Publications by authors named "Mikhail Sofiev"

20 Publications

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Modelling grass pollen levels in Belgium.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Jan 26;753:141903. Epub 2020 Aug 26.

Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium, Ukkel, Brussels, Belgium. Electronic address:

Biogenic aerosols such as airborne grass pollen affect the public health badly by putting additional distress on people already suffering from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. In Belgium, daily airborne pollen concentrations are monitored offline at a few sites only, hampering the timely coverage of the country and short-term forecasts. Here we apply the Chemistry Transport Model SILAM to the Belgian territory to model the spatio-temporal airborne grass pollen levels near the surface based on bottom-up inventories of grass pollen emissions updated with the Copernicus land monitoring Service grassland map of 2015. Transport of aerosols in SILAM is driven by ECMWF ERA5 meteorological data. The emitted grass pollen amounts in SILAM are computed by the multiplication of the grass pollen source map with the release rate determined by the seasonal shape production curve during the grass flowering period. The onset and offset of this period follow a location-dependent prescribed calendar days. Here we optimize the grass pollen seasonal start and end in SILAM by comparing a 2008-2018 time series of daily airborne grass pollen concentrations from the Belgian aerobiological surveillance network with the simulations. The effect of the spatial distribution of grass pollen sources is quantified by constructing pollen source-receptor relations using model simulations with varying grass pollen emissions in five areas of the model domain as input. Up to 33% of the airborne grass pollen in one area was transport from others areas inside Belgium. Adjusting the start and end of the grass pollen season improved the model performance substantially by almost doubling the correlation with local observations. By introducing the temporal scaling of the inter-seasonal pollen amounts in the model, an additional R increase up to 22% was obtained. Further improvements can be made by including more detailed grass pollen sources and more dynamic start and end dates of the pollen season.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.141903DOI Listing
January 2021

A demonstration project of Global Alliance against Chronic Respiratory Diseases: Prediction of interactions between air pollution and allergen exposure-the Mobile Airways Sentinel NetworK-Impact of air POLLution on Asthma and Rhinitis approach.

Chin Med J (Engl) 2020 Jul;133(13):1561-1567

University Hospital Montpellier, Montpellier 34000, France.

This review analyzes the state and recent progress in the field of information support for pollen allergy sufferers. For decades, information available for the patients and allergologists consisted of pollen counts, which are vital but insufficient. New technology paves the way to substantial increase in amount and diversity of the data. This paper reviews old and newly suggested methods to predict pollen and air pollutant concentrations in the air and proposes an allergy risk concept, which combines the pollen and pollution information and transforms it into a qualitative risk index. This new index is available in an app (Mobile Airways Sentinel NetworK-air) that was developed in the frame of the European Union grant Impact of Air POLLution on sleep, Asthma and Rhinitis (a project of European Institute of Innovation and Technology-Health). On-going transformation of the pollen allergy information support is based on new technological solutions for pollen and air quality monitoring and predictions. The new information-technology and artificial-intelligence-based solutions help to convert this information into easy-to-use services for both medical practitioners and allergy sufferers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CM9.0000000000000916DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7386352PMC
July 2020

ARIA digital anamorphosis: Digital transformation of health and care in airway diseases from research to practice.

