Special Issue "Air Pollution—Measurement Methods, Exposure, and Health Determinants"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Artur Badyda
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Guest Editor
Department of Informatics and Environment Quality Research, Faculty of Building Services, Hydro- and Environmental Engineering, Warsaw University of Technology, 00-661 Warszawa, Poland
Interests: scientific interests are closely related to environmental determinants of health, health impact assessment, with particular emphasis on the influence of ambient air pollution on the environment and human health; professional interests are focused on issues related to environmental protection management, air quality monitoring, broadly defined environmental protection, environmental impact assessment of large infrastructure and industrial investments and energy efficiency as well as common ecological education, especially in the area of health effects of exposure to air pollution
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Carlos Lodeiro
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Chemistry Department, LAQV-REQUIMTE, NOVA Science and Technology School, NOVA University Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: environmental detection of pollutant toxic ions, cations, and molecules using chemosensors and sensors; development of new functionalized nanoparticles and nanomaterials; toxicological and bactericidal studies; personalized medicine; proteomics, especially studies involving the effect of the environment in health and wellbeing
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

    This Special Issue will focus on measurement methods of air pollutants and issues related to the exposure on air pollutants, as well as health determinants. Air pollution is still an important global problem. According to the WHO recent data, over 90% of the global population lives in the conditions that do not meet the standards set for the protection of human health. In numerous countries, there is also a lack of air quality monitoring systems, which means that their societies are not aware of what air they breathe.
    The development of various, nonreference methods for measuring concentrations of air pollutants, with a special emphasis on particulate matter, makes it necessary to assess the quality of measurement data collected by even low-budget measurement devices. That is why one of the elements of this Special Issue is dedicated to air quality measurement methods.
    Together with professional (national) air quality monitoring systems (if they exist), new measurement methods give an opportunity to increase the quality of human exposure assessment to air pollutants and, as a result, to better assess the health effects of such exposure. This Special Issue is therefore also open to manuscripts presenting results of the research studies on the assessment of human exposure to air pollution and the analyses of adverse health effects being a consequence of the exposure of breathing polluted air.

Prof. Dr. Artur Badyda
Prof. Dr. Carlos Lodeiro
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • air pollution
  • air pollutants
  • particulate matter
  • measurement methods
  • air quality monitoring
  • exposure
  • environmental determinants of health
  • adverse health effects

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
Assessment of Integrated Aerosol Sampling Techniques in Indoor, Confined and Outdoor Environments Characterized by Specific Emission Sources
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(10), 4360; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app11104360 - 11 May 2021
Viewed by 498
Abstract
This paper highlights advantages and drawbacks due to the use of portable and low-cost devices for aerosol sampling, showing their performances during an aerosol monitoring campaign with the parallel use of the gravimetric sampling reference method and a cascade impactor. A specific monitoring [...] Read more.
This paper highlights advantages and drawbacks due to the use of portable and low-cost devices for aerosol sampling, showing their performances during an aerosol monitoring campaign with the parallel use of the gravimetric sampling reference method and a cascade impactor. A specific monitoring campaign was held running all instruments in parallel in indoor, confined, and outdoor environments characterized by local emission sources or particulate matter background concentrations. PM2.5 concentrations were used to compare data emerging from the different instruments adopted. Significant underestimation of PM2.5 emerged when comparing data coming from optical sensors with those estimated by the cascade impactor, whose data resulted in being coherent with gravimetric determination, integrated over the same sampling time. A cause–effect relationship between PM2.5 concentrations and specific emission sources was found when observing the daily patterns of all the real-time sampling devices. It emerged that optical devices are useful for detecting concentration trends, the presence of peak values, or changes in the background value, even if with limited accuracy and precision. The comparison with particle size distributions obtained by the cascade impactor data allowed us to define which particle sizes are not detected by different optical devices, evidencing a low representativeness of optical low-cost sensors for health exposure measurements. The correlations among the specific particle size fractions detected by the cascade impactor and their specific emission sources were particularly high for car emissions in a semi-confined garage area. Full article
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Article
Estimating Health Impacts Due to the Reduction of Particulate Air Pollution from the Household Sector Expected under Various Scenarios
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(1), 272; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app11010272 - 30 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 891
Abstract
Emissions from the household sector are the most significant source of air pollution in Poland, one of the most polluted countries in the EU. Estimated health impacts of the reduction of these emissions under three scenarios are presented. The EMEP4PL model and base [...] Read more.
