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Burden of Disease from Outdoor Air Pollution

Chapter
Part of the Environmental Science and Technology Library book series (ENST, volume 24)

Abstract

Anthropogenic outdoor air pollution caused a substantial number of premature deaths in the United Arab Emirates in 2008, and this mortality number is estimated to be the greatest among the eight priority environmental risk areas in this book. In this chapter we quantify the burden of disease, including premature deaths and health-care facility visits, associated with outdoor air pollution, specifically ambient particulate matter (PM) and ozone from anthropogenic sources, and we discuss the uncertainties associated with the estimates. The negative impacts of PM and ozone on public health have been well documented, particularly the mortality effect of PM. For morbidity, scientific studies have linked exposure to PM and ozone to a variety of health problems, particularly respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Two different approaches were used to estimate outdoor PM and ozone concentrations across the UAE: the measurement-based approach and the air-­quality-model-based approach. The measurement-based approach relies on data from 10 fixed monitoring stations in Abu Dhabi emirate. The model-based approach uses Community Multiscale Air Quality modeling software to predict air quality based on estimates of air pollutant emissions and meteorological conditions. Using the measurement-based approach, this research estimates that in 2008 the total number of premature deaths in the UAE caused by exposure to ambient particulate matter was approximately 650. These account for about 7% of the total deaths occurring in the UAE in 2008. About 77 deaths were attributable to ground-level ozone in 2008. With respect to excess illness, in 2008 PM10 exposure caused a mean estimate of 15,000 health-care facility visits for respiratory and cardiac illnesses, accounting for about 3% of total medical visits. Ground-level ozone caused a mean estimate of 9,800 respiratory health-care facility visits in 2008, accounting for about 6% of total respiratory health-care facility visits in that year. Thus, in total, PM appears to cause a larger disease burden in the UAE than ozone. Using the CMAQ model-based approach, the estimated death numbers attributable to PM were smaller than the measurement-based estimates, whereas the estimated death numbers attributable to ozone are greater than those using the measurement-based approach. Also, the estimated health-care facility visits attributable to PM are smaller than the measurement-­based estimates.

Keywords

Outdoor air pollution Ambient particulate matter Ground-level ozone Premature deaths and health-care facility visits Respiratory and cardiovascular diseases Attributable fraction Relative risk Concentration-response coefficients Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) modeling software Environmental burden of disease United Arab Emirates 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Gillings School of Global Public HealthUniversity of North Carolina–Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Environment Agency–Abu DhabiAbu DhabiUnited Arab Emirates
  3. 3.Health Authority–Abu DhabiAbu DhabiUnited Arab Emirates

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