Authors:
Jean Bousquet Josep M Anto Claus Bachert Tari Haahtela Torsten Zuberbier Wienczyslawa Czarlewski Anna Bedbrook Sinthia Bosnic-Anticevich G Walter Canonica Victoria Cardona Elisio Costa Alvaro A Cruz Marina Erhola Wytske J Fokkens Joao A Fonseca Maddalena Illario Juan-Carlos Ivancevich Marek Jutel Ludger Klimek Piotr Kuna Violeta Kvedariene Ltt Le Désirée E Larenas-Linnemann Daniel Laune Olga M Lourenço Erik Melén Joaquim Mullol Marek Niedoszytko Mikaëla Odemyr Yoshitaka Okamoto Nikos G Papadopoulos Vincenzo Patella Oliver Pfaar Nhân Pham-Thi Christine Rolland Boleslaw Samolinski Aziz Sheikh Mikhail Sofiev Charlotte Suppli Ulrik Ana Todo-Bom Peter-Valentin Tomazic Sanna Toppila-Salmi Ioanna Tsiligianni Arunas Valiulis Erkka Valovirta Maria-Teresa Ventura Samantha Walker Sian Williams Arzu Yorgancioglu Ioana Agache Cezmi A Akdis Rute Almeida Ignacio J Ansotegui Isabella Annesi-Maesano Sylvie Arnavielhe Xavier Basagaña Eric D Bateman Annabelle Bédard Martin Bedolla-Barajas Sven Becker Kazi S Bennoor Samuel Benveniste Karl C Bergmann Michael Bewick Slawomir Bialek Nils E Billo Carsten Bindslev-Jensen Leif Bjermer Hubert Blain Matteo Bonini Philippe Bonniaud Isabelle Bosse Jacques Bouchard Louis-Philippe Boulet Rodolphe Bourret Koen Boussery Fluvio Braido Vitalis Briedis Andrew Briggs Christopher E Brightling Jan Brozek Guy Brusselle Luisa Brussino Roland Buhl Roland Buonaiuto Moises A Calderon Paulo Camargos Thierry Camuzat Luis Caraballo Ana-Maria Carriazo Warner Carr Christine Cartier Thomas Casale Lorenzo Cecchi Alfonso M Cepeda Sarabia Niels H Chavannes Ekaterine Chkhartishvili Derek K Chu Cemal Cingi Jaime Correia de Sousa David J Costa Anne-Lise Courbis Adnan Custovic Biljana Cvetkosvki Gennaro D'Amato Jane da Silva Carina Dantas Dejan Dokic Yves Dauvilliers Giulia De Feo Govert De Vries Philippe Devillier Stefania Di Capua Gerard Dray Ruta Dubakiene Stephen R Durham Mark Dykewicz Motohiro Ebisawa Mina Gaga Yehia El-Gamal Enrico Heffler Regina Emuzyte John Farrell Jean-Luc Fauquert Alessandro Fiocchi Antje Fink-Wagner Jean-François Fontaine José M Fuentes Perez Bilun Gemicioğlu Amiran Gamkrelidze Judith Garcia-Aymerich Philippe Gevaert René Maximiliano Gomez Sandra González Diaz Maia Gotua Nick A Guldemond Maria-Antonieta Guzmán Jawad Hajjam Yunuen R Huerta Villalobos Marc Humbert Guido Iaccarino Despo Ierodiakonou Tomohisa Iinuma Ewa Jassem Guy Joos Ki-Suck Jung Igor Kaidashev Omer Kalayci Przemyslaw Kardas Thomas Keil Musa Khaitov Nikolai Khaltaev Jorg Kleine-Tebbe Rostislav Kouznetsov Marek L Kowalski Vicky Kritikos Inger Kull Stefania La Grutta Lisa Leonardini Henrik Ljungberg Philip Lieberman Brian Lipworth Karin C Lodrup Carlsen Catarina Lopes-Pereira Claudia C Loureiro Renaud Louis Alpana Mair Bassam Mahboub Michaël Makris Joao Malva Patrick Manning Gailen D Marshall Mohamed R Masjedi Jorge F Maspero Pedro Carreiro-Martins Mika Makela Eve Mathieu-Dupas Marcus Maurer Esteban De Manuel Keenoy Elisabete Melo-Gomes Eli O Meltzer Enrica Menditto Jacques Mercier Yann Micheli Neven Miculinic Florin Mihaltan Branislava Milenkovic Dimitirios I Mitsias Giuliana Moda Maria-Dolores Mogica-Martinez Yousser Mohammad Steve Montefort Ricardo Monti Mario Morais-Almeida Ralph Mösges Lars Münter Antonella Muraro Ruth Murray Robert Naclerio Luigi Napoli Leyla Namazova-Baranova Hugo Neffen Kristoff Nekam Angelo Neou Björn Nordlund Ettore Novellino Dieudonné Nyembue Robyn O'Hehir Ken Ohta Kimi Okubo Gabrielle L Onorato Valentina Orlando Solange Ouedraogo Julia Palamarchuk Isabella Pali-Schöll Peter Panzner Hae-Sim Park Gianni Passalacqua Jean-Louis Pépin Ema Paulino Ruby Pawankar Jim Phillips Robert Picard Hilary Pinnock Davor Plavec Todor A Popov Fabienne Portejoie David Price Emmanuel P Prokopakis Fotis Psarros Benoit Pugin Francesca Puggioni Pablo Quinones-Delgado Filip Raciborski Rojin Rajabian-Söderlund Frederico S Regateiro Sietze Reitsma Daniela Rivero-Yeverino Graham Roberts Nicolas Roche Erendira Rodriguez-Zagal Christine Rolland Regina E Roller-Wirnsberger Nelson Rosario Antonino Romano Menachem Rottem Dermot Ryan Johanna Salimäki Mario M Sanchez-Borges Joaquin Sastre Glenis K Scadding Sophie Scheire Peter Schmid-Grendelmeier Holger J Schünemann Faradiba Sarquis Serpa Mohamed Shamji Juan-Carlos Sisul Mikhail Sofiev Dirceu Solé David Somekh Talant Sooronbaev Milan Sova François Spertini Otto Spranger Cristiana Stellato Rafael Stelmach Michel Thibaudon Teresa To Mondher Toumi Omar Usmani Antonio A Valero Rudolph Valenta Marylin Valentin-Rostan Marilyn Urrutia Pereira Rianne van der Kleij Michiel Van Eerd Olivier Vandenplas Tuula Vasankari Antonio Vaz Carneiro Giorgio Vezzani Frédéric Viart Giovanni Viegi Dana Wallace Martin Wagenmann De Yun Wang Susan Waserman Magnus Wickman Dennis M Williams Gary Wong Piotr Wroczynski Panayiotis K Yiallouros Osman M Yusuf Heather J Zar Stéphane Zeng Mario E Zernotti Luo Zhang Nan Shan Zhong Mihaela Zidarn

Allergy 2021 01 23;76(1):168-190. Epub 2020 Oct 23.

