A hybrid model for evaluating exposure of the general population in Israel to air pollutants

Abstract

Exposure to air pollution is associated with a wide range of health effects, including increased respiratory symptoms, cancer, reproductive and birth defects, and premature death. Air quality measurements by standardized measuring equipment, although accurate, can only provide an estimate for part of the population, with decreasing accuracy further away from the monitoring sites. Estimating pollution levels over large geographical domains requires the use of air quality models which ideally incorporate air quality measurements. In order to estimate actual exposure of the population to air pollution (population-weighted concentrations of air pollutants), there is a need to combine data from air quality models with population density data. Here we present the results of exposure estimates for the entire population of Israel using a chemical transport model combined with measurements from the national monitoring network. We evaluated the individual exposure levels for the entire population to several air pollutants based on census tract units. Using this hybrid model, we found that the entire population of Israel is exposed to concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 that exceed the target values but are below the environmental values according to the Israeli Clean Air Law. In addition, we found and that over 1.5 million residents are exposed to NOx at concentrations higher than the target values. This data may help decision makers develop targeted interventions to reduce the concentrations of specific pollutants, based on population-weighted exposure.

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Acknowledgements

The work of the last author was supported by the Environment and Health Fund, Jerusalem, Israel.

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Correspondence to Zohar Barnett-Itzhaki.

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Levy, I., Karakis, I., Berman, T. et al. A hybrid model for evaluating exposure of the general population in Israel to air pollutants. Environ Monit Assess 192, 4 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-019-7960-8

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Keywords

  • Ambient air pollution
  • Population-weighted exposure
  • Chemical transport model
  • PM2.5
  • PM10