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Environmental and health benefits of mobile source and electricity generating unit policies to reduce particulate pollution

Principal Investigators: 
,

Emory University

,

University of Rochester Medical Center

In this HEI-funded project, the investigators will build on their previous accountability analyses in Atlanta, New York, and Los Angeles to characterize the health impacts of MV and EGU policy implementation.

Funded under
Status: 
Ongoing
Abstract

Poster abstract for HEI Annual Conference 2022

Environmental and health benefits of mobile source and electricity generating unit policies to reduce particulate pollution

Stefanie Ebelt, ScD1, David Q. Rich, ScD2, Howard Chang, PhD1, Philip K. Hopke, PhD2, Armistead Russell, PhD3

1.    Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
2.    University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York
3.    Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia

Over the past 20 years, US policies targeting mobile vehicles (MV), electricity generating units (EGU), and other pollution sources have been implemented to improve air quality. In this HEI-funded project, we build on our previous accountability analyses in Atlanta, New York, and Los Angeles to characterize the health impacts of MV and EGU policy implementation.

Previously, we estimated substantial reductions in ambient pollutant concentrations during 1999-2013 in Atlanta, and attributed these reductions to preventing ~55,000 cardiorespiratory emergency department (ED) visits. The air pollution mixture appeared to become less toxic over time, with smaller health effect estimates during the second half of the study. In New York State, PM2.5 and its major components and sources decreased during 2005-2016, except for PM2.5 from spark-ignition and diesel vehicles. PM2.5-health associations were larger after MV and EGU policy implementation than during or before implementation, suggesting that PM2.5 became more toxic over time. In Los Angeles, PM2.5-health associations became larger from 2005 to 2016 for cardiovascular ED visits, but smaller for asthma ED visits. Thus, more work is needed to assess whether changes in PM-health associations reflect changes in PM toxicity following implementation of MV and EGU policies in the US. In the current project, we will:

1. Assess and compare effects of policies targeting MV and EGU emissions on PM2.5, PM2.5 components, and source-specific concentrations at 6 monitoring sites in Atlanta, New York City, and Los Angeles during 2005-2019. Using available ambient monitoring data, we will apportion PM sources and assess trends in concentrations at each site. Trends will be linked to selected MV and EGU policies, accounting for uncertainties in and interactions between the emissions changes. We will estimate counterfactual time series of pollutant concentrations that would have occurred in the absence of policies.

2. Assess and compare changes in PM2.5 toxicity resulting from these policies. We will conduct epidemiologic analyses of PM2.5 components and sources and cardiorespiratory ED visits/hospitalizations at all sites. We will estimate PM effects for the years representing early, middle, and late periods of implementation of the policies to assess potential changes in PM toxicity at each site.

3. Quantify the health benefits of these policies during 2005-2019. Using estimated changes in concentrations between observed and counterfactual scenarios from Aim 1, and effect estimates from multipollutant epidemiologic models, we will calculate the number of ED visits/hospitalizations prevented for MV and EGU policies at each site, and assess the effect of PM2.5 composition changes on the estimates.

We are currently in Year 1 of a 3-year project. We will present the overarching study goals and design, along with initial work on policy selection, and air quality and health data acquisition.