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Indian Researcher part of the team that developed new hyper-local Air Pollution Map

The new mobile approach maps air pollution every 100 feet, or at about four to five locations along a single city block

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Researchers develop new air pollution map. Wikimedia
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  • This new technique maps urban air pollution at 100,000 times greater spatial resolution than is possible with traditional government air quality monitors
  • The new technique could address major air quality monitoring gaps worldwide
  • The research was conducted in partnership with the US-based non-profit Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Google and Aclima

New York, June 9, 2017: Using specially equipped Google Street View cars to measure air quality on a block-by-block basis, researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have developed a detailed and extensive local map of air pollution for an urban area.

Most large urban areas tend to have only one air quality monitor for every 100 to 200 square miles. In comparison, the new mobile approach maps air pollution every 100 feet, or at about four to five locations along a single city block.

“Using our approach and analysis techniques, we can now visualise air pollution with incredible detail. This kind of information could transform our understanding of the sources and impacts of air pollution,” Apte added.

The research was conducted in partnership with the US-based non-profit Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Google and Aclima, a California-based provider of environmental sensors.

By integrating Aclima’s sensor system into Google Street View cars, the team mapped air pollution in 78 square miles of Oakland, California, over an entire year, collecting one of the largest data sets of air pollution ever measured of single city streets.

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This new technique maps urban air pollution at 100,000 times greater spatial resolution than is possible with traditional government air quality monitors, according to a study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

The team believes that their hyper-local mobile measurement system could be implemented in many cities throughout the world, providing detailed air quality information for citizens, families, local governments and scientists.

The new technique could address major air quality monitoring gaps worldwide and has the potential to transform the way air pollution is monitored in urban areas as well as shed light on the health effects on city dwellers.

“You could use this information when you’re picking a school for your kids. Is there a school with a playground that might have better air quality because your kid has asthma,” Apte said.

“This hyper-local information about consistent air quality can be really useful for people, especially those who are vulnerable because of age or health condition,” Apte noted.(IANS)

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Levels of Air Pollution Directly Linked to Oral Cancer: Study

A significant association was also observed for ozone levels below 28.69-30.97 parts per billion

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Air Pollution
Air pollution linked to high risk of oral cancer: Study. Pixabay

Higher levels of air pollution may be linked to a heightened risk of developing oral cancer, which includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, a study has found.

While mouth cancers have been associated with smoking, drinking, human papilloma virus, and the chewing of betel quid (“paan”), the study added to this list increased levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and to lesser extent, ozone.

“This study, with a large sample size, is the first to associate oral cancer with PM2.5… These findings add to the growing evidence on the adverse effects of PM2.5 on human health,” said researchers including Shou-Jen Lan, Professor at the Asia University, in Taiwan.

Exposure to heavy metals and emissions from petrochemical plants are also thought to be implicated in the development of the disease while PM2.5 is known to be harmful to respiratory and cardiovascular health.

Previously, high air pollution has been linked to a host of health problems, from an increased risk of dementia to asthma and even changes in the structure of the heart, with recent research suggesting there is no “safe level” of air pollution.

Air Pollution
Air Pollution. pixabay

For the new study, published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine, the team discovered the association by looking at air pollution data from 66 air quality monitoring stations in Taiwan, collected in 2009.

They combined this with data from the health records of more than 4,80,000 men aged 40 and over from 2012-13. In total, there were 11,617 cases of mouth cancer among the participants.

They found that men exposed to the highest levels of PM2.5s had an increased risk of mouth cancer.

Compared with men exposed to average annual PM2.5 levels of 26.74 micrograms (µg) per cubic metre (m3) of air, those exposed to concentrations of 40.37 µg/m3 or higher had 43 per cent greater odds of developing the disease.

Air Pollution.
Air pollution may also lead to changes in heart structure. Pixabay

A significant association was also observed for ozone levels below 28.69-30.97 parts per billion.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution is responsible for an estimated 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide per year.

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Around 6,57,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed annually across the globe, with 3,30,000 of those patients dying, it said. (IANS)