantitative and in-depth ethnographic studies.
Article
Full-text available
Air pollution contains many toxicants known to affect neurological function and to have effects on the fetus in utero. Recent studies have reported associations between perinatal exposure to air pollutants and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children. We tested the hypothesis that perinatal exposure to air pollutants is associated with ASD, focusing on pollutants associated with ASD in prior studies. We estimated associations between U.S. Environmental Protection Agency modeled levels of hazardous air pollutants at the time and place of birth and ASD in the children of participants in the Nurses' Health Study II (325 cases, 22,101 controls). Our analyses focused on pollutants associated with ASD in prior research. We accounted for possible confounding and ascertainment bias by adjusting for family-level socioeconomic status (maternal grandparents' education) and census-tract-level socioeconomic measures (e.g., tract median income and percent college educated), as well as maternal age at birth and year of birth. We also examined possible differences in the relationship between ASD and pollutant exposures by child's sex. Perinatal exposures to the highest versus lowest quintile of diesel, lead, manganese, mercury, methylene chloride, and an overall measure of metals were significantly associated with ASD, with odds ratios ranging from 1.5 (for overall metals measure) to 2.0 (for diesel and mercury). In addition, linear trends were positive and statistically significant for these exposures (P <.05 for each). For most pollutants, associations were stronger for boys (279 cases) than girls (46 cases) and significantly different according to sex. Perinatal exposure to air pollutants may increase risk for ASD. Additionally, future studies should consider sex-specific biological pathways connecting perinatal exposure to pollutants with ASD.
Article
Full-text available
Autism is a heterogeneous disorder with genetic and environmental factors likely contributing to its origins. Examination of hazardous pollutants has suggested the importance of air toxics in the etiology of autism, yet little research has examined its association with local levels of air pollution using residence-specific exposure assignments. To examine the relationship between traffic-related air pollution, air quality, and autism. This population-based case-control study includes data obtained from children with autism and control children with typical development who were enrolled in the Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment study in California. The mother's address from the birth certificate and addresses reported from a residential history questionnaire were used to estimate exposure for each trimester of pregnancy and first year of life. Traffic-related air pollution was assigned to each location using a line-source air-quality dispersion model. Regional air pollutant measures were based on the Environmental Protection Agency's Air Quality System data. Logistic regression models compared estimated and measured pollutant levels for children with autism and for control children with typical development. Case-control study from California. A total of 279 children with autism and a total of 245 control children with typical development. Crude and multivariable adjusted odds ratios (AORs) for autism. Children with autism were more likely to live at residences that had the highest quartile of exposure to traffic-related air pollution, during gestation (AOR, 1.98 [95% CI, 1.20-3.31]) and during the first year of life (AOR, 3.10 [95% CI, 1.76-5.57]), compared with control children. Regional exposure measures of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter less than 2.5 and 10 μm in diameter (PM2.5 and PM10) were also associated with autism during gestation (exposure to nitrogen dioxide: AOR, 1.81 [95% CI, 1.37-3.09]; exposure to PM2.5: AOR, 2.08 [95% CI, 1.93-2.25]; exposure to PM10: AOR, 2.17 [95% CI, 1.49-3.16) and during the first year of life (exposure to nitrogen dioxide: AOR, 2.06 [95% CI, 1.37-3.09]; exposure to PM2.5: AOR, 2.12 [95% CI, 1.45-3.10]; exposure to PM10: AOR, 2.14 [95% CI, 1.46-3.12]). All regional pollutant estimates were scaled to twice the standard deviation of the distribution for all pregnancy estimates. Exposure to traffic-related air pollution, nitrogen dioxide, PM2.5, and PM10 during pregnancy and during the first year of life was associated with autism. Further epidemiological and toxicological examinations of likely biological pathways will help determine whether these associations are causal.
Article
Full-text available
Fixed air quality stations have limitations when used to assess people's real life exposure to air pollutants. Their spatial coverage is too limited to capture the spatial variability in, e.g., an urban or industrial environment. Complementary mobile air quality measurements can be used as an additional tool to fill this void. In this publication we present the Aeroflex, a bicycle for mobile air quality monitoring. The Aeroflex is equipped with compact air quality measurement devices to monitor ultrafine particle number counts, particulate mass and black carbon concentrations at a high resolution (up to 1 second). Each measurement is automatically linked to its geographical location and time of acquisition using GPS and Internet time. Furthermore, the Aeroflex is equipped with automated data transmission, data pre-processing and data visualization. The Aeroflex is designed with adaptability, reliability and user friendliness in mind. Over the past years, the Aeroflex has been successfully used for high resolution air quality mapping, exposure assessment and hot spot identification.
