Feature Papers in Air Pollution, Health Effects Indicators, Exposome, and One Health

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Air Quality and Human Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 42972

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Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (ISAC), National Research Council (CNR), Str. Prv. Lecce-Monteroni km 1.2, 73100 Lecce, Italy
Interests: atmosphere composition; aerosol sources; health-related effects of aerosols; receptor models; turbulent fluxes; particle deposition; nucleation
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Guest Editor
Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council, Rome, Italy
Interests: air quality; atmospheric aerosol; health effects; characterization of ultrafine particles; combustion generated aerosol and urban areas; black carbon and carbonaceous aerosol, and relevant toxicology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce that Atmosphere is now compiling a collection of outstanding papers in the field of air pollution and human health. We welcome contributions from the research community.

Ambient air pollution is ranked as the seventh highest risk factor for human health, being responsible for several millions deaths per year globally. Although it has been widely recognized that particulate matter, and especially fine PM2.5 fraction, causes adverse health effects, there is still a gap of knowledge of the exact mechanisms of toxicity and of how different aerosol components can act and interact to influence observed particulate matter toxicity under real-world conditions.

We encourage papers focusing on air quality and health, on the analysis of pollution-related indicators of health effects, on the mechanisms linking exposure to air pollutants to health threats in the real-life scenario, and on studies based on multicomponent approaches aiming to identify the number of highly interconnected physical, chemical, and biological stressors and the way these can influence humans, animals, and the environment (One Health). The purpose of this Special Issue is to publish a set of insightful and influential papers composed of either original contributions or reviews. All papers in this Special Issue will be collected into a printed edition book.

Dr. Daniele Contini
Dr. Francesca Costabile
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • air pollution
  • ultrafine particles
  • toxicology
  • epidemiology
  • exposome
  • one health
  • oxidative stress

Published Papers (16 papers)

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18 pages, 5429 KiB  
Article
Health Burden and Driving Force Changes Due to Exposure to PM2.5 and O3 from 2014 to 2060 in a Typical Industrial Province, China
by Chuanyong Zhu, Changtong Zhu, Mengyi Qiu, Yichao Gai, Renqiang Li, Ling Li, Chen Wang, Na Yang, Baolin Wang, Lei Sun, Guihuan Yan and Chongqing Xu
Atmosphere 2023, 14(11), 1672; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14111672 - 10 Nov 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 714
Abstract
While air quality in China has improved significantly in recent years, the population is becoming increasingly vulnerable to air pollution due to the aging population. In this study, we assessed premature deaths attributable to long- and short-term exposures to PM2.5 and O [...] Read more.
While air quality in China has improved significantly in recent years, the population is becoming increasingly vulnerable to air pollution due to the aging population. In this study, we assessed premature deaths attributable to long- and short-term exposures to PM2.5 and O3, as well as their driving forces in Shandong from 2014 to 2060 based on county-level near-real-time air pollutant concentration datasets and projected concentrations of PM2.5 and O3. We found that the concentrations of PM2.5 and O3 in most districts and counties from Shandong are still higher than the corresponding concentration limit of Grade II. Premature mortality caused by long- and short-term exposures to PM2.5 decreased by 13,045 and 8092 in 2020 compared with those in 2014, respectively. Furthermore, premature mortality attributable to short-term exposure to O3 was 36.08% higher than that due to short-term exposure to PM2.5 in 2020. The results of the driving force analysis indicate that the health benefits brought about by the improvement in air quality have been offset by the changes in population age structure. In the future, the increase in O3 concentration and population aging are the top two driving forces having adverse effects on the health burden. This study provides support for controlling the health risks of PM2.5 and O3 pollution, especially for the development of dual-pollutant concentration targets and synergistic control strategies. Full article
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22 pages, 3364 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Air Pollution in Different Areas (Urban, Suburban, and Rural) in Slovenia from 2017 to 2021
by Maja Ivanovski, Kris Alatič, Danijela Urbancl, Marjana Simonič, Darko Goričanec and Rudi Vončina
Atmosphere 2023, 14(3), 578; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14030578 - 17 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2449
Abstract
Air pollution can have a significant effect on human health. The present work is focused on the investigation of daily, monthly, and annual concentration levels of five typical air pollutants (SO2, NO2, NOX, PM10, and [...] Read more.