University Clinic of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases, Golnik, Slovenia.

Digital anamorphosis is used to define a distorted image of health and care that may be viewed correctly using digital tools and strategies. MASK digital anamorphosis represents the process used by MASK to develop the digital transformation of health and care in rhinitis. It strengthens the ARIA change management strategy in the prevention and management of airway disease. The MASK strategy is based on validated digital tools. Using the MASK digital tool and the CARAT online enhanced clinical framework, solutions for practical steps of digital enhancement of care are proposed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/all.14422DOI Listing
January 2021

Short-term prenatal exposure to ambient air pollution and risk of preterm birth - A population-based cohort study in Finland.

Environ Res 2020 05 22;184:109290. Epub 2020 Feb 22.

Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research, Faculty of Medicine, P.O. Box 5000, 90014, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland; Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital, P.O. Box 8000, 90014, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland. Electronic address:

Background: Previous studies have provided evidence that prenatal exposure to low-level air pollution increases the risk of preterm birth (PTB), but the findings of the effects of short-term exposure have been inconclusive. Moreover, there is little knowledge on potential synergistic effects of different combinations of air pollutants.

Objectives: To assess independent and joint effects of prenatal exposure to air pollutants during the week prior to the delivery on the risk of PTB.

Methods: The study population included 2568 members of the Espoo Cohort Study, living in the City of Espoo, Finland, born between 1984 and 1990. We assessed individual-level prenatal exposure to ambient air pollutants of interest based on maternal residential addresses, while taking into account their residential mobility. We used both regional-to-city-scale dispersion modelling and land-use regression-based method to estimates the pollutant concentrations. We contrasted the risk of PTB in the highest quartile (Q) of exposure to the lower exposure quartiles (Q-Q) during the specific periods of pregnancy. We applied Poisson regression analysis to estimate the adjusted risk ratios (RRs) with their 95% confidence intervals (CI), adjusting for season of birth, maternal age, sex of the baby, family's socioeconomic status, maternal smoking, and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke during pregnancy, single parenthood, and exposure to other air pollutants (this in multi-pollutant models).

Results: The risk of PTB was related to exposures to PM, PM and NO during the week prior to the delivery with adjusted RRs of 1.67 (95%CI: 1.14, 2.46), 1.60 (95% CI: 1.09, 2.34) and 1.65 (95% CI: 1.14, 2.37), from three-pollutant models respectively. There were no significant joint effects for these different air pollutants (during the week prior to the delivery).

Conclusion: Our results provide evidence that exposure to fairly low-level air pollution may trigger PTB, but synergistic effects of different pollutants are not likely.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2020.109290DOI Listing
May 2020

Current state of the global operational aerosol multi-model ensemble: An update from the International Cooperative for Aerosol Prediction (ICAP).

Q J R Meteorol Soc 2019 Sep 2;145(Suppl 1):176-209. Epub 2019 Apr 2.

Department of Atmospheric Sciences University of North Dakota Grand Forks North Dakota.

Since the first International Cooperative for Aerosol Prediction (ICAP) multi-model ensemble (MME) study, the number of ICAP global operational aerosol models has increased from five to nine. An update of the current ICAP status is provided, along with an evaluation of the performance of ICAP-MME over 2012-2017, with a focus on June 2016-May 2017. Evaluated with ground-based Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) aerosol optical depth (AOD) and data assimilation quality MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) retrieval products, the ICAP-MME AOD consensus remains the overall top-scoring and most consistent performer among all models in terms of root-mean-square error (RMSE), bias and correlation for total, fine- and coarse-mode AODs as well as dust AOD; this is similar to the first ICAP-MME study. Further, over the years, the performance of ICAP-MME is relatively stable and reliable compared to more variability in the individual models. The extent to which the AOD forecast error of ICAP-MME can be predicted is also examined. Leading predictors are found to be the consensus mean and spread. Regression models of absolute forecast errors were built for AOD forecasts of different lengths for potential applications. ICAP-MME performance in terms of modal AOD RMSEs of the 21 regionally representative sites over 2012-2017 suggests a general tendency for model improvements in fine-mode AOD, especially over Asia. No significant improvement in coarse-mode AOD is found overall for this time period.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/qj.3497DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6876662PMC
September 2019

Interactions Between Air Pollution and Pollen Season for Rhinitis Using Mobile Technology: A MASK-POLLAR Study.

J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract 2020 03 28;8(3):1063-1073.e4. Epub 2019 Nov 28.