Article
Full-text available
The increase in body size observed with the appearance and evolution of Homo is most often attributed to thermoregulatory and locomotor adaptations to environment; increased reliance on animal protein and fat; or increased behavioral flexibility, provisioning, and cooperation leading to decreased mortality rates and slow life histories. It is not easy to test these hypotheses in the fossil record. Therefore, understanding selective pressures shaping height variability in living humans might help to construct models for the interpretation of body size variation in the hominins. Among human populations, average male height varies extensively (145 cm–183 cm); a similar range of variation is found in Homo erectus (including African and Georgian samples). Previous research shows that height in human populations covaries with life history traits and variations in mortality rates and that different environments affect adult height through adaptations related to thermoregulation and nutrition. We investigate the interactions between life history traits, mortality rates, environmental setting, and subsistence for 89 small-scale societies. We show that mortality rates are the primary factor shaping adult height variation and that people in savanna are consistently taller than people in forests. We focus on relevant results for interpreting the evolution of Homo body size variability.
Article
Full-text available
Purpose The objective of this paper is to investigate if marketing and branding techniques can help establish green brands and introduce greener patterns of consumption into contemporary lifestyles in the current context where environmentally friendly products are increasingly available. Design/methodology/approach This paper reviews consumer behaviour and advertising to identify how consumers are persuaded to opt for greener products. It reports the results of a consumer product survey using a questionnaire based on the Dunlap and van Liere HEP‐NEP environmental survey and the Roper Starch Worldwide environmental behaviour survey. The respondents were 52 mothers who shop at supermarkets. Findings The results show a correlation between consumer confidence in the performance of green products and their pro‐environmental beliefs in general. The findings suggest that most consumers cannot easily identify greener products (apart from cleaning products) although they would favour products manufactured by greener companies, and they do not find the current product marketing particularly relevant or engaging. Practical implications The paper suggests that the market for greener products could be exploited more within consumer groups that have pro‐environmental values. Originality/value This paper identifies that consumers are not exposed enough to green product marketing communication and suggests the greater use of marketing and brands to promote and sell products that are environmentally friendly and function effectively.
Article
Full-text available
Previous studies have reported that lower-income and minority populations are more likely to live near major roads. This study quantifies associations between socioeconomic status, racial/ethnic variables, and traffic-related exposure metrics for the United States. Using geographic information systems (GIS), traffic-related exposure metrics were represented by road and traffic densities at the census tract level. Spearman's correlation coefficients estimated relationships between socio-demographic variables and traffic-related exposure metrics, and ANOVA was performed to test for significant differences in socio-demographic variables for census tracts with low and high traffic-related metrics. For all census tracts in the United States, %Whites, %Blacks, and %Hispanics (percent of tract population) had correlation coefficients greater than 0.38 and 0.16 with road density and traffic density, respectively. Regions and states had correlation coefficients as high as 0.78. Compared with tracts with low road and traffic densities (<25th percentile), tracts with high densities (>75th percentile) had values of %Blacks and %Hispanics that were more than twice as high, 20% greater poverty levels, and one-third fewer White residents. Census tracts that had mid-level values for road and traffic densities had the most affluent characteristics. Results suggest that racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities exist on national level with respect to lower-income and minority populations living near high traffic and road density areas.Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology advance online publication, 8 August 2012; doi:10.1038/jes.2012.83.
Article
Full-text available
Growing evidence has shown the harmful effects of traffic-related pollution on human health, including adverse respiratory, cardiovascular, and pregnancy outcomes. This report describes the linkage of data from the 1999-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) and traffic indicators from the 2005 National Highway Planning Network. The residential addresses of NHANES participants were used to assign the distance to the nearest road, the number of roads within concentric buffers of specific radii, and the average annual daily traffic. Summaries of these traffic indicators by participant characteristics, including urbanization of their county of residence, race and ethnicity, poverty status, and health status, were tabulated. Using the traffic indicators, these data show differences in traffic exposure by several participant characteristics including poverty status. Further, reporting of fair or poor health was more common among NHANES respondents nearer to, compared with farther from, roads; this relationship was observed overall and for subgroups defined by urban county of residence, poverty status, and self-reported cigarette smoking. These data may be a resource for understanding relationships between traffic exposure and adverse health, and for identifying subgroups that may be at increased risk. The NHANES-traffic data are restricted use and available to data users in the Research Data Center at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.
