Air Pollution Mixtures

Most air pollution health research focuses on a single pollutant or treats other pollutants as confounders, although in reality we breathe a complex mixture. We explore methods to investigate multi-pollutant systems and estimate health response to simultaneous exposure of multiple pollutants. Although airborne particulate matter constitutes a complex mixture, particles are regulated and largely studied according to total mass, without regard to chemical structure. Policy-makers would benefit from information on which components or sources are most toxic. We identified regional and seasonal variation in health effects for particle mass. We hypothesize that some particles are more toxic than others due to their chemical composition, which exhibits similar spatial and temporal patterns as particulates’ health effects. Our current projects investigate which particle characteristics are most harmful, with respect to size, chemical structure, and source. As an example, we found that particles from vehicles are associated with low birth weight.


Selected Relevant Publications

Associations between long-term exposure to chemical constituents of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and mortality in Medicare enrollees in the Eastern United StatesChung Y, F Dominici, Y Wang, BA Coull, ML Bell, Environmental Health Perspectives (accepted)

Sources of fine particulate matter and risk of preterm birth in Connecticut, 2000–2006: a longitudinal studyGavin Pereira, Michelle L. Bell, Hyung Joo Lee, Petros Koutrakis, Kathleen Belanger, Environmental Health Perspectives 122(10), p. 1117-1122

Association between airborne PM2.5 chemical constituents and birth weight—implication of buffer exposure assignment, Keita Ebisu, Kathleen Belanger, Michelle L. Bell, Environmental Research Letters 9: 084007

Is the relationship between ozone and mortality confounded by chemical components of particulate matter?, G. Brooke Anderson, Jenna R. Krall, Roger D. Peng, Michelle L. Bell, American Journal of Epidemiology 176(8), p. 726-732

Characterization of fine particulate matter and associations between particulate chemical constituents and mortality in Seoul, Korea, Ji-Young Son, Jong-Tae Lee, Ki-Hyun Kim, Kweon Jung, Michelle L. Bell, Environmental Health Perspectives 120(6), p. 872-878

Community-level spatial heteogeneity of chemical constituent levels of fine particulates and implications for epidemiological research, Bell ML, Ebisu K, Peng RD, Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology 21(4), p.372-384

Prenatal exposure to fine particulate matter and birth weight: Variations by particulate constituents and sources, ​Bell ML, Belanger K, Ebisu K, Gent JF, Lee HJ, Koutrakis P, Leaderer BP, Epidemiology 21(6), p. 884-891

Protecting human health from air pollution: Shifting from a single pollutant to a multi-pollutant approach, Dominici F, Peng RD, Barr CD, Bell ML, Epidemiology 21(2), p. 187-194

Hospital admissions and chemical composition of fine particle air pollution, ​Bell ML, Ebisu K, Peng RD, Samet JM, Dominici F, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 179(2), p. 1115-1120.

Spatial and temporal variation in PM2.5 chemical composition in the United States for health effects studies, ​Bell ML, Dominici F, Ebisu K, Zeger SL, Samet JM, Environmental Health Perspectives 115(7), p. 989-995