Environmental Justice

We investigate whether some segments of the population face disproportionate health burdens from environmental contaminants. Such disparities may arise from differences in biological susceptibility, baseline health status, exposures, or other factors. Persons may face a higher environmental health burden based on socio-economic position, racial/ethnic minority, urban/rural environment, age, or other conditions. Our work in this area considers environmental justice issues broadly, including which populations have the highest exposure levels as well as which populations have the highest response to a given pollutant. Further, we study how choice of method to estimate exposure may impact risk estimates for various populations, for example due to the nature of existing air pollution monitoring networks. As an example, we found higher ozone-mortality effect estimates in communities with a higher proportion of racial minorities or lower income. Exposure patterns may also play a role, as we observed lower effects for communities with high prevalence of central air conditioning, which alters penetration of ambient air. Our studies of air pollution and birth weight also found differential effects by race, with higher impacts on infants of African-American mothers than White mothers. Currently, we are investigating how socio-economic status affects air pollution and weather-related mortality in Latin America and how air pollution effects differ by gender.


Selected Relevant Publications

Ambient PM2.5 and risk of hospital admissions: Do risks differ for men and women?Michelle L. Bell, Ji-Young Son, Roger D. Peng, Yun Wang, Francesca Dominici, Epidemiology (accepted)

Who is more affected by ozone pollution? A systematic review and meta-analysisMichelle L. Bell, Antonella Zanobetti, Francesca Dominici, American Journal of Epidemiology 180(1), p. 15-28

Evidence on vulnerability and susceptibility to health effects associated with short-term exposure to particulate matter: Systematic review and meta analysisMichelle L. Bell, Antonella Zanobetti, Francesca Dominici, American Journal of Epidemiology 178(6), p. 865-876

Environmental inequality in exposures to airborne particulate matter components in the United StatesMichelle L. Bell, Keita Ebisu, Environmental Health Perspectives 120(12), p. 1699-1704

Susceptibility to air pollution effects on mortality in Seoul, Korea: A case-crossover analysis of individual-level effect modifiers, Ji-Young Son, Jong-Tae Lee, Ho Kim, Okhee Yi , Michelle L Bell, Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology 22(3), p. 227-234

Adverse health effects of particulate air pollution: modification by air conditioningMichelle L. Bell, Keita Ebisu, Roger D. Peng, Francessca Dominici, Epidemiology 20(5), p. 682-686

Vulnerability to heat-related mortality in Latin America: a case-crossover study in São Paulo, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; and Mexico City, MexicoMichelle L. Bell, Marie S O’Neill, Nalini Ranjit, Victor H Borja-Aburto, Luis A Cifuentes, Nelson Gouveia, International Journal of Epidemiology 37(4), p. 796-804

Challenges and recommendations for the study of socioeconomic factors and air pollution health effectsMichelle L. Bell, Marie S. O’Neill, Luis A. Cifuentes, Alfésio L.F. Braga, Collin Green, Arize Nweke, Jorge Rogat, Katherine Sibold, Environmental Science and Policy 8(5), p. 525-533