Article
Full-text available
The article reviews two decades of scholars' claims that exposures to pollution and other environmental risks are unequally distributed by race and class, examines case studies of environmental justice social movements and the history and politics of environmental justice policy making in the United States, and describes the emerging issue of global climate justice. The authors engage the contentious literature on how to quantitatively measure and document environmental injustice, especially the complex problems of having data of very different types and areas (such as zip codes, census tracts, or concentric circles) around polluting facilities or exposed populations. Also considered is the value of perspectives from critical race theory and ethnic studies for making sense of these social phenomena. The article concludes with a discussion of the globalization of the environmental justice movement, discourse, and issues, as well as with some policy implications of finding and understanding environmental justice. One unique feature of this review is its breadth and diversity, given the different approaches taken by the three coauthors.
Article
Full-text available
Assessment of near-road air quality is challenging in urban environments that have roadside structures, elevated road sections, or depressed roads that may impact the dispersion of traffic emissions. Vehicles traveling on arterial roadways may also contribute to air pollution spatial variability in urban areas. To characterize the nature of near-road air quality in a complex urban environment, an instrumented all-electric vehicle was deployed to perform high spatial- and temporal-resolution mapping of ultrafine particles (UFPs, particle diameter <100 nm) and carbon monoxide (CO). Sampling was conducted in areas surrounding a highway in Durham, NC, with multiple repeats of the driving route accomplished within a morning or evening commute time frame. Six different near-road transects were driven, which included features such as noise barriers, vegetation, frontage roads, and densely built houses. Under downwind conditions, median UFP and CO levels in near-road areas located 20-150 m from the highway were a factor of 1.8 and 1.2 higher, respectively, than in areas characterized as urban background. Sampling in multiple near-road neighborhoods during downwind conditions revealed significant variability in absolute UFP and CO concentrations as well as in the rate of concentration attenuation with increasing distance from the highway. During low-speed meandering winds, regional UFP and CO concentrations nearly doubled relative to crosswind conditions; however, near-road UFP levels were still higher than urban background levels by a factor of 1.2, whereas near-road CO concentrations were not significantly different than the urban background.
Article
Full-text available
Traffic-related air pollution has been associated with adverse cardiorespiratory effects, including increased asthma prevalence. However, there has been little study of effects of traffic exposure at school on new-onset asthma. We evaluated the relationship of new-onset asthma with traffic-related pollution near homes and schools. Parent-reported physician diagnosis of new-onset asthma (n = 120) was identified during 3 years of follow-up of a cohort of 2,497 kindergarten and first-grade children who were asthma- and wheezing-free at study entry into the Southern California Children's Health Study. We assessed traffic-related pollution exposure based on a line source dispersion model of traffic volume, distance from home and school, and local meteorology. Regional ambient ozone, nitrogen dioxide (NO(2)), and particulate matter were measured continuously at one central site monitor in each of 13 study communities. Hazard ratios (HRs) for new-onset asthma were scaled to the range of ambient central site pollutants and to the residential interquartile range for each traffic exposure metric. Asthma risk increased with modeled traffic-related pollution exposure from roadways near homes [HR 1.51; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.25-1.82] and near schools (HR 1.45; 95% CI, 1.06-1.98). Ambient NO(2) measured at a central site in each community was also associated with increased risk (HR 2.18; 95% CI, 1.18-4.01). In models with both NO(2) and modeled traffic exposures, there were independent associations of asthma with traffic-related pollution at school and home, whereas the estimate for NO(2) was attenuated (HR 1.37; 95% CI, 0.69-2.71). Traffic-related pollution exposure at school and homes may both contribute to the development of asthma.
