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Open access

Short‐Term Effects of Extreme Meteorological Factors on Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease Infection During 2010–2017 in Jiangsu, China: A Distributed Lag Non‐Linear Analysis

  •  31 March 2024

Key Points

  • Investigated the relationship between extreme meteorological variables and the risk of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease infection

  • Quantified the effect of extreme meteorological variables using the distributed lag non-linear model

  • Revealed the effects of extreme meteorological variables on Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease infections across 13 cities in Jiangsu Province

Open access

Quantifying Prescribed‐Fire Smoke Exposure Using Low‐Cost Sensors and Satellites: Springtime Burning in Eastern Kansas

  •  28 March 2024

Key Points

  • The Flint Hills of Kansas are impacted by prescribed burning each spring; there were 2.1 million acres burned in 2022

  • Particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations substantially increased on days impacted by smoke from fires in eastern Kansas compared to days without smoke

  • PM2.5 from smoke reaches a maximum overnight in eastern Kansas; this time period is not captured by satellite observations

Open access

Spatial Heterogeneity of the Respiratory Health Impacts of Wildfire Smoke PM2.5 in California

  •  28 March 2024

Key Points

  • Statewide, exposure to wildfire PM2.5 is associated with increased odds of respiratory acute care utilization in California

  • The wildfire PM2.5-health association varies spatially across air basins, counties, and ZIP Code Tabulation Areas

  • Areas with higher proportions of Black and Pacific Islander populations and less affluence had worse wildfire PM2.5-related outcomes

Open access

Measuring Greenspace in Rural Areas for Studies of Birth Outcomes: A Comparison of Street View Data and Satellite Data

  •  28 March 2024

Key Points

  • We compared two methods for measuring greenspace in rural areas based on Google Street View data and remote sensing data, respectively

  • The comparison was conducted by calculating the correlation between the two and their associations with birth outcomes in NH and VT, USA

  • There is a considerable difference between the two types of greenspace measures, and neither significantly impacts birth outcomes

Open access

Issue Information

  •  27 March 2024
Open access

Exploring the Modifying Role of GDP and Greenness on the Short Effect of Air Pollutants on Respiratory Hospitalization in Beijing

  •  19 March 2024

Key Points

  • Six pollutants have adverse effects, with O3 exerting adverse effects only in the warm season

  • Greenness has a modifying effect on the detrimental impact of NO2, SO2, O3 (warm), and CO

  • No moderating effect of Gross Domestic Product was found

Open access

Data Linkages for Wildfire Exposures and Human Health Studies: A Scoping Review

  •  13 March 2024

Key Points

  • Wildfires are a growing health issue and enhancing geoscience and health data will advance response, recovery, and future preparedness

  • Linking health and climate exposure data longitudinally and across geographic regions poses a challenge for health researchers

  • Enhanced exposure data that capture all relevant exposure pathways and the complex composition of wildfire smoke are needed

Open access

Advancing Understanding on Greenspace and Mental Health in Young People

  •  7 March 2024

Key Points

  • Greenspace is associated with lower mental health prevalence among young people

  • Greenspace interventions need to consider community structures, specifically rurality

  • The highest prevalence of substance use disorders occurred in communities with low greenspace quantity and low greenspace accessibility

Open access

Perceived Challenges to Tribally Led Shellfish Toxin Testing in Southeast Alaska: Findings From Key Informant Interviews

  •  7 March 2024

Key Points

  • This study assesses barriers faced by tribally led programming to reduce shellfish toxin exposure risks in Southeast Alaska

  • Environmental managers interviewed emphasized the social origins of perceived barriers, particularly related to disinvestment

  • Environmental managers observed that climate change impacts interacted with social and cultural factors to complicate risk management

Open access

Municipal Compost Public Health, Waste Management, and Urban Agriculture: A Decadal Study of Fugitive Pb in City of Boston, Massachusetts, USA

  •  6 March 2024

Key Points

  • Municipal composting represents an opportunity to transform waste and create media that critically support Urban Agriculture (UA)

  • Resuspended legacy Pb from urban soils contaminates urban compost through commonly sourced feedstocks, resulting in elevated Pb levels

  • Pb in compost can reach levels of public health concern requiring geochemically informed, health protective benchmarks for compost Pb

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Open access

Future Fire Impacts on Smoke Concentrations, Visibility, and Health in the Contiguous United States

  • GeoHealth
  •  229-247
  •  6 July 2018

Key Points

  • We provide the first estimates of future smoke health and visibility impacts in the contiguous United States using a prognostic land-fire model
  • Average visibility will improve across the contiguous United States, but fire PM will reduce visibility on the worst days in western and southeastern U.S. regions
  • The number of deaths attributable to total PM2.5 will decrease, but the number attributable to fire-related PM2.5 will double by late 21st century