Emissions from the household sector are the most significant source of air pollution in Poland, one of the most polluted countries in the EU. Estimated health impacts of the reduction of these emissions under three scenarios are presented. The EMEP4PL model and base year emission inventory were used to estimate average annual PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations with spatial resolution of 4 km × 4 km. The change in emissions under each of the scenarios was based on data from a survey on household boilers and insulation. Scenario 1 included replacement of all poor-quality coal-fired boilers with gas boilers; Scenario 2 included replacement of all poor-quality coal-fired boilers with low-emission boilers but still using solid fuels; and Scenario 3 included the thermal refurbishment of houses with the worst insulation. Impacts on the following health parameters were estimated: premature deaths (PD), Chronic Bronchitis (CB), Bronchitis in Children (BiC) and Work Days Lost (WDL). The concentration–response functions recommended by the WHO HRAPIE project were used. The analysis was conducted for two regions: Lower Silesia and Lodzkie province. The largest reduction of health impact was observed for Scenario 1. For Lower Silesia, the annual PD decreased by 1122 (34.3%), CB by 1516 (26.6%), BiC by 9602 (27.7%) and WDL by 481k (34.7%). For Lodzkie province, the largest impacts were estimated as decreases in PD by 1438 (29.9%), CB by 1502 (25.3%), BiC by 9880 (26.8%) and WDL by 669k (30.4%). Full article
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Article
Changes in Air Quality during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Associated Health Benefits in Korea
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(23), 8720; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app10238720 - 05 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1149
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic was caused by a highly contagious coronavirus that has triggered worldwide control actions such as social distancing and lockdowns. COVID-19 control actions have resulted in improved air quality locally and around the world in the short-term by limiting human activity. [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic was caused by a highly contagious coronavirus that has triggered worldwide control actions such as social distancing and lockdowns. COVID-19 control actions have resulted in improved air quality locally and around the world in the short-term by limiting human activity. We analyzed the impacts of social distancing and transboundary pollutants on air quality changes using open data and examined the corresponding health benefits focusing on two domestic cities (Seoul and Daegu) in Korea where the spread of coronavirus was severe. During the COVID-19 pandemic, PM2.5, PM10, and NO2 concentrations decreased significantly by 31%, 61%, and 33%, respectively, compared to the previous three years. In particular, the PM2.5/PM10 ratio fell 24.5% after the implementation of social distancing, suggesting a decrease in anthropogenic emissions. Moreover, we found that the air quality index (AQI) also improved significantly, with a focus on reducing exposure to sensitive groups. In Seoul and Daegu, improved air quality prevented 250 and 78 premature deaths, and health costs were USD 884 million and USD 278 million, respectively. On the other hand, health loss due to COVID-19 deaths was in sharp contrast to USD 7.1 million and USD 543.6 million. Our findings indicate a significant association between COVID-19 prevalence patterns and health outcomes. Full article
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Article
Air Pollution Associates with Cancer Incidences in Poland
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(21), 7489; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app10217489 - 25 Oct 2020
Viewed by 948
Abstract
In many countries around the world (including the United States, Canada, and Spain), research is being conducted into the impact of air pollution on the formation of various types of cancer. For a long time it was thought that the inhalation of pollutants [...] Read more.
