Publications

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2019
Cakmak, S, Hebbern C, Vanos J, Crouse DL, Tjepkema M.  2019.  Exposure to traffic and mortality risk in the 1991-2011 Canadian Census Health and Environment Cohort (CanCHEC). Environment International. 124:16-24.   10.1016/j.envint.2018.12.045   AbstractWebsite

There is evidence that local traffic density and living near major roads can adversely affect health outcomes. We aimed to assess the relationship between local road length, proximity to primary highways, and cause-specific mortality in the 1991 Canadian Census Health and Environment Cohort (CanCHEC). In this long-term study of 2.6 million people, based on completion of the long-form census in 1991 and followed until 2011, we used annual residential addresses to determine the total length of local roads within 200m of postal code representative points and the postal code's distance to primary highways. The association between exposure to traffic and cause-specific non-accidental mortality was estimated using Cox proportional hazards models, adjusting for individual covariates and contextual factors, including census division-level proportion in high school, the percentage of recent immigrants, and neighborhood income. We performed sensitivity analyses, including adjustment for exposure to PM2.5, NO2, or O-3, restricting to subjects in core urban areas, and spatial variation by climatic zone. The hazard ratio (HR) for all non-accidental mortality associated with an interquartile increase in length of local roads was 1.05 (95% CI 1.04, 1.05), while for an interquartile range increase in proximity to primary highways, the HR was 1.03 (95% CI 1.02, 1.04). HRs by traffic quartile increased with increasing lengths of local roads, as well as with closer proximity to primary highways, for all mortality causes. The associations were stronger within subjects' resident in urban core areas, attenuated by adjustment for PM2.5, and HRs showed limited spatial variation by climatic zone. In the CanCHEC cohort, exposure to higher road density and proximity to major traffic roads was associated with increased mortality risk from cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disease, ischemic heart disease, COPD, respiratory disease, and lung cancer, with unclear results for diabetes.

2017
McKercher, GR, Salmond JA, Vanos JK.  2017.  Characteristics and applications of small, portable gaseous air pollution monitors. Environmental Pollution. 223:102-110.   10.1016/j.envpol.2016.12.045   AbstractWebsite

Background: Traditional approaches for measuring air quality based on fixed measurements are inadequate for personal exposure monitoring. To combat this issue, the use of small, portable gas-sensing air pollution monitoring technologies is increasing, with researchers and individuals employing portable and mobile methods to obtain more spatially and temporally representative air pollution data. However, many commercially available options are built for various applications and based on different technologies, assumptions, and limitations. A review of the monitor characteristics of small, gaseous monitors is missing from current scientific literature. Purpose: A state-of-the-art review of small, portable monitors that measure ambient gaseous outdoor pollutants was developed to address broad trends during the last 5-10 years, and to help future experimenters interested in studying gaseous air pollutants choose monitors appropriate for their application and sampling needs. Methods: Trends in small, portable gaseous air pollution monitor uses and technologies were first identified and discussed in a review of literature. Next, searches of online databases were performed for articles containing specific information related to performance, characteristics, and use of such monitors that measure one or more of three criteria gaseous air pollutants: ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide. All data were summarized into reference tables for comparison between applications, physical features, sensing capabilities, and costs of the devices. Results: Recent portable monitoring trends are strongly related to associated applications and audiences. Fundamental research requires monitors with the best individual performance, and thus the highest cost technology. Monitor networking favors real-time capabilities and moderate cost for greater reproduction. Citizen science and crowdsourcing applications allow for lower-cost components; however important strengths and limitations for each application must be addressed or acknowledged for the given use. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

2016
Cakmak, S, Hebbern C, Cakmak JD, Vanos J.  2016.  The modifying effect of socioeconomic status on the relationship between traffic, air pollution and respiratory health in elementary schoolchildren. Journal of Environmental Management. 177:1-8.   10.1016/j.jenvman.2016.03.051   Abstract

The volume and type of traffic and exposure to air pollution have been found to be associated with respiratory health, but few studies have considered the interaction with socioeconomic status at the household level. We investigated the relationships of respiratory health related to traffic type, traffic volume, and air pollution, stratifying by socioeconomic status, based on household income and education, in 3591 schoolchildren in Windsor, Canada. Interquartile range changes in traffic exposure and pollutant levels were linked to respiratory symptoms and objective measures of lung function using generalised linear models for three levels of income and education. In 95% of the relationships among all cases, the odds ratios for reported respiratory symptoms (a decrease in measured lung function), based on an interquartile range change in traffic exposure or pollutant, were greater in the lower income/education groups than the higher, although the odds ratios were in most cases not significant. However, in up to 62% of the cases, the differences between high and low socioeconomic groups were statistically significant, thus indicating socioeconomic status (SES) as a significant effect modifier. Our findings indicate that children from lower socioeconomic households have a higher risk of specific respiratory health problems (chest congestion, wheezing) due to traffic volume and air pollution exposure.

2015
Vanos, JK, Cakmak S, Kalkstein LS, Yagouti A.  2015.  Association of weather and air pollution interactions on daily mortality in 12 Canadian cities. Air Qual Atmos Health. 8:307-320.   10.1007/s11869-014-0266-7   Abstract

It has been well established that both meteorological attributes and air pollution concentrations affect human health outcomes. We examined all cause nonaccident mortality relationships for 28 years (1981-2008) in relation to air pollution and synoptic weather type (encompassing air mass) data in 12 Canadian cities. This study first determines the likelihood of summertime extreme air pollution events within weather types using spatial synoptic classification. Second, it examines the modifying effect of weather types on the relative risk of mortality (RR) due to daily concentrations of air pollution (nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter <2.5 mum). We assess both single- and two-pollutant interactions to determine dependent and independent pollutant effects using the relatively new time series technique of distributed lag nonlinear modeling (DLNM). Results display dry tropical (DT) and moist tropical plus (MT+) weathers to result in a fourfold and twofold increased likelihood, respectively, of an extreme pollution event (top 5 % of pollution concentrations throughout the 28 years) occurring. We also demonstrate statistically significant effects of single-pollutant exposure on mortality (p < 0.05) to be dependent on summer weather type, where stronger results occur in dry moderate (fair weather) and DT or MT+ weather types. The overall average single-effect RR increases due to pollutant exposure within DT and MT+ weather types are 14.9 and 11.9 %, respectively. Adjusted exposures (two-way pollutant effect estimates) generally results in decreased RR estimates, indicating that the pollutants are not independent. Adjusting for ozone significantly lowers 67 % of the single-pollutant RR estimates and reduces model variability, which demonstrates that ozone significantly controls a portion of the mortality signal from the model. Our findings demonstrate the mortality risks of air pollution exposure to differ by weather type, with increased accuracy obtained when accounting for interactive effects through adjustment for dependent pollutants using a DLNM.