Article
Full-text available
Because asthma disproportionately affects minorities, we evaluated the effects of parent mentors (PMs) on asthma outcomes in minority children. This randomized, controlled trial allocated minority asthmatic children to the PM intervention or traditional asthma care. Intervention families were assigned PMs (experienced parents of asthmatic children who received specialized training). PMs met monthly with children and families at community sites, phoned parents monthly, and made home visits. Ten asthma outcomes and costs were monitored for 1 year. Outcomes were examined by using both intention-to-treat analyses and stratified analyses for high participants (attending >or=25% of community meetings and completing >or=50% of PM phone interactions). Patients were randomly assigned to PMs (n = 112) or the control group (n = 108). In intention-to-treat analyses, intervention but not control children experienced significantly reduced rapid-breathing episodes, asthma exacerbations, and emergency department (ED) visits. High participants (but not controls or low participants) experienced significantly reduced wheezing, asthma exacerbations, and ED visits and improved parental efficacy in knowing when breathing problems are controllable at home. Mean reductions in missed parental work days were greater for high participants than controls. The average monthly cost per patient for the PM program was $60.42, and net savings of $46.16 for high participants. For asthmatic minority children, PMs can reduce wheezing, asthma exacerbations, ED visits, and missed parental work days while improving parental self-efficacy. These outcomes are achieved at a reasonable cost and with net cost savings for high participants. PMs may be a promising, cost-effective means for reducing childhood asthma disparities.
Article
Full-text available
To effectively attenuate cancer disparities in multiethnic, medically underserved populations, interventions must be developed collaboratively through solid community-academic partnerships and driven by community-based participatory research (CBPR). The Tampa Bay Community Cancer Network (TBCCN) has been created to identify and implement interventions to address local cancer disparities in partnership with community-based nonprofit organizations, faith-based groups, community health centers, local media, and adult literacy and education organizations. TBCCN activities and research efforts are geared toward addressing critical information and access issues related to cancer control and prevention in diverse communities in the Tampa Bay area. Such efforts include cross-cultural health promotion, screening, and awareness activities in addition to applied research projects that are rooted in communities and guided by CBPR methods. This article describes these activities as examples of partnership building to positively affect cancer disparities, promote community health, and set the stage for community-based research partnerships.
Article
Full-text available
Chronic exposure to traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) may contribute to premature mortality, but few studies to date have addressed this topic. In this study we assessed the association between TRAP and mortality in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. We collected nitrogen dioxide samples over two seasons using duplicate two-sided Ogawa passive diffusion samplers at 143 locations across Toronto. We calibrated land use regressions to predict NO2 exposure on a fine scale within Toronto. We used interpolations to predict levels of particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter < or = 2.5 microm (PM(2.5)) and ozone levels. We assigned predicted pollution exposures to 2,360 subjects from a respiratory clinic, and abstracted health data on these subjects from medical billings, lung function tests, and diagnoses by pulmonologists. We tracked mortality between 1992 and 2002. We used standard and multilevel Cox proportional hazard models to test associations between air pollution and mortality. After controlling for age, sex, lung function, obesity, smoking, and neighborhood deprivation, we observed a 17% increase in all-cause mortality and a 40% increase in circulatory mortality from an exposure contrast across the interquartile range of 4 ppb NO2. We observed no significant associations with other pollutants. Exposure to TRAP was significantly associated with increased all-cause and circulatory mortality in this cohort. A high prevalence of cardiopulmonary disease in the cohort probably limits inference of the findings to populations with a substantial proportion of susceptible individuals.
Article
Full-text available
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which play an important part indoors and outdoors, comprise differing compound groups such as n-alkanes, cycloalkanes, aromatic and chlorinated hydrocarbons and terpenes. In the current study, samples were analyzed from indoor (schools and houses, n = 92) and outdoor (n = 33) air in urban, industrial, semirural and residential areas from the region of La Plata (Argentine) to consider VOC exposure in different types of environments. VOCs were sampled for 1 month during winter for 3 years, with passive 3M monitors. Samples were extracted with CS(2) and analyzed by GC/MS detectors. The results show significant differences in concentration and distribution between indoor and outdoor samples, depending on the study area. Most VOCs predominantly originated indoors in urban, semirural and residential areas, whereas an important outdoor influence in the industrial area was observed. In all areas alkanes and aromatic compounds dominated, even though a different chemical distribution was seen. Traffic burden was determined as the major source of outdoor VOC with a benzene/toluene ratio close to 0.5. Indoors, C9-C11 alkanes, toluene and xylenes dominated, caused by human activities. In contrast, in the industrial area higher concentrations of hexane, heptane and benzene occurred outdoors and affected the indoor air significantly. The lifetime cancer risk (LCR) associated to the benzene exposure was calculated for children from the different study areas. For all groups the study showed a LCR value greater than 1 x 10(-6) related to the benzene exposure indoors as well outdoors. A value two magnitudes higher was detected indoors in the industrial area, what demonstrates the high risk for children living in this area of La Plata.
