Advertisement

Current Environmental Health Reports

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 514–522 | Cite as

Accountability Studies on Air Pollution and Health: the HEI Experience

  • Hanna Boogaard
  • Annemoon M. van Erp
  • Katherine D. Walker
  • Rashid Shaikh
Air Pollution and Health (S Adar and B Hoffmann, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Air Pollution and Health

Abstract

Purpose of Review

Assessing health effects of air quality interventions is of ever-increasing interest. Given the prominent role Health Effects Institute (HEI) has played in accountability research, this review focuses on HEI’s recent experiences, the challenges it has encountered, and provides possible directions for future research.

Recent Findings

Most accountability studies to date have focused on effects of relatively short-term, local-scale, and sometimes temporary interventions. Only a few recent accountability studies have sought to investigate large-scale, multiyear regulatory programs. Common challenges encountered include lack of statistical power, how to account appropriately for background trends in air quality and health, and difficulties in direct attribution of changes in air pollution and health to a single intervention among many regulatory actions. New methods have been developed for accountability research that has shown promise addressing some of those challenges, including use of causal inference methods.

Summary

These and other approaches that would enhance the attribution of changes in air quality and health directly to an intervention should continue to be further explored. In addition, integration of social and behavioral sciences in accountability research is warranted, and climate related co-benefits and dis-benefits may be considered.

Keywords

Accountability Air pollution Health Regulations Actions Interventions 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Hanna Boogaard, Annemoon M. van Erp, Katherine D. Walker, and Rashid Shaikh declare that they have no conflict of interest. The authors are employed by the Health Effects Institute, an independent non-profit organization supported by the US Environmental Protection Agency and world-wide automotive manufacturers. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Health Effects Institute or its sponsors.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