Air pollution can have a significant effect on human health. The present work is focused on the investigation of daily, monthly, and annual concentration levels of five typical air pollutants (SO2, NO2, NOX, PM10, and PM2.5) in the Republic of Slovenia (RS) from January 2017 to December 2021. The study was conducted at five different monitoring stations of the following kind: traffic (A), industrial (D), and background (B, C, E). The obtained results showed a decline in the average concentrations for all the studied air pollutants through the years, respectively. The daily average SO2 concentrations were the lowest in the year 2021 at location B, which is classified as background location, while the highest were detected in the year 2018 at location E, which is also classified as background location. The average daily concentrations of NO2 and NOX were the highest at location A in the year 2017, whereas the lowest were detected in the year 2010 and 2021. It is believed that those results are a consequence of measures set by the Slovenian government during the COVID-19 pandemic. The PM10 and PM2.5 daily average concentrations were the highest at location A in 2017, while the lowest were observed in the year 2019 at location C. Meteorological parameters (temperature, wind speed, and relative humidity) were studied in addition. In general, the high temperatures in ambient air are responsible for the intense concentrations of air pollutants. It was found in the study results for temperature, wind speed, and relative humidity that no significant difference was shown between studied years. Full article
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15 pages, 3758 KiB  
Article
On the Correlations between Particulate Matter: Comparison between Annual/Monthly Concentrations and PM10/PM2.5
by Xavier Jurado, Nicolas Reiminger, Loïc Maurer, José Vazquez and Cédric Wemmert
Atmosphere 2023, 14(2), 385; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14020385 - 15 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1437
Abstract
Annual concentration is a key element to assess the air quality of an area for long-time exposure effects. Nonetheless, obtaining annual concentrations from sensors is costly since it needs to have a year of measurements for each required pollutant. To overcome this issue, [...] Read more.
Annual concentration is a key element to assess the air quality of an area for long-time exposure effects. Nonetheless, obtaining annual concentrations from sensors is costly since it needs to have a year of measurements for each required pollutant. To overcome this issue, several strategies are studied to assess annual particulate matter concentration from monthly data, with their pros and cons depending on the risk acceptance and measurement campaign costs. When applied on a French dataset, the error spans from 12–14% with one month of measurement to 4–6% for six months of measurement for PM10 and PM2.5, respectively. A relationship between the mean relative error and 95th percentile relative error is provided with an R2 of 0.99. The relationship between PM10 and PM2.5 was also investigated and improved compared to previous work by considering the seasonality and influence on emission reaching a mean relative error of 12%. Thus, this study provides tools for urban planners, engineers, researchers, and public authorities for improved monitoring of annual air pollution at a lower cost for particulate matter. Full article
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17 pages, 6876 KiB  
Article
Air Quality at Ponta Delgada City (Azores) Is Unaffected so Far by Growing Cruise Ship Transit in Recent Years
by Filipe Bernardo, Patrícia Garcia and Armindo Rodrigues
Atmosphere 2023, 14(1), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14010188 - 16 Jan 2023
Viewed by 2364
Abstract
The ease of travel allowed by contemporary means of long-range transportation has brought increasingly higher numbers of visitors to remote and relatively undisturbed insular territories. In a framework of environmental conservation of the natural patrimony, sustainably accommodating touristic flooding and the associated polluting [...] Read more.