In many countries around the world (including the United States, Canada, and Spain), research is being conducted into the impact of air pollution on the formation of various types of cancer. For a long time it was thought that the inhalation of pollutants could lead to lung diseases. Now the effects of air pollutants on tumors in the airways, kidneys, bladder, breast, and colon have been investigated and are better understood. It is now known that particulates in air pollution can cross the blood–brain barrier and also reach the placenta. The aim of this study was to find a possible relationship between the emission of pollutants into the atmosphere and the formation of specific types of tumors in the Polish population. Two databases available on the Internet were used in the analysis: the bank of measurement data on air quality in Poland (the repository of Environmental Protection Inspection) and cancer statistics. The pollution measurement data for the years 2000–2016 were taken from the Chief Inspectorate for Environmental Protection website, a database with results from 264 stations located in Poland for 13 types of gases and atmospheric pollutants. Statistical data on cancer C00–D09 (according to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision (ICD-10)) in the Polish population in the years 1999–2015 were retrieved from onkologia.org.pl. A novel code was constructed, allowing the downloading of statistics from the databases, examination of their correlation, and selection of the best model of regression through machine learning. The results of the analyses indicate a high correlation of air pollution with the incidence of selected types of cancer. Particularly noteworthy is the observed effect of NOx on the incidence of small and large intestine cancers in the Masovia and West Pomerania provinces. The other gases and pollutants with the most significant impact on the incidence of gastrointestinal cancer have also been identified. Based on statistical analysis, we found a correlation between air pollution and tumor incidence in individual provinces, as well as an influence of the emission of nitrogen oxides on the cancer incidence rate. Full article
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Article
Development of Fast Sampling and High Recovery Extraction Method for Stable Isotope Measurement of Gaseous Mercury
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(19), 6691; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app10196691 - 24 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 701
Abstract
A method involving fast large-volume sampling and bag extraction of total gaseous mercury (TGM) using a 5 mL acid solution was developed for stable mercury isotope ratio measurements. A big gold-coated sand trap (BAuT)—a 45 (i.d.) × 300 mm (length) quartz tube with [...] Read more.
A method involving fast large-volume sampling and bag extraction of total gaseous mercury (TGM) using a 5 mL acid solution was developed for stable mercury isotope ratio measurements. A big gold-coated sand trap (BAuT)—a 45 (i.d.) × 300 mm (length) quartz tube with 131 times more trapping material than a conventional gold trap—was used for the collection of a large amount of TGM. The collected TGM was extracted using 5 mL inversed aqua regia in a 2 L Tedlar bag followed by isotope measurements using a cold vapor generator coupled with a multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer. Sampling tests demonstrated that the collection efficiency of the BAuT was 99.9% or higher during the 1–24 h sampling period under the flow rate of 20–100 L min−1. Recovery tests of 24 h bag extraction using 100 ng NIST SRM 8610 exhibited nearly 100% recovery yields. The five measured stable mercury isotope ratios agreed with reference values within 2σ intervals. The overall methodology tested during the pilot field and laboratory studies demonstrated its successful application in analysis, promising highly precise stable mercury isotopic data with a time resolution of less than 24 h. Full article
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Article
Using Costs and Health Benefits to Estimate the Priority of Air Pollution Control Action Plan: A Case Study in Taiwan
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(17), 5970; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app10175970 - 28 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 896
Abstract
A comparative analysis was conducted between the costs and health benefits of the Air Pollution Control Action Plan (APCAP), which can be implemented in any country to improve air quality and human health. In this study, air quality modeling was used to simulate [...] Read more.
A comparative analysis was conducted between the costs and health benefits of the Air Pollution Control Action Plan (APCAP), which can be implemented in any country to improve air quality and human health. In this study, air quality modeling was used to simulate several scenarios and implement the Kriging method to describe the PM2.5 reduction concentration instantly. Then, health benefits were estimated using the environmental benefit mapping and analysis program (BenMAP) with results from the air quality modeling and Kriging method. To estimate the priority of APCAP, 14 pollution control measures that cover point, mobile, and area sources of air pollution in Taiwan were analyzed. The results indicate that the health benefits of the Taiwan APCAP (TAPCAP) are generally greater than the technical costs. Thus, the implementation of this strategy may result in net benefits. In addition, the benefit-to-control cost ratio for health for the 14 pollution control measures was calculated. The results provide evidence to prioritize the implementation of air quality policies with a higher benefit-cost ratio. Full article
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Article
The Effect of Air Pollution on the Healthy Growth of Cities: An Empirical Study of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(11), 3699; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app10113699 - 27 May 2020
Viewed by 688
Abstract
In the context of sustainable development, air pollution poses challenges to the adjustment of the industrial structure in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. In order to explore the relationship between air pollution and urban industrial development, this paper uses a simultaneous equation model to empirically [...] Read more.
