Air Pollution

Recent Publications and News

Air Pollution and Mortality at the Intersection of Race and Social Class

Black Americans are exposed to higher annual levels of air pollution containing fine particulate matter (particles with an aerodynamic diameter of ≤2.5 μm [PM2.5]) than White Americans and may be more susceptible to its health effects. Low-income Americans may also be more susceptible to PM2.5 pollution than high-income Americans. Because information is lacking on exposure–response curves for PM2.5 exposure and mortality among marginalized subpopulations categorized according to both race and socioeconomic position, the Environmental Protection Agency lacks important evidence to inform its regulatory rulemaking for PM2.5 standards.
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Prenatal Ambient Air Pollutant Mixture Exposure and Early School-age Lung Function

Research linking prenatal ambient air pollution with childhood lung function has largely considered one pollutant at a time. Real-life exposure is to mixtures of pollutants and their chemical components; not considering joint effects/effect modification by co-exposures contributes to misleading results.
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Proinflammatory polarization of monocytes by particulate air pollutants is mediated by induction of trained immunity in pediatric asthma

The impact of exposure to air pollutants, such as fine particulate matter (PM), on the immune system and its consequences on pediatric asthma, are not well understood. We investigated whether ambient levels of fine PM with aerodynamic diameter ≤2.5 microns (PM2.5) are associated with alterations in circulating monocytes in children with or without asthma.
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Black Americans, low-income Americans may benefit most from stronger policies on air pollution

Stronger regulations lowering levels of fine particulate air pollutants (PM2.5) would benefit the health of all Americans, but Black Americans and low-income Americans would likely reap the most benefits, including a lower risk of premature death, according to a new study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
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Climate, Pollution, and Children’s Health

This instructional video focuses on five key ways in which fossil fuels, air pollution, and climate change are creating a long-lasting negative impact on infant and children’s health: extreme heat, climate-intensified events, changes in air quality, disruptions in food and water supply, and changes in vector ecology.
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Air pollution may raise risk of dementia

Breathing in microscopic air pollutants may raise the risk of developing dementia, according to a new analysis of existing research by public health scientists at Harvard.
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Associations between long term air pollution exposure and first hospital admission for kidney and total urinary system diseases in the US Medicare population: nationwide longitudinal cohort study

Recently, air pollution has been suggested as a potential risk factor for low glomerular filtration rate and kidney disease. Inhaled air pollution can cause oxidative stress and DNA damage to kidney tissue, and cardiovascular and endocrine toxicities related to air pollution, such as disturbances in the autonomic nervous and circulatory systems and pulmonary inflammatory disease, have also been suggested as biological mechanisms linking air pollution exposure and kidney disease.
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Physical Activity, Air Pollution Exposure, and Lung Function Interactions Among Adults with COPD

Although physical activity is strongly encouraged for patients with chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it is unknown if physical activity affects daily exposure to air pollution, or whether it attenuates or exacerbates effects of pollution on the airways among adults with COPD
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The role of short-term air pollution and temperature on arterial stiffness in a longitudinal closed cohort of elderly individuals

Our study adds to the sparse literature that examines whether arterial stiffness, related to cardiovascular risk, increases with exposure to air pollution. We assessed the associations between spatiotemporally resolved air pollutants and vascular and hemodynamic parameters in an elderly population-based in Eastern Massachusetts.
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The impact of wildfires on air pollution and health across land use categories in Brazil over a 16-year period

Forest fires cause many environmental impacts, including air pollution. Brazil is a very fire-prone region where few studies have investigated the impact of wildfires on air quality and health.
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Relationship between traffic-related air pollution and inflammation biomarkers using structural equation modeling

The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of arrival aircraft on particle number concentration (PNC), a proxy for UFP, across six study sites 3–17 km from a major arrival aircraft flight path into Boston Logan International Airport by utilizing real-time aircraft activity and meteorological data.
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Long-term exposure to ambient particulate matter and stroke etiology: Results from the Women's Health Initiative

Ambient particulate matter (PM) air pollution is a leading cause of global disability and accounts for an annual 2.9 million deaths globally. PM is established as an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease, however the evidence supporting a link specifically between long-term exposure to ambient PM and incident stroke is less clear. We sought to evaluate the association of long-term exposure to different size fractions of ambient PM with incident stroke (overall and by etiologic subtypes) and cerebrovascular deaths within the Women’s Health Initiative, a large prospective study of older women in the US.
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Short-term exposure to air pollution linked with hospital admissions, substantial costs

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