The ease of travel allowed by contemporary means of long-range transportation has brought increasingly higher numbers of visitors to remote and relatively undisturbed insular territories. In a framework of environmental conservation of the natural patrimony, sustainably accommodating touristic flooding and the associated polluting footprint poses a demanding challenge. Over the past decade, Ponta Delgada, the largest city of the mid-Atlantic Azores archipelago, has become a hotspot for transatlantic cruise ship (CS) lines in spring and autumn. CSs are substantial contributors to the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG), as well as hazardous sulphur (SOx) and nitrogen (NOx) oxides. It is hereby retrospectively investigated whether the background levels of air pollutants were raised following the CS influx at Ponta Delgada, which conventionally displays great air quality. The daily CS traffic at the local harbor was associated with the daily concentrations of air pollutants (SO2, O3, NO2, NOx, PM10 and PM2.5), monitored by the local urban background monitoring station (~1.3 km northwards). Exceedances above daily legislated limits from 2013 until 2020 only occurred sporadically for PM10 and PM2.5, often during episodes of natural dust storms. No major correlation was found between CS parameters with the recorded values of pollutants, although a noticeable signal of NOX increase of southern origin is observed during spring days with CS presence. Daily data suggest CS influx has not strongly influenced background air quality. A near-source, real-time monitoring network should be implemented in the city to provide the necessary spatial and temporal resolution for tracking short-term fluctuations in air pollutants during CS arrivals and departures. Full article
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20 pages, 3008 KiB  
Article
Overview of PM10, PM2.5 and BC and Their Dependent Relationships with Meteorological Variables in an Urban Area in Northwestern Morocco
by Youssef Bounakhla, Abdelfettah Benchrif, Francesca Costabile, Mounia Tahri, Bassma El Gourch, El Kafssaoui El Hassan, Fatiha Zahry and Moussa Bounakhla
Atmosphere 2023, 14(1), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14010162 - 12 Jan 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1810
Abstract
At an urban site in Kenitra, Morocco, two aerosol size fractions (PM2.5 and PM10) were sampled for four seasons to characterize the seasonal trends of particulate (PM) and carbonaceous (BC) aerosols. An in-depth statistical analysis of the lag-effects of meteorology [...] Read more.
At an urban site in Kenitra, Morocco, two aerosol size fractions (PM2.5 and PM10) were sampled for four seasons to characterize the seasonal trends of particulate (PM) and carbonaceous (BC) aerosols. An in-depth statistical analysis of the lag-effects of meteorology on collected data was investigated using uni- and multivariate linear regression analyses. The results revealed significant seasonal trends for PM10, PM2.5, and BC. PM concentrations showed the maximum values in autumn (61.4 ± 24.5 µg/m3 for PM10 and 21.2 ± 8.2 µg/m3 for PM2.5), while the minimum was observed in winter (40.2 ± 17.1 µg/m3) for PM10 and in summer (14.3 ± 3.3 µg/m3) for PM2.5. High BC concentrations were recorded in summer (6.3 ± 4.2 μg/m3, on average). The relative humidity 1–2 days earlier showed a higher negative correlation with the PM concentrations (except in winter), and the temperature 1–3 days earlier showed a negative correlation with the PM2.5 in winter and summer and a positive one with the PM10 in autumn. Wind speed was negatively associated with PM10 on the current day in winter and 3 days earlier in summer. However, diverse effects of wind speed on PM2.5 were observed (negative in summer and positive in spring). These results confirm the important role of meteorology in the formation of urban air pollution with pronounced variations in different seasons. Full article
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17 pages, 1990 KiB  
Article
Burden of Natural-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality Associated with Long-Term Exposure to PM2.5: A Case Study in Attica Region, Greece
by Paraskevi Begou and Pavlos Kassomenos
Atmosphere 2022, 13(12), 2026; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13122026 - 02 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1841
Abstract
In this study, the AirQ+ software proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO) was applied in order to assess the health endpoints associated with the long-term exposure to PM2.5 in Attica Region, Greece. For this purpose, we analyzed the daily average concentrations [...] Read more.