References

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

  1. 1.
    Hoek G, Krishnan RM, Beelen R, Peters A, Ostro B, Brunekreef B, et al. Long-term air pollution exposure and cardio-respiratory mortality: a review. Environ Health. 2013;12:43.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Rückerl R, Schneider A, Breitner S, Cyrys J, Peters A. Health effects of particulate air pollution: a review of epidemiological evidence. Inhal Toxicol. 2011;23:555–92.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    World Health Organization. Review of evidence on health aspects of air pollution—REVIHAAP Project Technical Report. 2013. World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2011. The benefits and costs of the Clean Air Act from 1990 to 2020. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Air and Radiation.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Crouse DL, Peters PA, van Donkelaar A, Goldberg MS, Villeneuve PJ, Brion O, et al. Risk of nonaccidental and cardiovascular mortality in relation to long-term exposure to low concentrations of fine particulate matter: a Canadian national-level cohort study. Environ Health Perspect. 2012;120:708–14.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hales S, Blakely T, Woodward A. Air pollution and mortality in New Zealand: cohort study. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2012;66:468–73.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Qian D, Wang Y, Zanobetti A, Wang Y, Koutrakis P, Choirat C, et al. Air pollution and mortality in the Medicare population. N Engl J Med. 2017;376:2513–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Wang Y, Shi L, Lee M, Liu P, Di Q, Zanobetti A, et al. Long-term exposure to PM2.5 and mortality among older adults in the Southeastern US. Epidemiology. 2017;28:207–14.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Pope CA III. Respiratory disease associated with community air pollution and a steel mill, Utah Valley. Am J Public Health. 1989;79:623–8.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Pope CA III, Rodermund DL, Gee MM. Mortality effects of a copper smelter strike and reduced ambient sulfate particulate matter air pollution. Environ Health Perspect. 2007;115:679–83.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Clancy L, Goodman P, Sinclair H, Dockery DW. Effect of air-pollution control on death rates in Dublin, Ireland: an intervention study. Lancet. 2002;360:1210–4.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hedley AJ, Wong CM, Thach TQ, Ma S, Lam TH, Anderson HR. Cardiorespiratory and all-cause mortality after restrictions on sulphur content of fuel in Hong Kong: an intervention study. Lancet. 2002;360:1646–52.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    HEI Accountability Working Group. Assessing health impact of air quality regulations: concepts and methods for accountability research. Communication 11. Boston: Health Effects Institute; 2003.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    van Erp AM, Cohen AJ. 2009. HEI’s research program on the impact of actions to improve air quality: interim evaluation and future directions. Communication 14. Boston: Health Effects Institute.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Health Effects Institute. Proceedings of an HEI workshop on further research to assess the health impacts of actions taken to improve air quality. Communication 15. Boston: Health Effects Institute; 2010.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Bell ML, Morgenstern R, Harrington W. Quantifying the human health benefits of air pollution policies: review of recent studies and new directions in accountability research. Environ Sci Pol. 2011;14:357–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Henschel S, Atkinson R, Zeka A, Le Tertre A, Analitis A, Katsouyanni K, et al. Air pollution interventions and their impact on public health. Int J Public Health. 2012;57:757–68.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    • Henneman LR, Liu C, Mulholland JA, Russell AG. Evaluating the effectiveness of air quality regulations: a review of accountability studies and frameworks. J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2017;67:144–72. A recent review summarizing the evidence to assess the effectiveness of air quality interventions to improve air quality and health. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    • Rich DQ. Accountability studies of air pollution and health effects: lessons learned and recommendations for future natural experiment opportunities. Environ Int. 2017;100:62–78. A recent review summarizing the evidence to assess the effectiveness of air quality interventions to improve air quality and health. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Burns J, Boogaard H, Turley R, Pfadenhauer LM, van Erp AM, Rohwer AC, Rehfuess E. Interventions to reduce ambient particulate matter air pollution and their effect on health. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2014;(Issue 1):CD010919.  https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD010919.
  21. 21.
    Burns J, Boogaard H, Pfadenhauer LM, Polus S, van Erp AM, Rohwer AC, et al. Interventions for reducing ambient air pollution and their effects on health: a Cochrane systematic review. Sydney: ISEE 2017 abstract; 2017.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Friedman MS, Powell KE, Hutwagner L, Graham LM, Teague WG. Impact of changes in transportation and commuting behaviors during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta on air quality and childhood asthma. JAMA. 2001(285):897–905.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Peel JL, Klein M, Flanders WD, Mulholland JA, Tolbert PE. Impact of improved air quality during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta on multiple cardiovascular and respiratory outcomes. Research Report 148. Boston: Health Effects Institute; 2010.