Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

Visiting Professor







UG42Medical SchoolSt Mary's Campus





Publication Type

152 results found

Cai Y, Hansell AL, Granell R, Blangiardo M, Zottoli M, Fecht D, Gulliver J, Henderson AJ, Elliott Pet al., 2020, Prenatal, early-life and childhood exposure to air pollution and lung function: the ALSPAC cohort, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Vol: 202, Pages: 112-123, ISSN: 1073-449X

RATIONALE: Exposure to air pollution during intrauterine development and through childhood may have lasting effects on respiratory health. OBJECTIVES: To investigate lung function at ages 8 and 15 years in relation to air pollution exposures during pregnancy, infancy and childhood in a UK population-based birth cohort. METHODS: Individual exposures to source-specific particulate matter with diameter ≤10µm (PM10) during each trimester, 0-6 months, 7-12 months (1990-1993) and up to age 15 years (1991-2008) were examined in relation to %predicted Forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) at ages 8(N=5,276) and 15(N=3,446) years, usinglinear regression models adjusted for potential confounders. A profile regression model was used to identify sensitive time periods. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: We did not find clear evidence for a sensitive exposure period for PM10 from road-traffic: at age 8 years, 1µg/m3 higher exposure during the first trimester was associated with lower %predicted of FEV1(-0.826, 95%CI:-1.357 to -0.296) and FVC(-0.817, 95%CI:-1.357 to -0.276), but similar associations were seen for exposures for other trimesters, 0-6 months, 7-12 months, and 0-7 years. Associations were stronger among boys, children whose mother had a lower education level or smoked during pregnancy. For PM10 from all sources, the third trimester was associated with lower %predicted of FVC (-1.312, 95%CI: -2.100 to -0.525). At age 15 years, no adverse associations were seen with lung function. CONCLUSIONS: Exposure to road-traffic PM10 during pregnancy may result in small but significant reductions in lung function at age 8 years.

Journal article

Pirani M, Mason A, Hansell A, Richardson S, Blangiardo Met al., 2020, A flexible hierarchical framework for improving inference in area-referenced environmental health studies, Biometrical Journal: journal of mathematical methods in biosciences, ISSN: 0323-3847

Study designs where data have been aggregated by geographical areas are popular in environmental epi-demiology. These studies are commonly based on administrative databases and, providing a completespatial coverage, are particularly appealing to make inference on the entire population. However, the re-sulting estimates are often biased and difficult to interpret due to unmeasured confounders, which typicallyare not available from routinely collected data. We propose a framework to improve inference drawn fromsuch studies exploiting information derived from individual-level survey data. The latter are summarized inan area-level scalar score by mimicking at ecological-level the well-known propensity score methodology.The literature on propensity score for confounding adjustment is mainly based on individual-level studiesand assumes a binary exposure variable. Here we generalize its use to cope with area-referenced stud-ies characterized by a continuous exposure. Our approach is based upon Bayesian hierarchical structuresspecified into a two-stage design: (i) geolocated individual-level data from survey samples are up-scaled atecological-level, then the latter are used to estimate a generalizedecological propensity score(EPS) in thein-sample areas; (ii) the generalized EPS is imputed in the out-of-sample areas under different assumptionsabout the missingness mechanisms, then it is included into the ecological regression, linking the exposureof interest to the health outcome. This delivers area-level risk estimates which allow a fuller adjustment forconfounding than traditional areal studies. The methodology is illustrated by using simulations and a casestudy investigating the risk of lung cancer mortality associated with nitrogen dioxide in England (UK).

