Environmental equity research: review with focus on outdoor air pollution research methods and analytic tools.
Arch Environ Occup Health 2015 ;70(1):47-55
a Department of Public Health Sciences , Queen's University , Kingston , Ontario , Canada.
The objective of this study was to review environmental equity research on outdoor air pollution and, specifically, methods and tools used in research, published in English, with the aim of recommending the best methods and analytic tools. English language publications from 2000 to 2012 were identified in Google Scholar, Ovid MEDLINE, and PubMed. Research methodologies and results were reviewed and potential deficiencies and knowledge gaps identified. The publications show that exposure to outdoor air pollution differs by social factors, but findings are inconsistent in Canada. In terms of study designs, most were small and ecological and therefore prone to the ecological fallacy. Newer tools such as geographic information systems, modeling, and biomarkers offer improved precision in exposure measurement. Higher-quality research using large, individual-based samples and more precise analytic tools are needed to provide better evidence for policy-making to reduce environmental inequities.