ISGlobal, Barcelona, Spain; Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona, Spain; CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address:

Background: Several studies have suggested an interaction between air pollution and pollen exposure with an impact on allergy symptoms. However, large studies with real-life data are not available.

Objective: To investigate associations between major air pollutants (ozone and particulate matter with a diameter of <2.5 μm) and allergic rhinitis (AR) control during grass and birch pollen seasons as well as outside the pollen season.

Methods: The daily impact of allergic symptoms was recorded by the Allergy Diary (Mobile Airways Sentinel NetworK [MASK-air]) app (a validated mHealth tool for rhinitis management) using visual analog scales (VASs) in Northern and Central Europe users in 2017 and 2018. Uncontrolled AR was defined using symptoms and medications. Pollutant levels were assessed using the System for Integrated modeLing of Atmospheric coMposition database. Pollen seasons were assessed by regions using Google Trends. Generalized estimating equation models were used to account for repeated measures per user, adjusting for sex, age, treatment, and country. Analyses were stratified by pollen seasons to investigate interactions between air pollutants and pollen exposure.

Results: A total of 3323 geolocated individuals (36,440 VAS-days) were studied. Associations between uncontrolled rhinitis and pollutants were stronger during the grass pollen season. Days with uncontrolled AR increased by 25% for an interquartile range increase in ozone levels during the grass pollen season (odds ratio of 1.25 [95% CI, 1.11-1.41] in 2017 and of 1.14 [95% CI, 1.04-1.25] in 2018). A similar trend was found for particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 μm, especially in 2017.

Conclusions: These results suggest that the relationship between uncontrolled AR and air pollution is modified by the presence of grass pollens. This study confirms the impact of pollutants in the grass pollen season but not in the birch pollen season.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaip.2019.11.022DOI Listing
March 2020

Building an automatic pollen monitoring network (ePIN): Selection of optimal sites by clustering pollen stations.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Oct 11;688:1263-1274. Epub 2019 Jun 11.

Center of Allergy & Environment (ZAUM), Member of the German Center for Lung Research (DZL), Technische Universität München/Helmholtz Center, Munich, Germany. Electronic address:

Airborne pollen is a recognized biological indicator and its monitoring has multiple uses such as providing a tool for allergy diagnosis and prevention. There is a knowledge gap related to the distribution of pollen traps needed to achieve representative biomonitoring in a region. The aim of this manuscript is to suggest a method for setting up a pollen network (monitoring method, monitoring conditions, number and location of samplers etc.). As a case study, we describe the distribution of pollen across Bavaria and the design of the Bavarian pollen monitoring network (ePIN), the first operational automatic pollen network worldwide. We established and ran a dense pollen monitoring network of 27 manual Hirst-type pollen traps across Bavaria, Germany, during 2015. Hierarchical cluster analysis of the data was then performed to select the locations for the sites of the final pollen monitoring network. According to our method, Bavaria can be clustered into three large pollen regions with eight zones. Within each zone, pollen diversity and distribution among different locations does not vary significantly. Based on the pollen zones, we opted to place one automatic monitoring station per zone resulting in the ePIN network, serving 13 million inhabitants. The described method defines stations representative for a homogeneous aeropalynologically region, which reduces redundancy within the network and subsequent costs (in the study case from 27 to 8 locations). Following this method, resources in pollen monitoring networks can be optimized and allergic citizens can then be informed in a timely and effective way, even in larger geographical areas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.06.131DOI Listing
October 2019

Pollen season is reflected on symptom load for grass and birch pollen-induced allergic rhinitis in different geographic areas-An EAACI Task Force Report.

Allergy 2020 05 1;75(5):1099-1106. Epub 2020 Mar 1.

German Pollen Information Service Foundation, Berlin, Germany.

Background: The effectiveness of allergen immunotherapy (AIT) in seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis (AR) depends on the definition of pollen exposure intensity or time period. We recently evaluated pollen and symptom data from Germany to examine the new definitions of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) on pollen season and peak pollen period start and end. Now, we aim to confirm the feasibility of these definitions to properly mirror symptom loads for grass and birch pollen-induced allergic rhinitis in other European geographical areas such as Austria, Finland and France, and therefore their suitability for AIT and clinical practice support.

Methods: Data from twenty-three pollen monitoring stations from three countries in Europe and for 3 years (2014-2016) were used to investigate the correlation between birch and grass pollen concentrations during the birch and grass pollen season defined via the EAACI criteria, and total nasal symptom and medication scores as reported with the aid of the patient's hay-fever diary (PHD). In addition, we conducted a statistical analysis, together with a graphical investigation, to reveal correlations and dependencies between the studied parameters.