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Zhang J, Zhu T, Kipen H, Wang G, Huang W, Rich D, et al. Cardiorespiratory biomarker responses in healthy young adults to drastic air quality changes surrounding the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Research Report 174. Boston: Health Effects Institute; 2013.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Dockery DW, Rich DQ, Goodman PG, Clancy L, Ohman-Strickland P, George P, et al. Effect of air pollution control on mortality and hospital admissions in Ireland. Research Report 176. Boston: Health Effects Institute; 2013.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    • Gilliland F, Avol E, McConnell R, Berhane K, Gauderman WJ, Lurmann FW, et al. The effects of policy-driven air quality improvements on children’s respiratory health. Research Report 190. Boston: Health Effects Institute; 2017. This is an accountability study based on the landmark Children’s Health study . Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Meng Y, Su JG, Jerrett M, Seto E, Molitor J, Chen X. Reductions in ambient air pollution due to goods movement actions and subsequent improvements in health outcomes (Phase II Health Effect Study); Program and Abstracts, HEI Annual Conference 2017, Alexandria, VA, April 30–May 2, 2017. Boston: Health Effects Institute; 2017.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Russell AG, Tolbert P, Henneman L, Abrams J, Liu C, Klein M, et al. Impacts of regulations on air quality and emergency department visits in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area, 1993–2013. Research Report 195. Boston: Health Effects Institute; In press.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    • Zigler CM, Kim C, Choirat C, Hansen JB, Wang Y, Hund L, et al. Causal inference methods for estimating long-term health effects of air quality regulations. Research Report 187. Boston: Health Effects Institute; 2016. This study explores use of causal modeling methods for accountability research of air quality regulations . Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Su JG, Meng YY, Pickett M, Seto E, Ritz B, Jerrett M. Identification of effects of regulatory actions on air quality in Goods Movement Corridors in California. Environ Sci Technol. 2016;50:8687–96.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Henneman LRF, Liu C, Chang H, Lavoué D, Mulholland J, Russell A. Estimating the impact of air pollution controls on ambient concentrations. Air pollution modeling and its application XXIV 2016. Springer.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Kelly F, Anderson HR, Armstrong B, Atkinson R, Barratt B, Beevers S, et al. The impact of the congestion charging scheme on air quality in London. Research Report 155. Boston: Health Effects Institute; 2011.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Kelly FJ, Armstrong B, Atkinson R, Anderson HR, Barratt B, Beevers S, et al. The London low emission zone baseline study. Research Report 163. Boston: Health Effects Institute; 2011.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Johnston FH, Hanigan IC, Henderson SB, Morgan GG. Evaluation of interventions to reduce air pollution from biomass smoke on mortality in Launceston, Australia: retrospective analysis of daily mortality, 1994–2007. BMJ. 2013;346:e8446.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Yorifuji T, Kashima S, Doi H. Fine-particulate air pollution from diesel emission control and mortality rates in Tokyo: a quasi-experimental study. Epidemiology. 2016;27:769–78.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Costa D, Hubbell B. EPA research highlights—human problems warrant human solutions: how EPA is integrating social and environmental science to help solve the most challenging and consequential problems related to air, climate, and energy. EM 2016.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Giles LV, Barn P, Kunzli N, Romieu I, Mittleman MA, van Eeden S, et al. From good intentions to proven interventions: effectiveness of actions to reduce the health impacts of air pollution. Environ Health Perspect. 2011;119:29–36.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Laumbach R, Meng Q, Kipen H. What can individuals do to reduce personal health risks from air pollution? J Thorax Dis. 2015;7:96–107.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Best practices for reducing near-road pollution exposure at schools. 2015. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-10/documents/ochp_2015_near_road_pollution_booklet_v16_508.pdf.
  40. 40.
    California Air Resources Board (CARB). Technical advisory. Strategies to reduce air pollution exposure near high-volume roadway. 2017. https://www.arb.ca.gov/ch/landuse.htm.
  41. 41.
    Fiore AM, Naik V, Leibensperger EM. Air quality and climate connections. J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2015;65:645–85.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Peters A, Breitner S, Cyrys J, Stölzel M, Pitz M, Wölke G, et al. The influence of improved air quality on mortality risks in Erfurt, Germany. Research Report 137. Boston: Health Effects Institute; 2009.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Morgenstern RD, Harrington W, Shih J-S, Bell ML. Accountability analysis of Title IV Phase 2 of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. Research Report 168. Boston: Health Effects Institute; 2012.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Noonan CW, Ward TJ, Navidi W, Sheppard L, Bergauff M, Palmer C. Assessing the impact of a wood stove replacement program on air quality and children’s health. Research Report 162. Boston: Health Effects Institute; 2011.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Wong C-M, Rabl A, Thach TQ, Chau YK, Chan KP, Cowling BJ, et al. Impact of the 1990 Hong Kong legislation for restriction on sulfur content in fuel. Research Report 170. Boston: Health Effects Institute; 2012.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hanna Boogaard
    • 1
  • Annemoon M. van Erp
    • 1
  • Katherine D. Walker
    • 1
  • Rashid Shaikh
    • 1
  1. 1.Health Effects InstituteBostonUSA

Personalised recommendations