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Integrating satellites, ground monitoring, and modeling to estimate long-term NO2 exposures and associated pediatric asthma impacts

Principal Investigator: 

George Washington University

This study is estimating global ambient annual average NO2 concentrations and associated pediatric asthma at high spatial resolution (100m x 100m) for incorporation into the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD). The investigators will improve methods to estimate trends in surface NO2 concentrations from 1990 to 2018 and will update a systematic review of the epidemiological literature on NO2 and incidence of pediatric asthma to assess related worldwide burden of disease.


Integrating satellites, ground monitoring, and modeling to estimate long-term NO2 exposure and associated pediatric asthma impacts

Susan C. Anenberg1, Michael Brauer2, Perry Hystad3, Katrin Burkart2, Daniel L. Goldberg1, Andrew Larkin3, Arash Mohegh1, Bryan Duncan4, Lok Lamsal4, Sarah Wozniak2

1George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA; 2Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Seattle, WA, USA; 3Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA; 4NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA

Background: Recent meta-analyses of epidemiological studies conducted in North America, Latin America, Europe, and East Asia show that traffic-related nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution is associated with pediatric asthma incidence. Using concentration-response relationships from these meta-analyses, traffic-related NO2 has been estimated to be responsible for 13% (~4 million) of new pediatric asthma cases globally. However, global burden of disease studies from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and the World Health Organization do not yet include NO2 impacts on asthma.

Methods: The objective of this study is to estimate surface ambient annual average NO2 concentrations and associated pediatric asthma burdens from 1990 to 2019 for incorporation into IHME’s Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD). Specifically, we: 1) update the most comprehensive published systematic literature review on NO2 and pediatric asthma and assess the strength of the epidemiologic evidence; 2) integrate ground monitor data from OpenAQ and NO2 concentrations derived from the satellite-based Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) into a global land use regression model to predict NO2 concentrations at high spatial resolution; and 3) evaluate the temporal trend in annual average NO2 and associated pediatric asthma incidence burdens from 1990−2019.

Results: This study will produce high quality estimates of the global burden of ambient NO2 pollution on pediatric asthma incidence from 1990 to 2019 (in 5-year increments from 1990 to 2010, and annually from 2010 to 2019). Asthma burdens will be generated on a globally gridded scale, and will also be reported by city and country.

Conclusions: Results will be evaluated within the GBD’s comparative risk assessment framework to determine the portion of pediatric asthma in each country that may be attributable to traffic-related NO2. We will also compare disability-adjusted life years from traffic-related NO2 versus other risk factors, such as fine particulate matter and ozone. NO2-attributable pediatric asthma burdens will be integrated into IHME’s GBD study and the Health Effects Institute’s State of Global Air report.