Results: The analysis demonstrated that the definitions of pollen season as well as peak pollen period start and end as proposed by the EAACI are correlated to pollen-induced symptom loads reported by PHD users during birch and grass pollen season. A statistically significant correlation (slightly higher for birch) has been found between the Total Nasal Symptom and Medication Score (TNSMS) and the pollen concentration levels. Moreover, the maximum symptom levels occurred mostly within the peak pollen periods (PPP) following the EAACI criteria.

Conclusions: Based on our analyses, we confirm the validity of the EAACI definitions on pollen season for both birch and grass and for a variety of geographical locations for the four European countries (including Germany from a previous publication) analyzed so far. On this basis, the use of the EAACI definitions is supported in future clinical trials on AIT as well as in daily routine for optimal patient care. Further evaluation of the EAACI criteria in other European regions is recommended.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/all.14111DOI Listing
May 2020

Synergistic effects of prenatal exposure to fine particulate matter (PM) and ozone (O) on the risk of preterm birth: A population-based cohort study.

Environ Res 2019 09 19;176:108549. Epub 2019 Jun 19.

Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research, Faculty of Medicine, P.O. Box 5000, FI-90014, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland; Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital, P.O. Box 8000, FI-90014, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland. Electronic address:

Background: There is some evidence that prenatal exposure to low-level air pollution increases the risk of preterm birth (PTB), but little is known about synergistic effects of different pollutants.

Objectives: We assessed the independent and joint effects of prenatal exposure to air pollution during the entire duration of pregnancy.

Methods: The study population consisted of the 2568 members of the Espoo Cohort Study, born between 1984 and 1990, and living in the City of Espoo, Finland. We assessed individual-level prenatal exposure to ambient air pollutants of interest at all the residential addresses from conception to birth. The pollutant concentrations were estimated both by using regional-to-city-scale dispersion modelling and land-use regression-based method. We applied Poisson regression analysis to estimate the adjusted risk ratios (RRs) with their 95% confidence intervals (CI) by comparing the risk of PTB among babies with the highest quartile (Q) of exposure during the entire duration of pregnancy with those with the lower exposure quartiles (Q-Q). We adjusted for season of birth, maternal age, sex of the baby, family's socioeconomic status, maternal smoking during pregnancy, maternal exposure to environmental tobacco smoke during pregnancy, single parenthood, and exposure to other air pollutants (only in multi-pollutant models) in the analysis.

Results: In a multi-pollutant model estimating the effects of exposure during entire pregnancy, the adjusted RR was 1.37 (95% CI: 0.85, 2.23) for PM and 1.64 (95% CI: 1.15, 2.35) for O. The joint effect of PM and O was substantially higher, an adjusted RR of 3.63 (95% CI: 2.16, 6.10), than what would have been expected from their independent effects (0.99 for PM and 1.34 for O). The relative risk due to interaction (RERI) was 2.30 (95% CI: 0.95, 4.57).

Discussion: Our results strengthen the evidence that exposure to fairly low-level air pollution during pregnancy increases the risk of PTB. We provide novel observations indicating that individual air pollutants such as PM and O may act synergistically potentiating each other's adverse effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2019.108549DOI Listing
September 2019

Health Impacts of Ambient Air Pollution in Finland.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2018 04 12;15(4). Epub 2018 Apr 12.

National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), 70701 Kuopio, Finland.

Air pollution has been estimated to be one of the leading environmental health risks in Finland. National health impact estimates existing to date have focused on particles (PM) and ozone (O₃). In this work, we quantify the impacts of particles, ozone, and nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) in 2015, and analyze the related uncertainties. The exposures were estimated with a high spatial resolution chemical transport model, and adjusted to observed concentrations. We calculated the health impacts according to Word Health Organization (WHO) working group recommendations. According to our results, ambient air pollution caused a burden of 34,800 disability-adjusted life years (DALY). Fine particles were the main contributor (74%) to the disease burden, which is in line with the earlier studies. The attributable burden was dominated by mortality (32,900 years of life lost (YLL); 95%). Impacts differed between population age groups. The burden was clearly higher in the adult population over 30 years (98%), due to the dominant role of mortality impacts. Uncertainties due to the concentration-response functions were larger than those related to exposures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040736DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5923778PMC
April 2018

Cleaner fuels for ships provide public health benefits with climate tradeoffs.

Nat Commun 2018 02 6;9(1):406. Epub 2018 Feb 6.

University of Delaware, 305 Robinson Hall, Newark, DE, 19711, USA.

We evaluate public health and climate impacts of low-sulphur fuels in global shipping. Using high-resolution emissions inventories, integrated atmospheric models, and health risk functions, we assess ship-related PM pollution impacts in 2020 with and without the use of low-sulphur fuels. Cleaner marine fuels will reduce ship-related premature mortality and morbidity by 34 and 54%, respectively, representing a ~ 2.6% global reduction in PM cardiovascular and lung cancer deaths and a ~3.6% global reduction in childhood asthma. Despite these reductions, low-sulphur marine fuels will still account for ~250k deaths and ~6.4 M childhood asthma cases annually, and more stringent standards beyond 2020 may provide additional health benefits. Lower sulphur fuels also reduce radiative cooling from ship aerosols by ~80%, equating to a ~3% increase in current estimates of total anthropogenic forcing. Therefore, stronger international shipping policies may need to achieve climate and health targets by jointly reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-02774-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5802819PMC
February 2018

A statistical model for predicting the inter-annual variability of birch pollen abundance in Northern and North-Eastern Europe.