In this study, the AirQ+ software proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO) was applied in order to assess the health endpoints associated with the long-term exposure to PM2.5 in Attica Region, Greece. For this purpose, we analyzed the daily average concentrations of PM2.5 registered by the air quality monitoring stations in the region, from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2018. Although there was a decreasing trend in PM2.5 concentrations levels, the levels of PM2.5 exceeded the AQG (Air Quality Guidelines) limit value (annual value: 5 μg/m3) established by the WHO. The findings revealed that the burden of mortality (from all-natural causes) at people above 30 years old associated with PM2.5 exposure was 4752 [3179–6152] deaths in 2007 and 2424 [1598–3179] deaths in 2018. In general, the attributable mortality from specific causes of deaths (e.g., lung cancer, IHD (ischemic heart diseases) and stroke) in people above 25 years old decreased between the years, but the mortality from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases) was stable at 146 [79–220] deaths in 2007 and 147 [63–244] deaths in 2018. We also found differences in mortality cases from IHD and stroke among the age groups and between the years 2007 and 2018. Full article
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25 pages, 2801 KiB  
Article
Selection of Plant Species for Particulate Matter Removal in Urban Environments by Considering Multiple Ecosystem (Dis)Services and Environmental Suitability
by Samira Muhammad, Karen Wuyts and Roeland Samson
Atmosphere 2022, 13(12), 1960; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13121960 - 24 Nov 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1632
Abstract
To select plant species for particulate matter (PM) removal from urban environments, it is important to consider the plant species’ ecosystem (dis)services and environmental suitability in addition to their effectiveness in PM removal. In this study, 61 plant species were ranked for PM [...] Read more.
To select plant species for particulate matter (PM) removal from urban environments, it is important to consider the plant species’ ecosystem (dis)services and environmental suitability in addition to their effectiveness in PM removal. In this study, 61 plant species were ranked for PM removal using three separate models: (i) leaf traits, (ii) leaf saturation isothermal remanent magnetization (SIRM), and (iii) ecosystem services and disservices. The plant species’ effectiveness in PM accumulation and the effective leaf traits were identified using leaf SIRM. In each model, plant species were assigned scores and weights for each criterion. The weighted average or the product (Π)-value was calculated for each plant species. The weighted average of each plant species was multiplied by the scores of leaf longevity and leaf area index (LAI) to scale up to a yearly basis and per unit of ground surface area. The preference ranking organization method for enrichment of evaluations (PROMETHEE) method was employed for the services and disservices model because of the lack of precise weights for the included criteria in the model. A scenario analysis was performed to determine a change in the ranking of plant species when the weights of the criteria were modified in the services and disservices model. The plant species with increased ecosystem services and reduced ecosystem disservices were Tilia cordata (Mill.), Tilia platyphyllos (Scop.), Alnus incana (L.), Acer campestre (L.), and Picea abies (L.). The findings of this study can be relevant to urban planners for recommending suitable choices of plant species for the development of urban green spaces. Full article
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25 pages, 3515 KiB  
Article
Measurement of Sulfur-Dioxide Emissions from Ocean-Going Vessels in Belgium Using Novel Techniques
by Ward Van Roy, Annelore Van Nieuwenhove, Kobe Scheldeman, Benjamin Van Roozendael, Ronny Schallier, Johan Mellqvist and Frank Maes
Atmosphere 2022, 13(11), 1756; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13111756 - 25 Oct 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2013
Abstract
Air pollutants emitted by ocean-going vessels (OGVs) cause numerous environmental and human health problems. In 2016, the Belgian Coastguard aircraft was equipped with a sniffer sensor to monitor compliance with MARPOL Annex VI Regulation 14. However, the sensor was susceptible to NO and [...] Read more.
Air pollutants emitted by ocean-going vessels (OGVs) cause numerous environmental and human health problems. In 2016, the Belgian Coastguard aircraft was equipped with a sniffer sensor to monitor compliance with MARPOL Annex VI Regulation 14. However, the sensor was susceptible to NO and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which had a negative impact on the measurement uncertainty. The elimination of measurement errors was achieved by modifying the sensor, including among others the addition of a NOx sensor and a custom-designed hydrocarbon kicker. This resulted in a substantial improvement in the measurement quality and uncertainty of the derived Fuel Sulfur Content (FSC). As a direct result of this, the reporting thresholds for non-compliance drastically improved. The data analysis of sampled OGVs showed that compliance levels notably improved between 2019 and 2020 (from 95.9% to 97.3%), coinciding with the implementation of the Global Sulfur Cap. Findings in this study have also demonstrated that OGVs equipped with emission abatement technology (scrubbers) are more susceptible to non-compliance with Regulation 14 of MARPOL Annex VI. Given these results, this article provides an answer to the question of how to monitor effective implementation of NO emissions from OGVs. Full article
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21 pages, 2831 KiB  
Article
Aerosols in Northern Morocco-2: Chemical Characterization and PMF Source Apportionment of Ambient PM2.5
by Abdelfettah Benchrif, Mounia Tahri, Benjamin Guinot, El Mahjoub Chakir, Fatiha Zahry, Bouamar Bagdhad, Moussa Bounakhla, Hélène Cachier and Francesca Costabile
Atmosphere 2022, 13(10), 1701; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13101701 - 17 Oct 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1603
Abstract
Insufficient data on the chemical composition of PM2.5 and its emission sources in the southwestern (SW) Mediterranean area has been identified. Ambient PM2.5 samples were collected in an urban area of Tetouan city, northern Morocco. Chemical mass closure calculations and positive [...] Read more.
