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Title: Forecasting human exposure to atmospheric pollutants in Portugal – A modelling approach
Author: Borrego, C.
Sá, E.
Monteiro, A.
Ferreira, J.
Miranda, A. I.
Keywords: Air quality forecast modelling
Human health
Gaseous and particulate air pollutants
Human exposure modelling
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Elsevier
Abstract: Air pollution has become one main environmental concern because of its known impact on human health. Aiming to inform the population about the air they are breathing, several air quality modelling systems have been developed and tested allowing the assessment and forecast of air pollution ambient levels in many countries. However, every day, an individual is exposed to different concentrations of atmospheric pollutants as he/she moves from and to different outdoor and indoor places (the so-called microenvironments). Therefore, a more efficient way to prevent the population from the health risks caused by air pollution should be based on exposure rather than air concentrations estimations. The objective of the present study is to develop a methodology to forecast the human exposure of the Portuguese population based on the air quality forecasting system available and validated for Portugal since 2005. Besides that, a long-term evaluation of human exposure estimates aims to be obtained using one-year of this forecasting system application. Additionally, a hypothetical 50% emission reduction scenario has been designed and studied as a contribution to study emission reduction strategies impact on human exposure. To estimate the population exposure the forecasting results of the air quality modelling system MM5-CHIMERE have been combined with the population spatial distribution over Portugal and their time-activity patterns, i.e. the fraction of the day time spent in specific indoor and outdoor places. The population characterization concerning age, work, type of occupation and related time spent was obtained from national census and available enquiries performed by the National Institute of Statistics. A daily exposure estimation module has been developed gathering all these data and considering empirical indoor/outdoor relations from literature to calculate the indoor concentrations in each one of the microenvironments considered, namely home, office/school, and other indoors (leisure activities like shopping areas, gym, theatre/cinema and restaurants). The results show how this developed modelling system can be useful to anticipate air pollution episodes and to estimate their effects on human health on a long-term basis. The two metropolitan areas of Porto and Lisbon are identified as the most critical ones in terms of air pollution effects on human health over Portugal in a long-term as well as in a short-term perspective. The coexistence of high concentration values and high population density is the key factor for these stressed areas. Regarding the 50% emission reduction scenario, the model results are significantly different for both pollutants: there is a small overall reduction in the individual exposure values of PM10 (<10 μg m−3 h), but for O3, in contrast, there is an extended area where exposure values increase with emission reduction. This detailed knowledge is a prerequisite for the development of effective policies to reduce the foreseen adverse impact of air pollution on human health and to act on time.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2009.07.049
ISSN: 1352-2310
Appears in Collections:DAO - Artigos

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