Sci Total Environ 2018 Feb 30;615:228-239. Epub 2017 Sep 30.

Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway. Electronic address:

The paper suggests a methodology for predicting next-year seasonal pollen index (SPI, a sum of daily-mean pollen concentrations) over large regions and demonstrates its performance for birch in Northern and North-Eastern Europe. A statistical model is constructed using meteorological, geophysical and biological characteristics of the previous year). A cluster analysis of multi-annual data of European Aeroallergen Network (EAN) revealed several large regions in Europe, where the observed SPI exhibits similar patterns of the multi-annual variability. We built the model for the northern cluster of stations, which covers Finland, Sweden, Baltic States, part of Belarus, and, probably, Russia and Norway, where the lack of data did not allow for conclusive analysis. The constructed model was capable of predicting the SPI with correlation coefficient reaching up to 0.9 for some stations, odds ratio is infinitely high for 50% of sites inside the region and the fraction of prediction falling within factor of 2 from observations, stays within 40-70%. In particular, model successfully reproduced both the bi-annual cycle of the SPI and years when this cycle breaks down.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.09.061DOI Listing
February 2018

Costs and benefits of low-sulphur fuel standard for Baltic Sea shipping.

J Environ Manage 2016 Dec 11;184(Pt 2):431-440. Epub 2016 Oct 11.

University of Helsinki, Department of Economics and Management, Latokartanonkaari 7, P.O. Box 27, FI-00014, Finland. Electronic address:

The maximum allowable fuel sulphur content for shipping in the Baltic Sea dropped from 1%S to 0.1%S in 1 January 2015. We provide a cost-benefit analysis of the sulphur reduction policy in the Baltic Sea Sulphur Emission Control Area (SECA). We calculated the abatement costs based on shipowners' optimal decision-making in choosing between low-sulphur fuel and a sulphur scrubber, and the benefits were modelled through a high-resolution impact pathway analysis, which took into account the formation and dispersion of the emissions, and considered the positive health impacts resulting from lowered ambient PM concentrations. Our basic result indicates that for the Baltic Sea only, the latest sulphur regulation is not cost-effective. The expected annual cost is roughly €465 M and benefit 2200 saved Disability Adjusted Life-Years (DALYs) or monetized €105 M. Based on our sensitivity analysis, the benefits yet have a potential to exceed the costs. The analysis neither takes into account the acidifying impact of sulphur nor the impact North Sea shipping has on the cost-benefit ratio. Lastly, a similar approach is found highly recommendable to study the implications of the upcoming Tier III NO standard for shipping.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2016.09.064DOI Listing
December 2016

Mortality due to Vegetation Fire-Originated PM2.5 Exposure in Europe-Assessment for the Years 2005 and 2008.

Environ Health Perspect 2017 01 29;125(1):30-37. Epub 2016 Jul 29.

Department of Health Protection, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Kuopio, Finland.

Background: Vegetation fires can release substantial quantities of fine particles (PM2.5), which are harmful to health. The fire smoke may be transported over long distances and can cause adverse health effects over wide areas.

Objective: We aimed to assess annual mortality attributable to short-term exposures to vegetation fire-originated PM2.5 in different regions of Europe.

Methods: PM2.5 emissions from vegetation fires in Europe in 2005 and 2008 were evaluated based on Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite data on fire radiative power. Atmospheric transport of the emissions was modeled using the System for Integrated modeLling of Atmospheric coMposition (SILAM) chemical transport model. Mortality impacts were estimated for 27 European countries based on a) modeled daily PM2.5 concentrations and b) population data, both presented in a 50 × 50 km2 spatial grid; c) an exposure-response function for short-term PM2.5 exposure and daily nonaccidental mortality; and d) country-level data for background mortality risk.

Results: In the 27 countries overall, an estimated 1,483 and 1,080 premature deaths were attributable to the vegetation fire-originated PM2.5 in 2005 and 2008, respectively. Estimated impacts were highest in southern and eastern Europe. However, all countries were affected by fire-originated PM2.5, and even the lower concentrations in western and northern Europe contributed substantially (~ 30%) to the overall estimate of attributable mortality.