Insufficient data on the chemical composition of PM2.5 and its emission sources in the southwestern (SW) Mediterranean area has been identified. Ambient PM2.5 samples were collected in an urban area of Tetouan city, northern Morocco. Chemical mass closure calculations and positive matrix factorization were performed for the comprehensive dataset of PM2.5 chemical analyses. Mass closure improved when multipliers (1.2 and 0.23, respectively) were used for the conversion of organic carbon (OC) and calcium ion (Ca2+) into particulate organic matter (POM) and mineral dust masses, respectively. The mass closure model performed well in this SW Mediterranean region, with a significant correlation (r2 = 0.97) obtained between gravimetrically measured and chemically determined PM2.5 mass. The one-year average concentration of PM2.5 was 17.96 μg/m3, and the major chemical components were POM (34%), secondary inorganic aerosol (SIA) (28%), and black carbon (18%), while unidentified mass was 4%. The mass concentration and most of the chemical components of PM2.5 showed clear seasonal variations, with a summer-high and winter-low pattern for SIA, dust, and BC. In the winter months, POM was the dominant component. Source apportionment analysis revealed that PM2.5 emission sources, regarding their typical tracers, were ammonium sulfate (SO42−, NH4+, K+, NO3), road traffic and biomass burning emissions (OC, BC), fresh sea salt (Cl, K+, NO3), aged sea salt (Mg2+, Na+, Ca2+), and oxalate-rich (oxalate, NO3) factors. Further, it is hoped that these findings help to improve the scientific understanding of SW Mediterranean aerosols. Full article
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15 pages, 3906 KiB  
Article
Exposure to Aerosols Emitted from Common Heating Combustion Sources Indoors—The Jordanian Case as an Example for Eastern Mediterranean Conditions
by Tareq Hussein, Omar Al-Jaghbeer, Nizar Bqour, Bilal Zidan and Bashar Lahlouh
Atmosphere 2022, 13(6), 870; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13060870 - 25 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1748
Abstract
In Jordan, ~61% of total residential energy consumption is consumed by heating spaces using portable kerosene (K) and liquified petroleum gas (LPG) heaters. Here, we evaluated the indoor air quality (IAQ) versus the use of K and LPG heaters inside a test room [...] Read more.
