Document Detail

Assessment of exposure to mercury from industrial emissions: comparing "distance as a proxy" and dispersion modelling approaches.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17182645     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: The Runcorn area, north-west England, contains many pollution sources, the health effects of which have been under discussion for over 100 years. Preliminary investigations revealed an excess risk of mortality from kidney disease in people living nearest to several point sources of pollution, using distance as a proxy for exposure. Ongoing epidemiological investigations into the effect of ambient mercury exposure on dose and renal effect required a more refined assessment of exposure. METHODS: Atmospheric dispersion modelling was used to assess mercury dispersion from three mercury-emitting sources (including a large chlor alkali plant), based on knowledge of emissions, local meteorology and topography. RESULTS: The model was sensitive to various input parameters, with different dispersion patterns and ground-level concentrations, and therefore different exposed populations identified when different input parameters were defined. The different approaches to exposure assessment also had an impact on the epidemiological findings. The model output correlated well with weekly monitoring data collected in the local area, although the model underestimated concentrations in close proximity to the chlor alkali plant. The model identified that one point source did not contribute significantly to ground-level mercury concentrations, so that inclusion of this source when using the "distance as a proxy" approach led to significant exposure misclassification. CONCLUSIONS: The model output indicates that assessment of ambient exposure should give consideration to the magnitude of emissions, point source characteristics, local meteorology and topography to ensure that the most appropriate exposure classification is reached. Even if dispersion modelling cannot be undertaken, these data can be used to inform and improve the distance as a proxy approach, and improve the interpretability of the epidemiological findings.
Susan Hodgson; Mark J Nieuwenhuijsen; Roy Colvile; Lars Jarup
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Evaluation Studies; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2006-12-20
Journal Detail:
Title:  Occupational and environmental medicine     Volume:  64     ISSN:  1470-7926     ISO Abbreviation:  Occup Environ Med     Publication Date:  2007 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-05-21     Completed Date:  2007-06-13     Revised Date:  2010-09-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9422759     Medline TA:  Occup Environ Med     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  380-8     Citation Subset:  IM    
Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU), Imperial College London, London, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Air Pollution / adverse effects*,  analysis
England / epidemiology
Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*,  analysis
Mercury / analysis,  toxicity*
Meteorological Concepts
Models, Theoretical
Residence Characteristics
Topography, Medical
Reg. No./Substance:

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