Article
Air pollution from motor vehicles harms the health of those who live near freeways and other high-traffic roads. Land use regulations may permit, prohibit, or impose special conditions on housing near major roadways. This paper answers two questions: First, how is residential development near major roadways regulated? Second, how common are zoning changes near major roadways, and what factors explain these changes? This paper compares the zoning designations of near-roadway parcels with others in the city, and uses two sets of logistic regression models to analyze near-roadway zoning. The results show that residential development is permitted on most near-roadway parcels, including more than 92% of those within 500 feet of a freeway. One of the main explanations is that Los Angeles's hierarchical zoning structure allows housing development in most commercial zones. While many of these parcels have commercial development today, they could be redeveloped for residential uses in the future. Larger shares of near-roadway parcels were upzoned to allow higher residential densities compared with parcels elsewhere in the city, but this difference is explained by other locational factors.
Article
This paper examines the implications of two geospatial tool systems, developed by the " Greening the Greyfields " research, to support local governments in encouraging community engagement in the process of decision-making for the rebuild. The two tools, Envision and ESP, allow the identification of areas of reconstruction priority, and modelling different reconstruction scenarios with 3D visualisation and precinct design assessment. The main expected outcome is that these tools will support the local government to expand the communication with stakeholders and communities towards shared decision-making amidst the different counterparties involved in the rebuild process. The 2010/2011 Christchurch earthquakes, with 7.1 Mw and 6.3 Mw magnitudes caused 185 fatalities and an unprecedented damage throughout the city and region. An estimated 91% of Greater Christchurch dwellings suffered some type of damage, in which approximately 7.5% of buildings collapsed or required demolition. The aftermath was particularly severe in suburban areas near the sea, rivers, and in the central city where approximately 90% of buildings required demolition. Consequently, there has been considerable pressure on housing and commercial property markets. Moreover, horizontal infrastructure was severely damaged, with water mains, sewer lines, and roads needing repairs that are estimated to cost approximately 1.5 billion NZD. Subsequently, Christchurch suffered an unparalleled population and activity movement throughout the city and Canterbury region, which prompted significant social and economic transformation. The need to obtain support for decision-making and integrate communities in the rebuild process, created the chance for new geospatial tools to be trialed in Christchurch.
Conference Paper
The historic reliance on fossil fuels as a primary energy source has made combating climate change one of the leading environmental challenges facing society today. Buildings account for 72%, 39%, 38%, and 14% of electricity consumption, energy use, carbon dioxide emissions, and water consumption, respectively [1-2]. Twelve cities have joined the Architecture 2030 District Challenge to aim to achieve 50% reductions in water use, energy consumption, and carbon emissions by the year 2030 [3]. Unique to the Pittsburgh's 2030 District is the inclusion of evaluating and improving indoor air quality (IAQ). Using life cycle assessment (LCA) based models and real-time pollutant monitoring, we aim to quantify the longitudinal impact energy conservation districts (ECD) have on ambient air quality and IAQ. Indoor parameters included within our research study include ozone, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, temperature, relative humidity, volatile organic compounds, black carbon, and particulate matter. IAQ assessments have been completed in six representative commercial buildings ranging from LEED Platinum certified to older, building stock, vintage 1900s. Preliminary results suggest significant difference in pollutant concentrations across ventilation functionality, showing a dominant effect on pollutant dilution related to newer buildings having continuous forced air, filtered and then supplied to the workspace through fans and ducts. Older buildings rely on operable windows and window air conditioners for ventilation, which provide minimum filtration and limited manual control of outdoor air intake influenced by plumes of ambient air pollution which vary temporally and spatially, attributable to industrial and traffic sources [4].
Article
Citizen sensing, or the practice of monitoring environments through low-cost and do-it-yourself (DIY) digital technologies, is often structured as an individual pursuit. The very term citizen within citizen sensing suggests that the practice of sensing is the terrain of one political subject using a digital device to monitor her or his environment to take individual action. Yet in some circumstances, citizen sensing practices are reworking the sites and distributions of environmental monitoring toward other configurations that are more multiple and collective. What are the qualities and capacities of these collective modes of sensing, and how might they shift the assumed parameters—and effectiveness—of citizen sensing? We engage with Simondon’s writing to consider how a “perceptive problematic” generates collectives for feeling and responding to events (or an “affective problematic”), here through the ongoing event of air pollution. Further drawing on writing from Stengers, we discuss how the “work” of citizen sensing involves much more than developing new technologies, and instead points to the ways in which new practices, subjects, milieus, evidence, and politics are worked through as perceptive and affective commitments to making sense of and addressing the problem of pollution.