In Jordan, ~61% of total residential energy consumption is consumed by heating spaces using portable kerosene (K) and liquified petroleum gas (LPG) heaters. Here, we evaluated the indoor air quality (IAQ) versus the use of K and LPG heaters inside a test room reflecting the typical conditions of Jordanian dwellings during the winter season. The experimental setup included particle size distribution (diameter 0.01–25 µm) measurements, and we utilized a simple sectional indoor aerosol model (SIAM) to estimate the emission rate and lifetime of the combustion products in the test room. The particle number (PN) concentration during the LPG operation was 6 × 104–5.9 × 105 cm−3, depending on the setting at minimum, medium, or maximum. The K heater operation increased with the PN concentrations to a range of 4 × 105–8 × 105 cm−3. On average, the particle losses were 0.7–1.6 h−1 for micron particles (1–10 µm) and 0.8–0.9 h−1 for ultrafine particles (<0.1 µm). The emission rate from the LPG heater was 1.2 × 1010–2.8 × 1010 particles/s (6.6 × 106–8.0 × 106 particles/J), and that for the K heater was about 4.4 × 1010 particles/s (1.9 × 107 particles/J). The results call for the immediate need to apply interventions to improve the IAQ by turning to cleaner heating processes indoors. Full article
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30 pages, 5552 KiB  
Article
On the Redox-Activity and Health-Effects of Atmospheric Primary and Secondary Aerosol: Phenomenology
by Francesca Costabile, Stefano Decesari, Roberta Vecchi, Franco Lucarelli, Gabriele Curci, Dario Massabò, Matteo Rinaldi, Maurizio Gualtieri, Emanuela Corsini, Elena Menegola, Silvia Canepari, Lorenzo Massimi, Stefania Argentini, Maurizio Busetto, Gianluca Di Iulio, Luca Di Liberto, Marco Paglione, Igor Petenko, Mara Russo, Angela Marinoni, Gianpietro Casasanta, Sara Valentini, Vera Bernardoni, Federica Crova, Gianluigi Valli, Alice Corina Forello, Fabio Giardi, Silvia Nava, Giulia Pazzi, Paolo Prati, Virginia Vernocchi, Teresa La Torretta, Ettore Petralia, Milena Stracquadanio, Gabriele Zanini, Gloria Melzi, Emma Nozza, Martina Iulini, Donatella Caruso, Lucia Cioffi, Gabriele Imperato, Flavio Giavarini, Maria Battistoni, Francesca Di Renzo, Maria Agostina Frezzini, Cinzia Perrino and Maria Cristina Facchiniadd Show full author list remove Hide full author list
Atmosphere 2022, 13(5), 704; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13050704 - 28 Apr 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2712
Abstract
The RHAPS (Redox-Activity And Health-Effects Of Atmospheric Primary And Secondary Aerosol) project was launched in 2019 with the major objective of identifying specific properties of the fine atmospheric aerosol from combustion sources that are responsible for toxicological effects and can be used as [...] Read more.
The RHAPS (Redox-Activity And Health-Effects Of Atmospheric Primary And Secondary Aerosol) project was launched in 2019 with the major objective of identifying specific properties of the fine atmospheric aerosol from combustion sources that are responsible for toxicological effects and can be used as new metrics for health-related outdoor pollution studies. In this paper, we present the overall methodology of RHAPS and introduce the phenomenology and the first data observed. A comprehensive physico-chemical aerosol characterization has been achieved by means of high-time resolution measurements (e.g., number size distributions, refractory chemical components, elemental composition) and low-time resolution analyses (e.g., oxidative potential, toxicological assays, chemical composition). Preliminary results indicate that, at the real atmospheric conditions observed (i.e., daily PM1 from less than 4 to more than 50 μg m−3), high/low mass concentrations of PM1, as well as black carbon (BC) and water soluble Oxidative Potential (WSOP,) do not necessarily translate into high/low toxicity. Notably, these findings were observed during a variety of atmospheric conditions and aerosol properties and with different toxicological assessments. Findings suggest a higher complexity in the relations observed between atmospheric aerosol and toxicological endpoints that go beyond the currently used PM1 metrics. Finally, we provide an outlook to companion papers where data will be analyzed in more detail, with the focus on source apportionment of PM1 and the role of source emissions on aerosol toxicity, the OP as a predictive variable for PM1 toxicity, and the related role of SOA possessing redox-active capacity, exposure-response relationships for PM1, and air quality models to forecast PM1 toxicity. Full article
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8 pages, 239 KiB  
Article
Long-Term Exposure to Essential Oils and Cardiopulmonary Health from a Population-Based Study
by Chien-Yu Lee, Lian-Yu Lin, Hsiao-Chi Chuang, Kin-Fai Ho and Kai-Jen Chuang
Atmosphere 2022, 13(4), 631; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13040631 - 15 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 7380
Abstract
It is still unknown whether long-term inhalation of indoor air pollutants from ambient essential oil is associated with increased cardiopulmonary events. We recruited 200 healthy homemakers to conduct a prospective observation study in Northern Taiwan. We measured heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure [...] Read more.