In the context of sustainable development, air pollution poses challenges to the adjustment of the industrial structure in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. In order to explore the relationship between air pollution and urban industrial development, this paper uses a simultaneous equation model to empirically analyze the relationship between PM2.5 concentration and industrial development based on panel data from 2000 to 2017 on the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. The empirical results show that there is a two-way causal relationship between industrial development and air pollution. Secondary industry upgrades to tertiary industry, which will help improve the air quality in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. At the same time, air pollution has a significant adverse effect on the development of secondary industry and tertiary industry. An average increase of 1% in PM2.5 concentration will cause the proportion of secondary industry to increase by about 0.08% to 0.28%, and the proportion of tertiary industry to decrease by about 0.13% to 0.31%. Based on the results of the empirical model, this paper puts forward policy recommendations for environmental governance in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, aiming to achieving healthy development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. Full article
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Article
Short-Term Measurement of Indoor Radon Concentration in Northern Croatia
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(7), 2341; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app10072341 - 29 Mar 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 939
Abstract
(1) Background: Radon concentrations in the environment are generally very low. However, radon concentrations can be high indoors and can cause some serious health issues. The main source of indoor radon (homes, buildings and other residential objects) can be soil under the house, [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Radon concentrations in the environment are generally very low. However, radon concentrations can be high indoors and can cause some serious health issues. The main source of indoor radon (homes, buildings and other residential objects) can be soil under the house, while other sources can be construction materials, groundwater and natural gas. Radon accumulates mainly in the lower levels of the buildings (especially low-ventilated underground levels and basements). (2) Methods: in this paper, we have measured the indoor radon concentrations at 15 locations in various objects (basements and ground floor/1st floor rooms) in the area of northern Croatia. (3) Results: the results show a higher concentration of radon in the basement area in comparison to values measured in the ground floor and first-floor rooms. The arithmetic mean (AM) and geometric mean (GM) of basement rooms were 70.9 ± 38.8 Bq/m3 and 61.2 ± 2.2 Bq/m3 compared to ground floor and first-floor rooms 42.5 ± 30.8 Bq/m3 and 32.8 ± 2.9 Bq/m3, respectively. (4) Conclusions: results obtained (AM and GM values) are within the maximal allowed values (300 Bq/m3) according to the Euroatom Directive. However, there are periods when maximum radon concentration exceeds 300 Bq/m3. Indoor radon concentrations vary with the occupancy of the rooms and it is evident that the ventilation has significant effect on the reduction of concentration. Full article
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Review

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Review
Outdoor Air Quality of Environments Used for Exercise and Sports Practice: An Analysis of Scientific Production through Bibliometric Analysis
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(10), 4540; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app11104540 - 17 May 2021
Viewed by 565
Abstract
Thus, far, in the Environmental Science field, there appears to be only one previous bibliometric analysis of scientific production with regard to exercise and sports practice, performed in indoor environments. This study investigates and analyzes scientific production related to outdoor air quality of [...] Read more.
Thus, far, in the Environmental Science field, there appears to be only one previous bibliometric analysis of scientific production with regard to exercise and sports practice, performed in indoor environments. This study investigates and analyzes scientific production related to outdoor air quality of environments that are used for exercise and sports practice through a bibliometric analysis. Five databases were searched in March 2020. A bibliometric analysis was performed for authors, institutions and countries, in relation to publication year, language, citations, theme, and analysis of publication keywords. Of the 2401 screened studies, 106 satisfied the inclusion criteria. The first work was published in 1967. A high number of studies (85.8%) were published after 2008. The United States (US) accounted for most of the performed studies, followed by China. The author keywords associated with the words “pollutants”, “human health”, and “exercise/sports” were the most commonly used. A total of 59 journals had been published on this subject, and most of these were in the area of medicine. It was observed that most of this scientific production was developed by researchers from institutions in the US and China. The publications focused on pollutants and subjects related to human health and sports. Full article
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