Article
Recently, a number of optical particular matter (PM) monitors employing low-cost PM sensors have become available on the consumer market. These portable low-cost monitors can be used to characterize PM concentrations with high spatial and temporal resolution. This study evaluates the performance of four low-cost PM monitors (Speck, Dylos, TSI AirAssure, and UB AirSense) against well-characterized reference instruments, and studies their suitability for PM field exposure studies. The low-cost monitors were characterized in a room-sized laboratory chamber with standard relative humidity and temperature conditions, using two PM sources: cigarette smoke and Arizona test dust. This study found that any of the monitors tested perform with adequate precision for monitoring air quality in an indoor microenvironment, although the field calibration of the monitor with a standard instrument for specific types of aerosols would be required. Other factors such as flexibility in data download methods, connectivity, compatibility with environmental conditions, and quality of technical support should also be taken into consideration when selecting low-cost PM monitors for human inhalation exposure assessment studies.
Article
Socioeconomic and racial disparities in the outcomes of medical management remain common across pulmonary diseases in the United States and worldwide. Acknowledging this context, the American Thoracic Society (ATS) recently put forth recommendations to advance respiratory health equity. Through engagement of vulnerable communities in search of collaborative solutions to improve health disparities, community-based participatory research embodies concepts essential to the ATS mission for respiratory health equity. The purpose of this commentary is to provide an overview of the principles of community-based participatory research and the application of this approach to addressing inequity in the outcomes of treatment for lung disease. Community-based participatory research aims to decrease health disparities by recognizing the social and ecological paradigms of health care and by partnering community members with academic researchers in all aspects of the research process. Community partners are uniquely poised to offer insight into local culture, circumstances that guide health behaviors, and other challenges to improve their own community's health. Sustainable interventions, either through strengthening existing community assets or through community empowerment and local capacity building throughout the research process are essential to the success of community-based participatory research. The National Institutes of Health and other funding agencies offer funding opportunities to support specific interventions aimed at engaging community members in the research process. In pulmonary medicine, communict-based initiatives have primarily focused on improving pediatric asthma outcomes. Utilizing a a community pased approach in adult asthma and other pulmonary diseases could be an ideal manner in which to decrease pulmonary health disparities.
Article
Objectives: We systematically reviewed the Environmental Protection Agency, National Center for Environmental Research's (NCER's) requests for applications (RFAs) and identified strategies that NCER and other funders can take to bolster community engagement. Methods: We queried NCER's publically available online archive of funding opportunities from fiscal years 1997 to 2013. From an initial list of 211 RFAs that met our inclusion criteria, 33 discussed or incorporated elements of community engagement. We examined these RFAs along 6 dimensions and the degree of alignments between them. Results: We found changes over time in the number of RFAs that included community engagement, variations in how community engagement is defined and expected, inconsistencies between application requirements and peer review criteria, and the inclusion of mechanisms supporting community engagement in research. Conclusions: The results inform a systematic approach to developing RFAs that support community engagement in research. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print October 15, 2015: e1-e9. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2015.302811).
Article
Land Use Regression (LUR) models typically use fixed-site monitoring; here, we employ mobile monitoring as a cost-effective alternative for LUR-development. We use bicycle-based, mobile measurements (~85 hours) during rush-hour in Minneapolis, MN to build LUR models for particulate concentrations (particle number [PN], black carbon [BC], fine particulate matter [PM2.5], particle size). We developed and examined 1,224 separate LUR models by varying pollutant, time-of-day, and method of spatial and temporal smoothing of the time-series data. Our base-case LUR models had modest goodness-of-fit (adjusted R2: ~0.5 [PN], ~0.4 [PM2.5], 0.35 [BC], ~0.25 [particle size]) and included predictor variables which captured proximity to and density of emission sources. The spatial density of our measurements resulted in a large model-building dataset (n=1,101 concentration estimates); ~25% of buffer variables were selected at spatial scales of <100m, suggesting that on-road particle concentrations change on small spatial scales. LUR model-R2 improved as sampling runs were completed, with diminishing benefits after ~40 hours of data collection. Spatial autocorrelation of model residuals indicated that models performed poorly where spatiotemporal resolution of emission sources (i.e., traffic congestion) was poor. Our findings suggest that LUR modeling from mobile measurements is possible, but that more work could usefully inform best practices.
