London study finds Low Emission Zone has contributed to modest NOx reduction, with little effect on lung health of children

The introduction of the low emission zone (LEZ) in London, UK, has only contributed to modest reductions in exposure to NOx from diesel vehicles, and these improvements appear to have little effect on the lung health of children, according to an open-access observational study published in the journal The Lancet... Read more →


Lancet GBD 2017 finds halt to improvements in global health

The Lancet’s Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD), first published more than 10 years ago, is the most comprehensive worldwide observational epidemiological study to date. It describes mortality and morbidity from major diseases, injuries and risk factors to health at global, national and regional levels. Since its inception, every new... Read more →


New research by George Mason University found that exposure to certain air pollutants is linked to increased emergency department (ED) visits for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Mason Assistant Professor of Global and Community Health Dr. Jenna Krall led the research with colleagues from Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and... Read more →


USC study suggests early life exposure to near-road air pollution contributes to increased obesity risk in children

A study lead by a team from the University of Southern California has found that higher exposure to early life near-road air pollution (NRAP) increased the rate of change of childhood body mass index (BMI) and resulted in a higher attained BMI at age 10 years that were independent of... Read more →


EPA requires trucking companies to reduce air pollution near Los Angeles schools as part of emissions violation settlement

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced settlements with two interstate trucking companies which will pay $225,000 in penalties to resolve violations of California’s Truck and Bus Regulation. The companies failed to install particulate filters on some of their heavy-duty diesel trucks and failed to verify that trucks they hired... Read more →


Through its motion sickness research, Jaguar Land Rover has created an algorithm that generates a wellness score for each passenger. This can be used to personalize a vehicle’s driving and cabin settings automatically to reduce the effects of feeling car sick by up to 60%. Jaguar Land Rover says that... Read more →


International study finds air pollution leads to millions of hospital visits for asthma attacks worldwide

Air pollution—specifically PM2.5, ozone and NO2—could be to blame for up to 33 million emergency asthma attack visits to hospital a year, according to a new open-access study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. The researchers aimed to estimate the number of asthma emergency room visits and new onset... Read more →


Swiss study finds that studies on air pollution that ignore impact of noise overestimate effects of pollution on heart attacks

Air pollution and transportation noise are both associated with an increased risk of heart attacks. However, studies on air pollution which do not take into account traffic noise tend to overestimate the long-term effect of air pollution on heart attacks, according to a study conducted by the Swiss Tropical and... Read more →


A new study led by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has found that deaths related to air pollution in the US were nearly halved between 1990 and 2010. The open-access study is published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. The team’s analyses showed that... Read more →


A research team in China conducted a longitudinal panel study among 43 non-smoking college students in Shanghai to explore the effects of personal ozone exposure on blood pressure (BP), vascular endothelial function, and the potential molecular mechanisms. Endothelial cells line the inside of the heart and blood vessels and release... Read more →


Duke/York study finds long-term exposure to ozone has significant impacts on human health, but lower than prior modeling results

A team from Duke University in the US and University of York in the UK have utilized a novel method to estimate long-term ozone exposure and previously reported epidemiological results to quantify the health burden from long-term ozone exposure in three major regions of the world. The team’s observationally-derived data... Read more →


Study suggests air pollution may be linked to heightened mouth cancer risk; PM2.5 and ozone

High levels of air pollutants, especially fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and to a lesser extent, ozone, may be linked to a heightened risk of developing mouth cancer, suggests a study by a team of Taiwanese researchers. Their open-access paper is published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine. The number of... Read more →


New study finds gasoline stations vent up to 10x more benzene fumes than previously thought

A study led by environmental health scientists at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health examined the release of vapors from gasoline station vent pipes, and found benzene emissions were 10 times higher than estimates used in setback regulations that determine how close schools, playgrounds, and parks can be to... Read more →


Scientists at KU Leuven, University of Lubumbashi reveal the health risks of cobalt mining in DR Congo

Demand for cobalt has been on the increase due to its many applications. The metal is a crucial component of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for smartphones and electric cars. Around 60% of the world’s cobalt supply comes from the mineral-rich Katanga Copper belt, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Researchers... Read more →


MIT study finds real-world NOx from diesels cars in Europe greatly exceeds laboratory levels; transboundary emissions cause 70% of health impacts

A new study by MIT researchers, published this month in Atmospheric Environment, finds that in Europe, 10 major auto manufacturers produced diesel cars, sold between 2000 and 2015, that generate up to 16 times more NOx emissions on the road than in regulatory tests—a level that exceeds European limits but... Read more →


USC study finds particulate matter in air pollution affects thyroid development in fetuses

In a cohort study of a subset of 2050 newborns from the Children’s Health Study in southern California, researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) found that an increase of 2 standard deviations in prenatal exposure to particulate matter in air pollution was associated with higher newborn total thyroxine... Read more →


Two-year study in Canada finds large trucks disproportionately contribute to higher levels of black carbon pollution

