Comparison of spatiotemporal prediction models of daily exposure of individuals to ambient nitrogen dioxide and ozone in Montreal, Canada | UNB

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Comparison of spatiotemporal prediction models of daily exposure of individuals to ambient nitrogen dioxide and ozone in Montreal, Canada

Author: Stephane Buteau, Marianne Hatzopoulou, Dan L. Crouse, Audrey Smargiassi, Richard T. Burnett, Travis Logan, Laure Deville Cavellin, Mark S. Goldberg
Year: 2017
Category: Health Publications

Read the journal article in Science Direct

Background

In previous studies investigating the short-term health effects of ambient air pollution the exposure metric that is often used is the daily average across monitors, thus assuming that all individuals have the same daily exposure. Studies that incorporate space-time exposures of individuals are essential to further our understanding of the short-term health effects of ambient air pollution.

Objectives

As part of a longitudinal cohort study of the acute effects of air pollution that incorporated subject-specific information and medical histories of subjects throughout the follow-up, the purpose of this study was to develop and compare different prediction models using data from fixed-site monitors and other monitoring campaigns to estimate daily, spatially-resolved concentrations of ozone (O3) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) of participants’ residences in Montreal, 1991–2002.

Results

We found some substantial differences in agreement across pairs of methods in daily mean predicted concentrations of O3 and NO2. On a given day and postal code area the difference in the concentration assigned could be as high as 131 ppb for O3 and 108 ppb for NO2. For both pollutants, better agreement was found between predictions from the nearest monitor and the inverse-distance weighting interpolation methods, with ICCs of 0.89 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.89, 0.89) for O3 and 0.81 (95%CI: 0.80, 0.81) for NO2, respectively. For this pair of methods the maximum difference on a given day and postal code area was 36 ppb for O3 and 74 ppb for NO2. The back-extrapolation method showed a higher degree of disagreement with the nearest monitor approach, inverse-distance weighting interpolation, and the Bayesian maximum entropy model, which were strongly constrained by the sparse monitoring network. The maps showed that the patterns of agreement differed across the postal code areas and the variability depended on the pair of methods compared and the pollutants. For O3, but not NO2, postal areas showing greater disagreement were mostly located near the city centre and along highways, especially in maps involving the back-extrapolation method.

Conclusions

In view of the substantial differences in daily concentrations of O3 and NO2 predicted by the different methods, we suggest that analyses of the health effects from air pollution should make use of multiple exposure assessment methods. Although we cannot make any recommendations as to which is the most valid method, models that make use of higher spatially resolved data, such as from dense exposure surveys or from high spatial resolution satellite data, likely provide the most valid estimates.