It is still unknown whether long-term inhalation of indoor air pollutants from ambient essential oil is associated with increased cardiopulmonary events. We recruited 200 healthy homemakers to conduct a prospective observation study in Northern Taiwan. We measured heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic BP (DBP), peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR), and indoor air pollutants four times per year for each participant between 2008 and 2018. Moreover, a questionnaire related to essential oil usage, home characteristics, and health status was filled out with each participant. The association between essential oil usage and cardiopulmonary health was determined using mixed-effects models. The mixed-effects models showed a significant association between essential oil usage and adverse cardiopulmonary effects including increased HR and BP and decreased % predicted PEFR among participants with heavy use of essential oils. No significant association between essential oils usage and adverse cardiopulmonary effects was observed among participants without essential oils usage or participants with mild use of essential oils (less than one hour per day). We concluded that exposure to indoor air pollution related to essential oils was associated with adverse cardiopulmonary effects among participants with essential oil usage more than one hour per day. Full article
12 pages, 1334 KiB  
Article
Honeybees as Bioindicators of Heavy Metal Pollution in Urban and Rural Areas in the South of Italy
by Cristina Di Fiore, Angelo Nuzzo, Valentina Torino, Antonio De Cristofaro, Ivan Notardonato, Sergio Passarella, Sabrina Di Giorgi and Pasquale Avino
Atmosphere 2022, 13(4), 624; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13040624 - 13 Apr 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4682
Abstract
The honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) has been used in several studies for monitoring the environmental health status in terms of pollution, due to its wide-ranging foraging flights. Based on this consideration, this study aimed to analyze heavy metal pollution in Molise Region [...] Read more.
The honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) has been used in several studies for monitoring the environmental health status in terms of pollution, due to its wide-ranging foraging flights. Based on this consideration, this study aimed to analyze heavy metal pollution in Molise Region (Italy), by investigating five sites characterized by different levels of contamination. Furthermore, the authors carried out a sampling activity for a long period, in order to obtain a complete dataset. In this way, detailed information about the status of the environments was able to be obtained. The main purpose of this work was to assess the health status of Molise Region and to confirm the suitability of honeybees as environmental bioindicators of heavy metal pollution, by analyzing their variability over time and space. Furthermore, the study compared the health status associated with contamination in terms of heavy metals with that in two different areas of Italy, using hierarchical cluster analysis and principal component analysis, to evaluate the correlation existing among the three different areas of Italy. Following the findings, the authors suggest the use of honeybees as a bioindicator for heavy metal pollution in air quality studies. Full article
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21 pages, 4044 KiB  
Article
Vehicular Traffic in Urban Areas: Health Burden and Influence of Sustainable Urban Planning and Mobility
by Cristina Reche, Aurelio Tobias and Mar Viana
Atmosphere 2022, 13(4), 598; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13040598 - 08 Apr 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4844
Abstract
Vehicular traffic is one of the major sources of air pollution in European cities. This work aims to understand which characteristics of the urban environment could influence mobility-related air pollution, quantify the health impacts of exposure to traffic-derived PM2.5 and NO2 [...] Read more.