A two-year study led by researchers at the University of Toronto has found large trucks to be the greatest contributors to black carbon emissions close to major roadways. The study is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology. The comprehensive study led by U of T Professor Greg... Read more →


Study finds long-term exposure to air pollution negatively impacts cognitive performance and may become more pronounced with age

Researchers from China and the US have found that long-term exposure to air pollution impedes cognitive performance in verbal and math tests. In a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), they report that the effect of air pollution on verbal tests becomes more pronounced as... Read more →


PM2.5 pollution now associated with chronic kidney disease

Adding to the list of health issues associated with PM2.5 pollution, new open-access research published in PLOS ONE suggests that PM2.5 is connected with chronic kidney disease (CKD), which occurs when a person’s kidneys become damaged or cannot filter blood properly. Similar to smoking, air pollution contains harmful toxins that... Read more →


PM2.5 pollution shortens human lives by more than a year, according to a new open-access study from a team of environmental engineers and public health researchers published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters. Better air quality could lead to a significant extension of lifespans around the world.... Read more →


Study provides more insight into air pollution mechanisms that cause cardiovascular diseases

Air pollution, and fine dust in particular, is calculated to contribute to more than four million deaths each year. Almost 60% of deaths occur as a result of cardiovascular diseases. Scientists around Professor Thomas Münzel, Director of Cardiology I at the Department of Cardiology at the Medical Center Mainz of... Read more →


Babies in strollers can be exposed to up to ~60% higher average concentrations of pollution than their parents, causing potential damage to their frontal lobe and impacting on their cognitive abilities and brain development, according to a study by researchers at the University of Surrey (UK). In the study published... Read more →


Study concludes cycling is the urban transport mode associated with the greatest health benefits

A new study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), a center supported by the la Caixa Banking Foundation, has concluded that cycling is the mode of transport associated with the greatest health benefits: better self-perceived general health, better mental health and fewer feelings of loneliness. The study... Read more →


During the first three years of California’s 5-year-old cap-and-trade program, the bulk of the greenhouse gas reductions occurred out of state—i.e., state residents did not see the benefits of improved air quality from presumed reductions in harmful co-pollutants, such as particulate matter—according to a new study led by UC Berkeley... Read more →


Study links PM2.5 pollution to increased risk of diabetes; even low levels pose risk

A study by a team from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Veterans Affairs (VA) St. Louis Health Care System links PM2.5 pollution—even at levels deemed safe—to an increased risk of diabetes globally. The open-access findings, published in the journal The Lancet Planetary Health, raise the... Read more →


Mayor of London launches international study on effect of air pollution on children’s health: CHILL

More 3,000 primary school children in polluted areas of London and Luton will have their lung health monitored over a four-year period in a new international study launched by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. The CHILL study (Children’s Health in London & Luton) will test whether policies to improve... Read more →


Study suggests more active commute could cut risk of developing and dying from heart disease

People who are more active when commuting to work by walking or cycling could be cutting their relative risk of developing ischaemic heart disease or stroke by 11% and their relative risk of dying from these diseases by 30%, suggests an open-access study published in the BMJ journal Heart. Physical... Read more →


Study associates ozone exposure at birth to increased risk of developing asthma

A long-term study of the health of Canadian children has found that exposure to ozone (O3) at birth was associated with an 82% increased risk of developing asthma by age three. The study, which was a 10-year follow-up to the 2006 Toronto Child Health Evaluation Questionnaire (T-CHEQ), was presented at... Read more →


Study associates in-utero exposure to PM2.5 pollution with higher blood pressure in childhood

Children who were exposed to higher levels of PM2.5 air pollution during the third trimester of their mother’s pregnancy had a higher risk of elevated blood pressure in childhood, according to new research by a team led by researchers from Johns Hopkins University in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension.... Read more →


Cedars-Sinai study finds prolonged exposure to coarse PM in LA Basin air led to genetic changes in rat brains

Prolonged exposure to coarse particulate matter (PM2.5–10) in air pollution in the Los Angeles Basin triggered inflammation and the appearance of cancer-related genes in the brains of rats, a Cedars-Sinai study has found. Previous research has documented the association between air pollution and a variety of diseases, including cancer. This... Read more →


Study links traffic-related pollution to risk of asthma in children

New research led by scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health suggests that long-term exposure to traffic-related pollution significantly increases the risk of pediatric asthma, especially in early childhood. Their findings were published today in a Letter to the Editor... Read more →


WHO: 9 out of 10 people worldwide breathe polluted air; 7M deaths per year

New data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. Updated estimations reveal a death toll of 7 million people every year caused by ambient (outdoor) and household air pollution. Air pollution threatens us all, but the poorest... Read more →


NUS-led study: beltway to divert diesel trucks in São Paulo improved air quality and public health

A study by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the University of São Paulo revealed that a beltway constructed to divert heavy-duty diesel vehicles traffic in the Brazilian city of São Paulo improved air quality and public health in the city. The study was published in the... Read more →