Open access

Expansion of Coccidioidomycosis Endemic Regions in the United States in Response to Climate Change

  • GeoHealth
  •  308-327
  •  30 August 2019

Key Points

  • We created a niche model to estimate climate limits on the spatial extent of Valley fever endemicity in the United States
  • For a high warming scenario, the area of climate-limited endemicity will more than double by 2100, expanding northward into dry western states
  • Our predictive model of Valley fever endemic regions may help mitigate disease impacts as the disease spreads into new regions

Open access

Impact of California Fires on Local and Regional Air Quality: The Role of a Low‐Cost Sensor Network and Satellite Observations

  • GeoHealth
  •  172-181
  •  23 May 2018

Key Points

  • Low-cost air quality monitors and satellite observations respond to smoke from fires in California
  • Low-cost air quality monitors demonstrate bias against federal equivalent monitors but can be very useful in places with no standard measurements
  • Both low-cost air quality monitors and satellite provide unique and useful information on air quality

Open access

Impact of Deadly Dust Storms (May 2018) on Air Quality, Meteorological, and Atmospheric Parameters Over the Northern Parts of India

  • GeoHealth
  •  67-80
  •  24 February 2019

Key Points

  • Intense uplift phases were observed associated with displacement of trace and greenhouse gasses
  • Increased aerosol loading was associated with changes in aerosol volume size distributions
  • Increased surface ozone was observed in areas under the direct influence of dust

Open access

Comparison of wildfire smoke estimation methods and associations with cardiopulmonary‐related hospital admissions

  • GeoHealth
  •  122-136
  •  17 May 2017

Key Points

  • Geographically weighted regression combines measures of wildfire smoke from many sources that can be used in epidemiologic studies
  • Wildfire smoke estimated using geographically weighted regression was associated with increased risk for respiratory outcomes
  • Geographically weighted regression is a useful approach that can reduce exposure misclassification in epidemiologic studies

Open access

Supply Considerations for Scaling Up Clean Cooking Fuels for Household Energy in Low‐ and Middle‐Income Countries

  • GeoHealth
  •  370-390
  •  1 November 2019

Key Points

  • Designing effective energy policies that support and accelerate transitions to clean cooking fuels is a top global priority
  • Countries depend on a portfolio of fuels for cooking and should plan an optimal mix of clean fuels, both in the medium and long-term
  • Risk and sustainability of cookfuel supply chains depend on multiple factors that ultimately influence long-term viability and scale

Open access

Differential Cardiopulmonary Health Impacts of Local and Long‐Range Transport of Wildfire Smoke

Key Points

  • To our knowledge, this is the first study in the United States that links acute wildfire smoke (WFS) exposure with death

  • Public communication and evacuation associated with direct fire danger may have protective effects of WFS from local fires

  • Long-range smoke transport may not result in increased mitigation and avoidance activities associated with local fires

Open access

Fossil Fuel Combustion Is Driving Indoor CO2 Toward Levels Harmful to Human Cognition

Key Points

  • Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are reaching levels never experienced by Homo sapiens
  • Recent experiments have linked high indoor carbon dioxide concentrations to reduced cognitive function
  • Our models predict that future carbon emissions will increase indoor concentrations to levels harmful to human cognition

Open access

Quantifying the Human Health Benefits of Using Satellite Information to Detect Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Blooms and Manage Recreational Advisories in U.S. Lakes

Key Points

  • Cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (cyanoHABs) are a human health risk that is typically mitigated by recreational advisories and warnings
  • We present a framework to quantify the socioeconomic benefits of using remote sensing technology to test for the presence of cyanoHABs
  • Satellite technology yielded between $55,000 and $1,057,000 in socioeconomic benefits associated with improved human health outcomes

Open access

A Review of the Scope of Artisanal and Small‐Scale Mining Worldwide, Poverty, and the Associated Health Impacts

Key Points

  • Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is primitive with health problems determined by occupational, environmental, and social settings
  • ASM involves 80 + countries and valuable resources, like gold, diamonds, precious stones, tantalum, tin, tungsten, and commodities
  • Grueling work, poverty, illegalities, and worksites located in remote and medically underserved areas contribute to poor health

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Open access

A Review of the Scope of Artisanal and Small‐Scale Mining Worldwide, Poverty, and the Associated Health Impacts

Key Points

  • Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is primitive with health problems determined by occupational, environmental, and social settings
  • ASM involves 80 + countries and valuable resources, like gold, diamonds, precious stones, tantalum, tin, tungsten, and commodities
  • Grueling work, poverty, illegalities, and worksites located in remote and medically underserved areas contribute to poor health