Article
In the last few decades, community based participatory research (CBPR) has emerged as an important approach that links environmental health and justice advocates with research institutions to understand and address environmental health problems. CBPR has generally been evaluated for its impact on policy, regulation, and its support of community science. However, there has been less emphasis on assessing the ways in which CBPR (re)shapes and potentially improves the scientific enterprise itself. This commentary focuses on this under-emphasized aspect of CBPR-how it can strengthen science. Using two case studies of environmental health CBPR research-the Northern California Exposure Study, and the San Joaquin Valley Drinking Water Study-we posit that CBPR helps improve the "3 R's"of science-rigor, relevance and reach-and in so doing benefits the scientific enterprise itself.
Article
Objectives: We explored prevalence and clustering of key environmental conditions in low-income housing and associations with self-reported health. Methods: The Health in Common Study, conducted between 2005 and 2009, recruited participants (n = 828) from 20 low-income housing developments in the Boston area. We interviewed 1 participant per household and conducted a brief inspection of the unit (apartment). We created binary indexes and a summed index for household exposures: mold, combustion by-products, secondhand smoke, chemicals, pests, and inadequate ventilation. We used multivariable logistic regression to examine the associations between each index and household characteristics and between each index and self-reported health. Results: Environmental problems were common; more than half of homes had 3 or more exposure-related problems (median summed index = 3). After adjustment for household-level demographics, we found clustering of problems in site (P < .01) for pests, combustion byproducts, mold, and ventilation. Higher summed index values were associated with higher adjusted odds of reporting fair-poor health (odds ratio = 2.7 for highest category; P < .008 for trend). Conclusions: We found evidence that indoor environmental conditions in multifamily housing cluster by site and that cumulative exposures may be associated with poor health.
Article
In recent times, climate change has emerged as the most challenging political and scientific issues of our times. The Brundtland Report and Rio Conference highlighted the significance of local actions as a means of securing global sustainable development. This is further emphasized by the projection that 70% of the world's population will live in cities by 2050 (UN-HABITAT, 2008). With ever increasing trends in urban consumption and production practices, a call for action against climate change is often seen as a way to foster sustainable development. Considerable attention is now being paid to determine what urban sustainability would include.OECD (n.d.) says that “cities are centres of innovation and can advance clean energy systems, sustainable transportation, waste management and spatial development strategies to reduce greenhouse gases. With access to up to date climate science, impacts and vulnerability assessment, local authorities can also work with local stakeholders to design and implement effective adaptation strategies.”In present times however, cities try to respond to climate change through programs and initiatives in the absence of any integrated, continuous and long-term strategy. To change this situation, we propose that programs and initiatives must be financially beneficial to all stakeholders. Collaboration between local government, local businesses and residents is a necessary condition. Success depends on creating a balanced win-win situation for all stakeholders.This paper looks at how political, business and individual responses can be integrated in a conceptual model that positively addresses climate change in a municipal context and is also fiscally sustainable.
Article
Environmental inequality is quantified here using linear regression, based on results from a recent mobility-based exposure model for 25,064 individuals in California's South Coast Air Basin [Marshall et al., 2006. Inhalation intake of ambient air pollution in California's South Coast Air Basin. Atmospheric Environment 40, 4381–4392]. For the four primary pollutants studied (benzene, butadiene, chromium particles, and diesel particles), mean exposures are higher than average for people who are nonwhite, are from lower-income households, and live in areas with high population density. For ozone (a secondary pollutant), the reverse holds. Holding constant attributes such as population density and daily travel distance, mean exposure differences between whites and nonwhites are 16–40% among the five pollutants. These findings offer a baseline to compare against future conditions or to evaluate the impact of proposed policies.
Article
This 4th edition of the text introducing the Precede-Proceed model provides extensive links (via www.lgreen.net) to the research and theory on which it has built since previous editions. A 5th edition is in progress, featuring new published applications of the model in community, school, and healthcare settings.