Seven billion people, more than 95% of the world’s population, lived in areas exceeding the WHO Guideline for healthy air in 2016, according to a new global study. Fifty-eight percent lived in areas with PM2.5 concentrations above above the WHO Interim Target 1 (IT-1, 35 μg/m3); 69% lived in areas... Read more →


Large-scale study associates even brief exposure to PM2.5 with childhood lung infections

Even the briefest increase in airborne PM2.5 is associated with the development of acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) in young children, according to a new, large-scale study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, an American Thoracic Society journal. Increases in PM2.5 levels also led to... Read more →


New report released by UK House of Commons calls for advancing date for end of sale of conventional cars to before 2040

The UK House of Commons has released a new report on air pollution that calls for urgent action by national leadership to bring about a step change in how the problem of air quality is tackled. The joint inquiry resulting in the report “Improving Air Quality” was launched in 2017... Read more →


Air pollution exposure during fetal life linked to brain alterations and cognitive impairment in children

A new study performed in the Netherlands has linked exposure to residential air pollution during fetal life with brain abnormalities that may contribute to impaired cognitive function in school-age children. The study, published in Biological Psychiatry, reports that the air pollution levels related to brain alterations were below those considered... Read more →


German Environment Agency study finds NO2 concentrations have serious impact on health

Outdoor air concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in Germany have a serious impact on health, according to a new study published by the German Environment Agency (Umwelt Bundesamt, UBA). (The study was carried out on behalf of UBA by the Helmholtz Zentrum München and IVU Umwelt.) Statistics for 2014 indicate... Read more →


Researchers from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), with colleagues at other institutions in Canada and the UK, have found strong evidence that environmental exposures, including air pollution, affect gene expressions associated with respiratory diseases much more than genetic ancestry. The study, published as an open-access paper in Nature... Read more →


Study finds global emissions of ethane and propane underestimated by more than 50%

Global levels of the hydrocarbons ethane and propane in the atmosphere have been underestimated by more than 50%, according to a new study by a team of scientists from Europe and the US. When ethane and propane—the most abundant non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC) in the atmosphere—mix with nitrogen oxides from vehicles... Read more →


A new study by researchers at the Bourns College of Engineering, University of California, Riverside (UCR) and colleagues at the Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association (MECA) has found that catalyzed gasoline particulate filters (GPF) are effective not only at reducing particulate mass, black carbon, and total and solid particle number... Read more →


Consumer products such as shampoo, cleaning products and paint now contribute as much to emitted volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in cities as tailpipe emissions from vehicles, according to a new study led by NOAA. The results, published in an open-access paper in the journal Science, suggest that the focus of... Read more →


Study finds rapid increases in nitrogen oxides may be as harmful to the heart as sustained levels

Rapid increases in pollution may be as harmful to the heart as sustained high levels, according to new research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. The authors urgently call for confirmatory studies as even residents of clean air cities could be at risk. There is longstanding evidence that... Read more →


Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MoEP) and Haifa Municipality have begun operating a low-emission zone (LEZ). As of 2 February 2018, polluting heavy diesel vehicles were no longer allowed in downtown Haifa. These buses and trucks must install a particulate filter in order to enter the restricted area. The creation... Read more →


IMO sub-committee moving forward on prohibiting carriage of high-sulfur fuel oil

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) has agreed to move forward with a prohibition on the carriage of high-sulfur fuel oil for use on board ships, when that fuel oil is not compliant with a new low-sulfur limit which comes into force from 2020.... Read more →


Marine shipping fuels will get cleaner in 2020 when a regulation by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) requires a decrease in the allowable amount of sulfur in fuel oil from 3.5% to 0.5%—i.e., from 35,000 parts per million (ppm) to 5,000 ppm. This marks the most significant improvement in global... Read more →


Ozone levels across much of North America and Europe dropped significantly between 2000 and 2014. Even so, during 2010-2014, people in parts of California, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, the Midwest and the Middle Atlantic still experienced more than 15 days a year in which ozone levels exceeded the US health-based air... Read more →


UMD IBBR awarded DOE grant to investigate how to protect biofuel crop poplar trees from disease

The University of Maryland (UMD) Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research (IBBR) has been awarded a $1.1million US Department of Energy (DOE) grant to elucidate the mechanism of rust pathogenesis in poplar in an effort to engineer durable resistance for this important, second-generation biofuel crop. The aim of the three-year... Read more →


Study: air pollution may shorten telomeres in newborns; a sign of increased health risks

A study conducted before and after the 2004 closure of a coal-burning power plant in Tongliang, China, found that children born before the closure had shorter telomeres than those conceived and born after the plant stopped polluting the air. Results appear in the journal Environment International. Telomeres are specialized sections... Read more →


The 2018 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) finds that air quality is the leading environmental threat to public health. The EPI uses three indicators to measure air quality: household solid fuel use; PM2.5 average exposure, and PM2.5 exceedance of WHO thresholds. Recent research cited by the EPI suggests that around five... Read more →