Plain Language Summary

Many of the world's most valuable commodities, for example, gold, diamonds, and strategic metals, and less valuable resources, for example, sand, clay, and coal, are the products of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM). The miners are commonly poor people with rudimentary tools, like shovels, buckets, and pans subsisting by working shallow ore deposits. Although an inefficient mining method, the large numbers of people can contribute substantially to a country's total production. Much of this mining occurs in distant, lawless areas like the Amazon River basin or the outback in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The work is grueling and dangerous because of violence and unregulated work sites. Miners suffer from the expected collection of occupational health risks, due to, for example, accidents, chemical exposures, dust inhalation, and lifting and lugging of heavy loads. Mining communities are at risk from incidental exposures to mercury, mosquito-borne diseases, poor sanitation, and more. Human and social problems also impact health. Our paper emphasizes poverty as a risk factor for disease, as miners are caught in poverty traps—unable to leave. Injuries and disease often must remain untreated because of costs and absent clinics.

Open access

Expansion of Coccidioidomycosis Endemic Regions in the United States in Response to Climate Change

  • GeoHealth
  •  308-327
  •  30 August 2019

Key Points

  • We created a niche model to estimate climate limits on the spatial extent of Valley fever endemicity in the United States
  • For a high warming scenario, the area of climate-limited endemicity will more than double by 2100, expanding northward into dry western states
  • Our predictive model of Valley fever endemic regions may help mitigate disease impacts as the disease spreads into new regions

Plain Language Summary

Valley fever is a fungal disease most common in the southwestern United States. Generally, the disease is limited to areas that are hot and dry. Climate change will cause the western United States to become hotter and may change the location, timing, and amount of rain. This is likely to change which counties are affected by Valley fever. We used climate observations to estimate which counties in the United States have a higher risk for Valley fever. Then, we used predictions of future climate to map which counties may become affected by Valley fever during the remainder of the 21st century. By 2100, our model predicts that the area affected by Valley fever will more than double and the number of people who become sick will increase by 50%. The area affected by Valley fever will expand north into drier states in the western US, including Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. Our estimate may help public health officials develop more effective plans so less people suffer from this disease.

Open access

Climate Change and Women's Health: Impacts and Opportunities in India

  • GeoHealth
  •  283-297
  •  24 September 2018

Key Points

  • Climate change impacts on health affect men and women differently due to underlying socioeconomic, cultural, and physiologic factors
  • Climate change threatens to widen existing gender-based health disparities, especially in India and other low- and middle-income countries
  • Integration of a gendered perspective into existing climate, development, and disaster-risk reduction policy frameworks can decrease negative health outcomes

Open access

Impact of the 2019/2020 Australian Megafires on Air Quality and Health

Key Points

  • The fires led to widespread exposure to “Poor” or worse Air Quality Index levels across eastern-Australia

  • The highest all-cause, all-age mortality from short-term exposure to bushfire particulate matter with a diameter less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) was seen in the states of New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria

  • All-cause, all-age mortality from short-term exposure to bushfire PM2.5 was highest in the cities of Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra

Plain Language Summary

The Australian 2019/2020 bushfires were unprecedented in their size and intensity, resulting in a catastrophic loss of habitat and human and animal life across eastern-Australia. We use an air pollution model (WRF-Chem) to quantify the impact of the bushfires on particulate matter with a diameter less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) concentrations. We run the model with and without emissions from the fires so their impact on PM2.5 can be isolated. We find that between September and February an additional ∼437,000 people were exposed to “Poor” or worse air quality index levels due to the fires across eastern-Australia. Short-term exposure to high PM2.5 concentrations has been linked to negative health impacts. Therefore, we estimate the health impact of population exposure to bushfire PM2.5 across eastern-Australia, regionally and at city level. Our estimate indicates that between October and February 171 deaths were brought forward due to exposure to PM2.5 from the fires. Regionally, most deaths were brought forward in New South Wales (109 deaths brought forward), Queensland (15), and Victoria (35). Within these regions, the most deaths were brought forward in Sydney (65), Melbourne (23), and Canberra-Queanbeyan (9) as large populations were exposed to high PM2.5 concentrations due to the bushfires.

Open access

Chronic Diseases Associated With Mortality in British Columbia, Canada During the 2021 Western North America Extreme Heat Event

Key Points

  • British Columbia experienced an unprecedented extreme heat event (EHE) in summer 2021 associated with a 95% increase in population mortality

  • Deaths during the EHE and previous years were compared with respect to chronic diseases present at time of death

  • Schizophrenia was most strongly associated with higher risk of death during the EHE

Plain Language Summary

Western North America experienced the most severe extreme heat event (EHE) ever recorded in the region during the summer of 2021. There were approximately 740 more deaths than usual in British Columbia, Canada during the EHE, which made it one of the deadliest weather events in Canadian history. This study compares people who died during the EHE with people who died at the same time of year in other years to identify differences between the two groups with respect to 26 chronic diseases. We found that people with schizophrenia were at much higher risk than others during the EHE. People with chronic kidney disease and ischemic heart disease were also at increased risk. This information will be used to help develop programs that support people at higher risk during future EHEs.

