Estimated long-term outdoor air pollution concentrations in a cohort study

R. Beelen*, G. Hoek, P. Fischer, P.A. van den Brandt, B. Brunekreef

*Corresponding author for this work

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Several recent studies associated long-term exposure to air pollution with increased mortality. An ongoing cohort study, the Netherlands Cohort Study on Diet and Cancer (NLCS), was used to study the association between long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution and mortality. Following on a previous exposure assessment study in the NLCS, we improved the exposure assessment methods. Long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) nitrogen oxide (NO), black smoke (BS), and sulphur dioxide (SO2) was estimated. Exposure at each home address (N = 21868) was considered as a function of a regional, an urban and a local component. The regional component was estimated using inverse distance weighed interpolation of measurement data from regional background sites in a national monitoring network. Regression models with urban concentrations as dependent variables, and number of inhabitants in different buffers and land use variables, derived with a Geographic Information System (GIS), as predictor variables were used to estimate the urban component. The local component was assessed using a GIS and a digital road network with linked traffic intensities. Traffic intensity on the nearest road and on the nearest major road, and the sum of traffic intensity in a buffer of 100m around each home address were assessed. Further. a quantitative estimate of the local component was estimated. The regression models to estimate the urban component explained 67%, 46%, 49% and 35% of the variances of NO2, NO, BS. and SO2 concentrations, respectively. Overall regression models which incorporated the regional, urban and local component explained 84%, 44%. 59% and 56% of the variability in concentrations for NO2, NO, BS and SO2, respectively. We were able to develop an exposure assessment model using GIS methods and traffic intensities that explained a large part of the variations in outdoor air pollution concentrations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1343-1358
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007

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