Article
Asthma morbidity has increased dramatically in the past decade, especially among poor and minority children in the inner cities. The National Cooperative Inner-City Asthma Study (NCICAS) is a multicenter study designed to determine factors that contribute to asthma morbidity in children in the inner cities. A total of 1,528 children with asthma, ages 4 to 9 years old, were enrolled in a broad-based epidemiologic investigation of factors which were thought to be related to asthma morbidity. Baseline assessment included morbidity, allergy evaluation, adherence and access to care, home visits, and pulmonary function. Interval assessments were conducted at 3, 6, and 9 months after the baseline evaluations.Over the one-year period, 83% of the children had no hospitalizations and 3.6% had two or more. The children averaged 3 to 3.5 days of wheeze for each of the four two-week recall periods. The pattern of skin test sensitivity differed from other populations in that positive reactions to cockroach were higher (35%) and positive reactions to house dust mite were lower (31%). Caretakers reported smoking in 39% of households of children with asthma, and cotinine/creatinine ratios exceeded 30 ng/mg in 48% of the sample. High exposure (>40 ppb) to nitrogen dioxide was found in 24% of homes. Although the majority of children had insurance coverage, 53% of study participants found it difficult to get follow-up asthma care. The data demonstrate that symptoms are frequent but do not result in hospitalization in the majority of children. These data indicate a number of areas which are potential contributors to the asthma morbidity in this population, such as environmental factors, lack of access to care, and adherence to treatment. Interventions to reduce asthma morbidity are more likely to be successful if they address the many different asthma risks found in the inner cities. Pediatr. Pulmonol. 1997;24:253–262. © 1997 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Article
This paper explores how a structured decision process, based on methods from the decision sciences, can contribute to the integration of local and scientific knowledge in environmental decision making. Emphasis is placed on the use of key decision structuring steps and analytical tools to help ensure the systematic treatment of both fact-based and value-based knowledge claims. Practical methods are discussed for communicating and evaluating values and technical information across participants and cultures in ways that are methodologically rigorous and encourage different sources of credible knowledge to be considered on equal footing. Examples are presented from water use planning in British Columbia, Canada, where stakeholder consultations at 22 hydroelectric facilities demonstrate specific techniques that can be used to clarify values, to explore hypotheses, to clarify uncertainties, to identify and evaluate options, to make value-based choices, and to facilitate mutual learning.
Article
The intake fraction is the attributable pollutant mass inhaled by an exposed population per unit mass released from a source. In this paper, mathematical models are combined with empirical data to explore how intake fraction varies with governing parameters for episodic indoor pollutant releases, such as those from cleaning, cooking, or smoking. Broadly, the intake fraction depends on building-related factors (e.g., ventilation rate), occupant factors (e.g., occupancy), and pollutant dynamic factors (e.g., sorption). In the simple case of the episodic release of a nonreactive pollutant into a well-mixed indoor space with steady occupancy and constant ventilation and breathing rates, the intake fraction is the ratio of the occupants’ volumetric breathing rate to the building's ventilation flow rate. Factors such as incomplete mixing, time-varying occupancy, and sorptive interactions modify this basic relationship.
Article
This paper describes results of a qualitative study that explored barriers to research participation among African American adults. A purposive sampling strategy was used to identify African American adults with and without previous research experience. A total of 11 focus groups were conducted. Groups ranged in size from 4-10 participants (N=70). Mistrust of the health care system emerged as a primary barrier to participation in medical research among participants in our study. Mistrust stems from historical events including the Tuskegee syphilis study and is reinforced by health system issues and discriminatory events that continue to this day. Mistrust was an important barrier expressed across all groups regardless of prior research participation or socioeconomic status. This study illustrates the multifaceted nature of mistrust, and suggests that mistrust remains an important barrier to research participation. Researchers should incorporate strategies to reduce mistrust and thereby increase participation among African Americans.
Article
Despite increasing regulatory attention and literature linking roadside air pollution to health outcomes, studies on near roadway air quality have not yet been well synthesized. We employ data collected from 1978 as reported in 41 roadside monitoring studies, encompassing more than 700 air pollutant concentration measurements, published as of June 2008. Two types of normalization, background and edge-of-road, were applied to the observed concentrations. Local regression models were specified to the concentration-distance relationship and analysis of variance was used to determine the statistical significance of trends. Using an edge-of-road normalization, almost all pollutants decay to background by 115-570 m from the edge of road; using the more standard background normalization, almost all pollutants decay to background by 160-570 m from the edge of road. Differences between the normalization methods arose due to the likely bias inherent in background normalization, since some reported background values tend to underpredict (be lower than) actual background. Changes in pollutant concentrations with increasing distance from the road fell into one of three groups: at least a 50% decrease in peak/edge-of-road concentration by 150 m, followed by consistent but gradual decay toward background (e.g., carbon monoxide, some ultrafine particulate matter number concentrations); consistent decay or change over the entire distance range (e.g., benzene, nitrogen dioxide); or no trend with distance (e.g., particulate matter mass concentrations).