Open access

Quantifying the Health Benefits of Face Masks and Respirators to Mitigate Exposure to Severe Air Pollution

Key Points

  • We developed a framework to quantify potential health benefits of wearing a face mask or respirator during episodes of severe air pollution

  • N95 respirators offer protection against wildfire PM2.5, reducing exposure by more than a factor of 14 and hospitalizations by 22%–39%

  • Natural-fiber (e.g., cotton) masks offer only minor protection against wildfire PM2.5, reducing hospitalizations by only 2%–11%

Plain Language Summary

The use of face coverings (e.g., cloth masks, surgical masks, and N95 respirators) has increased dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic; however, recommendations for their use outside of the pandemic, for example, during wildfire episodes, remains limited. In this study, we investigate the potential health benefits of wearing a face covering to reduce the amount of inhaled particulate air pollution. Our model accounts for different types of face coverings, how well they fit, the characteristics of air pollution, and the risk of air pollution causing respiratory disease. We find that N95 respirators, a special type of face covering that meets regulatory standards, offer a promising means to reduce the inhalation of particulate air pollution and thereby reduce the risk of negative health effects; however, the public health benefits are strongly dependent on how often the respirator is worn and by how many people. In a case study in Washington state in 2012, we estimate that the use of N95 respirators could reduce respiratory hospitalizations caused by wildfire smoke by 22%–39%. Conversely, cloth masks offer only limited protection against air pollution due to poor filtration efficiency and poor fit.

Open access

Oil Spills and Human Health: Contributions of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative

  • GeoHealth
  •  391-406
  •  26 October 2019

Key Points

  • Nearly 3% of >1,200 Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative publications were directly related to human health, a higher proportion than previous oil spill research
  • Dispersants contained possible obesogens and decreased aerosolized volatile organic compound exposure but increased particulate matter concentrations
  • Those who rely on natural resources are more vulnerable to oil spills and cleanup methods that may increase exposure to harmful chemicals, algae, and bacteria

Open access

Mortality Attributable to Ambient Air Pollution: A Review of Global Estimates

Key Points

  • Large differences are present in the published estimates of excess mortality attributable to outdoor air pollution at the global scale

  • The differences are mostly due to the exposure response functions as well as the number of health outcomes included in the calculations

  • Although the accuracy of the global estimates has improved, their precision has not increased in the last decades

Plain Language Summary

In this work we review the estimates of excess mortality attributable to outdoor air pollution at the global scale, by comparing studies available in the literature. We find large differences between the estimates, mainly caused by mathematical function used to describe the pollution-health link, as well as the number of health outcomes included in the calculations. We showed that, despite the considerable advancements in our understanding of health impacts of air pollution, the precision of the estimates has not increased in the last decades. We offer recommendations for future measurements and research directions, which will help to improve our understanding and quantification of air pollution-health relationships.

Open access

Estimated Mortality and Morbidity Attributable to Smoke Plumes in the United States: Not Just a Western US Problem

Key Points

  • While the majority of large fires occur in the United States (US) West, a majority of smoke-attributable US mortality and morbidity occur east of ∼100 degW

  • A higher percent of mortality and morbidity is attributable to smoke in high fire-impacted northwestern states, relative to other US states

  • Disability-adjusted life years attributable to fine particles in smoke are much higher than that from gas-phase hazardous air pollutants

Plain Language Summary

The pollutants from landscape (wild, prescribed, and agricultural) fires are expected to have an increasing impact on air quality and health in the United States (US) across the current century. The implications of landscape-fire smoke on the regional and seasonal distribution of health events and the relative health importance of specific pollutants within smoke are not well understood. In the present study, we assess the seasonal and regional distribution of the health impacts from US smoke exposure from 2006 to 2018. We also estimate the long-term health impacts for both fine particles (PM2.5) and gas-phase hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) in smoke. Although the majority of large landscape fires occur in the western US, we find the majority of deaths (74%) and asthma emergency department visits and hospital admissions (on average 75% across 2006–2018) attributable to smoke occur outside the West. Across the US, smoke-attributable asthma emergency department visits predominantly occur in spring and summer. The long-term health impacts associated with smoke PM2.5 are much higher than the estimated long-term health impacts of gas-phase smoke HAPs. Our results indicate awareness and mitigation of landscape-fire smoke exposure is important across the US, not just in regions in proximity to large wildfires.

Open access

Climate Change and Women's Health: A Scoping Review

Key Points

  • Women's health is at higher risks due to the vulnerability to climate change, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)

  • The societal, cultural, and economic factors contribute to the vulnerability. It is beneficial to have a gender aspect in responses

  • Mixed methods incorporating quantitative and qualitative assessments are needed

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