Vehicular traffic is one of the major sources of air pollution in European cities. This work aims to understand which characteristics of the urban environment could influence mobility-related air pollution, quantify the health impacts of exposure to traffic-derived PM2.5 and NO2 concentrations, and assess the potential health benefits expected from traffic interventions. The health benefits modeled are intended to provide a set of comparable data to support decision-makers and encourage informed decision-making to design healthier cities. Targeting a large geographical coverage, 12 European cities from 9 countries were comparatively assessed in terms of mean daily traffic volume/area, the number of public transport stops/area, and the percentage of green and outdoor leisure areas, among other urban indicators. This was implemented using an open-source data mining tool, which was seen as a useful engine to identify potential strategies to improve air quality. The comparison of urban indicators in the selected cities evidenced two trends: (a) cities with the most heterogeneous distribution of public transport stops, as an indicator of poor accessibility, are also those with the lowest proportion of km dedicated to cycleways and footways, highlighting the need in these cities for more sustainable mobility management; and (b) the percentage of green and outdoor leisure areas may influence the share of journeys by bicycle, pointing out that promoting the perception of green routes is relevant to enhance the potential of active transport modes. Socioeconomic factors can be key determinants of the urban indicators and would need further consideration. For the health impact assessment (HIA), two baseline scenarios were evaluated and compared. One is based on mean annual traffic contributions to PM2.5 concentrations in each target city (ranging between 1.9 and 13 µg/m3), obtained from the literature, and the second is grounded on mean annual NO2 concentrations at all available traffic and urban background stations within each city (17.2–83.5 µg/m3), obtained from the European Environment Agency database. The intervention scenarios modeled were designed based on traffic mitigation strategies in the literature, and set to ranges of 6–50% in traffic-derived PM2.5 concentrations and of 4–12.5% in NO2 concentrations. These scenarios could result in only a 1.7% (0.6–4%) reduction in premature mortality due to exposure to traffic-derived PM2.5, and 1.0% (0.4–2%) due to exposure to NO2, as the mean for all the cities. This suggests that more ambitious pollution abatement strategies should be targeted. Full article
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Review

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15 pages, 1516 KiB  
Review
An Overview of the Automated and On-Line Systems to Assess the Oxidative Potential of Particulate Matter
by Alessandro Carlino, Maria Pia Romano, Maria Giulia Lionetto, Daniele Contini and Maria Rachele Guascito
Atmosphere 2023, 14(2), 256; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14020256 - 28 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1914
Abstract
Recent years have seen a significant increase in the scientific literature related to various methods for analyzing oxidative potential (OP) of atmospheric particulate matter (PM). The presence of several types of PM, differing chemical and physical properties, released by both anthropogenic and natural [...] Read more.
Recent years have seen a significant increase in the scientific literature related to various methods for analyzing oxidative potential (OP) of atmospheric particulate matter (PM). The presence of several types of PM, differing chemical and physical properties, released by both anthropogenic and natural sources, leads to numerous health issues in living organisms and represents an attractive target for air quality monitoring. Therefore, several studies have focused on developing rapid and self-operative tests, employing different target molecules to assess OP of atmospheric aerosols as well as unique approaches to overcome some of the most common laboratory-related issues in this kind of analysis. This work provides an overview of online and automated systems, as well as a broad picture of the state-of-art of the various devices and methods developed on this topic over the last two decades. Moreover, representative studies on this subject will be discussed, analyzing the advantages and drawbacks of the developed automated techniques. Full article
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18 pages, 999 KiB  
Review
Urban Aerobiome and Effects on Human Health: A Systematic Review and Missing Evidence
by Elena Franchitti, Chiara Caredda, Elisa Anedda and Deborah Traversi
Atmosphere 2022, 13(7), 1148; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13071148 - 20 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2070
Abstract
Urban air pollutants are a major public health concern and include biological matters which composes about 25% of the atmospheric aerosol particles. Airborne microorganisms were traditionally characterized by culture-based methods recognizing just 1.5–15.3% of the total bacterial diversity that was evaluable by genome [...] Read more.
Urban air pollutants are a major public health concern and include biological matters which composes about 25% of the atmospheric aerosol particles. Airborne microorganisms were traditionally characterized by culture-based methods recognizing just 1.5–15.3% of the total bacterial diversity that was evaluable by genome signature in the air environment (aerobiome). Despite the large number of exposed people, urban aerobiomes are still weakly described even if recently advanced literature has been published. This paper aims to systematically review the state of knowledge on the urban aerobiome and human health effects. A total of 24 papers that used next generation sequencing (NGS) techniques for characterization and comprised a seasonal analysis have been included. A core of Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, and Bacteroides and various factors that influenced the community structure were detected. Heterogenic methods and results were reported, for both sampling and aerobiome diversity analysis, highlighting the necessity of in-depth and homogenized assessment thus reducing the risk of bias. The aerobiome can include threats for human health, such as pathogens and resistome spreading; however, its diversity seems to be protective for human health and reduced by high levels of air pollution. Evidence of the urban aerobiome effects on human health need to be filled up quickly for urban public health purposes. Full article
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