Comparing land use regression and dispersion modelling to assess residential exposure to ambient air pollution for epidemiological studies

Land-use regression (LUR) and dispersion models (DM) are commonly used for estimating individual air pollution exposure in population studies. Few comparisons have however been made of the performance of these methods. Within the European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects (ESCAPE) the authors explore the differences between LUR and DM estimates for NO2, PM10 and PM2.5. The ESCAPE study developed LUR models for outdoor air pollution levels based on a harmonised monitoring campaign. In thirteen ESCAPE study areas the authors further applied dispersion models. LUR and DM estimates at the residential addresses of participants in 13 cohorts were compared for NO2; 7 for PM10 and 4 for PM2.5. Additionally, the DM estimates were compared with measured concentrations at the 20-40 ESCAPE monitoring sites in each area. The median Pearson R (range) correlation coefficients between LUR and DM estimates for the annual average concentrations of NO2, PM10 and PM2.5 were 0.75 (0.19-0.89), 0.39 (0.23-0.66) and 0.29 (0.22-0.81) for 112,971 (13 study areas), 69,591 (7) and 28,519 (4) addresses respectively. The median Pearson R correlation coefficients (range) between DM estimates and ESCAPE measurements were of 0.74 (0.09-0.86) for NO2; 0.58 (0.36-0.88) for PM10 and 0.58 (0.39-0.66) for PM2.5. The authors concluded that LUR and dispersion model estimates correlated on average well for NO2 but only moderately for PM10 and PM2.5, with large variability across areas. DM predicted a moderate to large proportion of the measured variation for NO2 but less for PM10 and PM2.5.

Authors: de Hoogh K, Korek M, Vienneau D, Keuken M, Kukkonen J, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ, Badaloni C, Beelen R, Bolignano A, Cesaroni G, Pradas MC, Cyrys J(, Douros J, Eeftens M, Forastiere F, Forsberg B, Fuks K, Gehring U, Gryparis A, Gulliver J, Hansell AL, Hoffmann B, Johansson C, Jonkers S, Kangas L, Katsouyanni K, Künzli N, Lanki T, Memmesheimer M, Moussiopoulos N, Modig L, Pershagen G, Probst-Hensch N, Schindler C, Schikowski T, Sugiri D, Teixidó O, Tsai MY, Yli-Tuomi T, Brunekreef B, Hoek G, Bellander T. ;Full Source: Environment International. 2014 Sep 15;73C:382-392. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.08.011. [Epub ahead of print] ;