Regional and seasonal variations in household and personal exposures to air pollution in one urban and two rural Chinese communities: A pilot study to collect time-resolved data using static and wearable devices

Ka Hung Chan, Xi Xia, Kin-fai Ho, Yu Guo, Om Kurmi, Huaidong Du, Derrick A. Bennett, Zheng Bian, Haidong Kan, John McDonnell, Dan Schmidt, Rene Kerosi, Liming Li, Kin Bong Hubert Lam, Zhengming Chen

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Abstract

Background Previous studies of the health impact of ambient and household air pollution (AAP/HAP) have chiefly relied on self-reported and/or address-based exposure modelling data. We assessed the feasibility of collecting and integrating detailed personal exposure data in different settings and seasons. Methods/design We recruited 477 participants (mean age 58 years, 72% women) from three (two rural [Gansu/Henan] and one urban [Suzhou]) study areas in the China Kadoorie Biobank, based on their previously reported fuel use patterns. A time-resolved monitor (PATS+CO) was used to measure continuously for 120-hour the concentration of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) at personal and household (kitchen and living room) levels in warm (May-September 2017) and cool (November 2017–January 2018) seasons, along with questionnaires on participants’ characteristics (e.g. socio-demographic, and fuel use) and time-activity (48-hour). Parallel local ambient monitoring of particulate matter (PM1, PM2.5 and PM10) and gaseous pollutants (CO, ozone, nitrogen oxides) was conducted using regularly-calibrated devices. The air pollution exposure data were compared by study sites and seasons. Findings Overall 76% reported cooking at least weekly (regular-cooks), and 48% (urban 1%, rural 65%) used solid fuels (wood/coal) for cooking. Winter heating was more common in rural sites than in urban site (74–91% vs 17% daily), and mainly involved solid fuels. Mixed use of clean and solid fuels was common for cooking in rural areas (38%) but not for heating (0%). Overall, the measured mean PM2.5 levels were 2–3 fold higher in the cool than warm season, and in rural (e.g. kitchen: Gansuwarm_season = 142.3 µg/m3; Gansucool_season = 508.1 µg/m3; Henanwarm_season = 77.5 µg/m3; Henancool_season = 222.3 µg/m3) than urban sites (Suzhouwarm_season = 41.6 µg/m3; Suzhoucool_season = 81.6 µg/m3). The levels recorded tended to be the highest in kitchens, followed by personal, living room and outdoor. Time-resolved data show prominent peaks consistently recorded in the kitchen at typical cooking times, and sustained elevated PM2.5 levels (> 100 µg/m3) were observed in rural areas where use of solid fuels for heating was common. Discussion Personal air pollution exposure can be readily assessed using a low-cost time-resolved monitor in different settings, which, in combination with other personal and health outcome data, will enable reliable assessment of the long-term health effects of HAP/AAP exposures in general populations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106217
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironment International
Volume146
Early online date28 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Keywords

  • Exposure assessment
  • Household air pollution
  • Ambient air pollution
  • Solid fuels
  • Time-activity

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