Ambient air pollution exposure estimation for the Global Burden of Disease 2013

Published November 23, 2015, in Environmental Science & Technology (opens in a new window)


Exposure to ambient air pollution is a major risk factor for global disease. Assessment of the impacts of air pollution on population health and the evaluation of trends relative to other major risk factors requires regularly updated, accurate, spatially resolved exposure estimates. We combined satellite-based estimates, chemical transport model simulations and ground measurements from 79 different countries to produce new global estimates of annual average fine particle (PM2.5) and ozone concentrations at 0.1° × 0.1° spatial resolution for five-year intervals from 1990–2010 and the year 2013. These estimates were then applied to assess population-weighted mean concentrations for 1990–2013 for each of 188 countries. In 2013, 87% of the world’s population lived in areas exceeding the World Health Organization (WHO) Air Quality Guideline of 10 μg/m3 PM2.5 (annual average). Between 1990 and 2013, decreases in population-weighted mean concentrations of PM2.5 were evident in most high-income countries, in contrast to increases estimated in South Asia, throughout much of Southeast Asia, and in China. Population-weighted mean concentrations of ozone increased in most countries from 1990–2013, with modest decreases in North America, parts of Europe, and several countries in Southeast Asia.

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Brauer M, Freedman G, Frostad J, et al Ambient air pollution exposure estimation for the Global Burden of Disease 2013. Environmental Science & Technology. 2015 Nov 23. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.5b03709.