Conclusions: Our assessment suggests that air pollution caused by PM2.5 released from vegetation fires is a notable risk factor for public health in Europe. Moreover, the risk can be expected to increase in the future as climate change proceeds. This factor should be taken into consideration when evaluating the overall health and socioeconomic impacts of these fires. Citation: Kollanus V, Prank M, Gens A, Soares J, Vira J, Kukkonen J, Sofiev M, Salonen RO, Lanki T. 2017. Mortality due to vegetation fire-originated PM2.5 exposure in Europe-assessment for the years 2005 and 2008. Environ Health Perspect 125:30-37; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/EHP194.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/EHP194DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5226696PMC
January 2017

First comparison of symptom data with allergen content (Bet v 1 and Phl p 5 measurements) and pollen data from four European regions during 2009-2011.

Sci Total Environ 2016 Apr 21;548-549:229-235. Epub 2016 Jan 21.

University Department of Ear, Nose and Throat Diseases, Medizinische Universität Wien, Austria.

Background: The level of symptoms in pollen allergy sufferers and users of the Patient's Hayfever Diary (PHD), does not directly reflect the total amount of pollen in the air. It is necessary to explain the symptom load and thus the development of allergic symptoms and to determine which environmental factors, besides the pollen load, influence variables. It seems reasonable to suspect allergen content because the amount of allergen varies throughout seasons and regions and is not always correlated with the total pollen amount.

Methods: Data on the allergen content of ambient air (Bet v 1 and Phl p 5) from 2009 until 2011 was used to compare the respective pollen and symptom loads for study regions in Austria, Germany, France and Finland.

Results: Our findings suggest that allergen amount (Bet v 1/Phl p 5) has a strong but regionally dependent impact on the symptom load of pollen allergy sufferers. Peak symptom loads can be traced with peak allergen loads. The influence of other important aeroallergens should also be assessed during the pollen season.

Conclusion: Allergen concentrations have an impact on pollen allergy sufferers although not as clear as assumed previously. The pattern of pollen load and major allergen content distribution does not directly explain the symptom load pattern, although significant positive correlations were found. Thus, monitoring of symptoms via voluntary crowdsourcing should be considered for future pollen and symptom forecasts in order to support pollen allergy sufferers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.01.014DOI Listing
April 2016

Fine-Scale Exposure to Allergenic Pollen in the Urban Environment: Evaluation of Land Use Regression Approach.

Environ Health Perspect 2016 05 9;124(5):619-26. Epub 2015 Oct 9.

Geography Research Unit, and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.

Background: Despite the recent developments in physically and chemically based analysis of atmospheric particles, no models exist for resolving the spatial variability of pollen concentration at urban scale.

Objectives: We developed a land use regression (LUR) approach for predicting spatial fine-scale allergenic pollen concentrations in the Helsinki metropolitan area, Finland, and evaluated the performance of the models against available empirical data.

Methods: We used grass pollen data monitored at 16 sites in an urban area during the peak pollen season and geospatial environmental data. The main statistical method was generalized linear model (GLM).

Results: GLM-based LURs explained 79% of the spatial variation in the grass pollen data based on all samples, and 47% of the variation when samples from two sites with very high concentrations were excluded. In model evaluation, prediction errors ranged from 6% to 26% of the observed range of grass pollen concentrations. Our findings support the use of geospatial data-based statistical models to predict the spatial variation of allergenic grass pollen concentrations at intra-urban scales. A remote sensing-based vegetation index was the strongest predictor of pollen concentrations for exposure assessments at local scales.

Conclusions: The LUR approach provides new opportunities to estimate the relations between environmental determinants and allergenic pollen concentration in human-modified environments at fine spatial scales. This approach could potentially be applied to estimate retrospectively pollen concentrations to be used for long-term exposure assessments.

Citation: Hjort J, Hugg TT, Antikainen H, Rusanen J, Sofiev M, Kukkonen J, Jaakkola MS, Jaakkola JJ. 2016. Fine-scale exposure to allergenic pollen in the urban environment: evaluation of land use regression approach. Environ Health Perspect 124:619-626; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1509761.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1509761DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4858385PMC
May 2016

Variation of the group 5 grass pollen allergen content of airborne pollen in relation to geographic location and time in season.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2015 Jul 6;136(1):87-95.e6. Epub 2015 May 6.

Interdepartmental Centre of Bioclimatology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy.

Background: Allergies to grass pollen are the number one cause of outdoor hay fever. The human immune system reacts with symptoms to allergen from pollen.

Objective: We investigated the natural variability in release of the major group 5 allergen from grass pollen across Europe.

Methods: Airborne pollen and allergens were simultaneously collected daily with a volumetric spore trap and a high-volume cascade impactor at 10 sites across Europe for 3 consecutive years. Group 5 allergen levels were determined with a Phl p 5-specific ELISA in 2 fractions of ambient air: particulate matter of greater than 10 μm in diameter and particulate matter greater than 2.5 μm and less than 10 μm in diameter. Mediator release by ambient air was determined in FcεRI-humanized basophils. The origin of pollen was modeled and condensed to pollen potency maps.

Results: On average, grass pollen released 2.3 pg of Phl p 5 per pollen. Allergen release per pollen (potency) varied substantially, ranging from less than 1 to 9 pg of Phl p 5 per pollen (5% to 95% percentile). The main variation was locally day to day. Average potency maps across Europe varied between years. Mediator release from basophilic granulocytes correlated better with allergen levels per cubic meter (r(2) = 0.80, P < .001) than with pollen grains per cubic meter (r(2) = 0.61, P < .001). In addition, pollen released different amounts of allergen in the non-pollen-bearing fraction of ambient air, depending on humidity.

Conclusion: Across Europe, the same amount of pollen released substantially different amounts of group 5 grass pollen allergen. This variation in allergen release is in addition to variations in pollen counts. Molecular aerobiology (ie, determining allergen in ambient air) might be a valuable addition to pollen counting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2015.01.049DOI Listing
July 2015

Interactions of physical, chemical, and biological weather calling for an integrated approach to assessment, forecasting, and communication of air quality.

Ambio 2012 Dec 25;41(8):851-64. Epub 2012 May 25.

Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Västra Frölunda, Gothenburg, Sweden.

This article reviews interactions and health impacts of physical, chemical, and biological weather. Interactions and synergistic effects between the three types of weather call for integrated assessment, forecasting, and communication of air quality. Today's air quality legislation falls short of addressing air quality degradation by biological weather, despite increasing evidence for the feasibility of both mitigation and adaptation policy options. In comparison with the existing capabilities for physical and chemical weather, the monitoring of biological weather is lacking stable operational agreements and resources. Furthermore, integrated effects of physical, chemical, and biological weather suggest a critical review of air quality management practices. Additional research is required to improve the coupled modeling of physical, chemical, and biological weather as well as the assessment and communication of integrated air quality. Findings from several recent COST Actions underline the importance of an increased dialog between scientists from the fields of meteorology, air quality, aerobiology, health, and policy makers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13280-012-0288-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3492561PMC
December 2012

A numerical model of birch pollen emission and dispersion in the atmosphere. Model evaluation and sensitivity analysis.

Int J Biometeorol 2013 Jan 22;57(1):125-36. Epub 2012 Mar 22.

Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland.

An evaluation of performance of the System for Integrated modeLling of Atmospheric coMposition (SILAM) in application to birch pollen dispersion is presented. The system is described in a companion paper whereas the current study evaluates the model sensitivity to details of the pollen emission module parameterisation and to the meteorological input data. The most important parameters are highlighted. The reference year considered for the analysis is 2006. It is shown that the model is capable of predicting about two-thirds of allergenic alerts, with the odds ratio exceeding 12 for the best setup. Several other statistics corroborate with these estimations. Low-pollen concentration days are also predicted correctly in more than two-thirds of cases. The model experiences certain difficulties only with intermediate pollen concentrations. It is demonstrated that the most important input parameter is the near-surface temperature, the bias of which can easily jeopardise the results. The model sensitivity to random fluctuations of temperature is much lower. Other parameters important at various stages of pollen development, release, and dispersion are precipitation and ambient humidity, as well as wind direction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00484-012-0539-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3527737PMC
January 2013

Chemical composition of fine particles in fresh smoke plumes from boreal wild-land fires in Europe.

Sci Total Environ 2010 May 1;408(12):2527-42. Epub 2010 Apr 1.

Finnish Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 503, FI-00101 Helsinki, Finland.

A series of smoke plumes was detected in Helsinki, Finland, during a one-month-lasting period in August 2006. The smoke plumes originated from wildfires close to Finland, and they were short-term and had a high particulate matter (PM) concentration. Physical and chemical properties of fine particles in those smokes were characterised by a wide range of real-time measurements that enabled the examination of individual plume events. Concurrently PM(1) filter samples were collected and analysed off-line. Satellite observations employing MODIS sensor on board of NASA EOS Terra satellite with the dispersion model SILAM and the Fire Assimilation System were used for evaluation of the emission fluxes from wildfires. The model predicted well the timing of the plumes but the predicted PM concentrations differed from the observed. The measurements showed that the major growth in PM concentration was caused by submicrometer particles consisting mainly of particulate organic matter (POM). POM had not totally oxidised during the transport based on the low WSOC-to-OC ratio. The fresh plumes were compared to another major smoke episode that was observed in Helsinki during April-May 2006. The duration and the source areas of the two episode periods differed. The episode in April-May was a period of nearly constantly upraised level of long-range transported PM and it was composed of aged particles when arriving in Helsinki. The two episodes had differences also in the chemical composition of PM. The mass concentrations of biomass burning tracers (levoglucosan, potassium, and oxalate) increased during both the episodes but different concentration levels of elemental carbon and potassium indicated that the episodes differed in the form of burning as well as in the burning material. In spring dry crop residue and hay from the previous season were burnt whereas in August smokes from smouldering and incomplete burning of fresh vegetation were detected.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.03.010DOI Listing
May 2010