Journal article

Hodgson S, Fecht D, Gulliver J, Daby H, Piel F, Yip F, Strosnider H, Hansell A, Elliott Pet al., 2020, Availability, access, analysis and dissemination of small area data, International Journal of Epidemiology, Vol: 49, Pages: i4-i14, ISSN: 1464-3685

In this era of ‘big data’, there is growing recognition of the value of environmental, health, social and demographic data for research. Open government data initiatives are growing in number and in terms of content. Remote sensing data are finding widespread use in environmental research, including in low- and middle-income settings. While our ability to study environment and health associations across countries and continents grows, data protection rules and greater patient control over the use of their data present new challenges to using health data in research. Innovative tools that circumvent the need for the physical sharing of data by supporting non-disclosive sharing of information, or that permit spatial analysis without researchers needing access to underlying patient data can be used to support analyses while protecting data confidentiality. User-friendly visualisations, allowing small area data to be seen and understood by non-expert audiences are revolutionising public and researcher interactions with data. The UK Small Area Health Statistics Unit’s Environment and Health Atlas for England and Wales, and the US National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network offer good examples. Open data facilitates user-generated outputs, and ‘mash-ups’, and user generated inputs from social media, mobile devices, and wearable tech are new data streams which will find utility in future studies, and bring novel dimensions with respect to ethical use of small area data.

Journal article

Fecht D, Garwood K, Butters O, Henderson J, Elliott P, Hansell A, Gulliver Jet al., 2020, Automation of cleaning and reconstructing residential address histories to assign environmental exposures in longitudinal studies, International Journal of Epidemiology, Vol: 49, Pages: i49-i56, ISSN: 1464-3685

Background: We have developed an open-source ALgorithm for Generating Address Exposures (ALGAE) that cleans residential address records to construct address histories and assign spatially-determined exposuresto cohort participants. The first application of this algorithm was to construct prenatal and early-life air pollution exposure for individuals of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC)in the South West of Englandusingpreviously estimated particulate matter ≤10 μm (PM10) concentrations. Methods: ALSPAC recruited 14,541 pregnant women between 1991and 1992. We assignedtrimester-specific estimated PM10exposures for 12,752 pregnancies,and first year of life exposures for 12,525births, based on maternal residence and residential mobility. Results: Average PM10exposure was32.6 μg/m3(StDev. 3.0 μg/m3) during pregnancy and 31.4 μg/m3(StDev. 2.6 μg/m3) during the first year of life. 6.7% ofwomen changedaddress during pregnancy, and 18.0% moved during first year of lifeof their infant. Exposure differences ranged from -5.3 μg/m3 to 12.4 μg/m3(up to 26% difference) during pregnancy and -7.22 μg/m3to 7.64 μg/m3(up to 27% difference) in the first year of life,when comparing estimated exposure using the address at birth and that assessedusing the complete cleaned address history. For the majority of individualsexposure changed by <5% but some relatively large changes were seen both in pregnancy and infancy.Conclusion: ALGAE provides a generic andadaptable, open-source solution to clean addresses stored in acohort contact database and assign life-stage specific exposureestimates with the potential to reduce exposure misclassification.

Journal article

Piel FB, Parkes B, Hambly P, Roca-Barceló A, McCallion M, Leonardi G, Strosnider H, Yip F, Elliott P, Hansell ALet al., 2020, Software application profile: the Rapid Inquiry Facility 4.0: an open access tool for environmental public health tracking, International Journal of Epidemiology, Vol: 49, Pages: i38-i48, ISSN: 0300-5771

The Rapid Inquiry Facility 4.0 (RIF) is a new user-friendly and open-access tool, developed by the UK Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU), to facilitate environment public health tracking (EPHT) or surveillance (EPHS). The RIF is designed to help public health professionals and academics to rapidly perform exploratory investigations of health and environmental data at the small-area level (e.g. postcode or detailed census areas) in order to identify unusual signals, such as disease clusters and potential environmental hazards, whether localized (e.g. industrial site) or widespread (e.g. air and noise pollution). The RIF allows the use of advanced disease mapping methods, including Bayesian small-area smoothing and complex risk analysis functionalities, while accounting for confounders. The RIF could be particularly useful to monitor spatio-temporal trends in mortality and morbidity associated with cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes and chronic lung diseases, or to conduct local or national studies on air pollution, flooding, low-magnetic fields or nuclear power plants.

Journal article

Piel F, Fecht D, Hodgson S, Blangiardo M, Toledano M, Hansell A, Elliott Pet al., 2020, Small-area methods for investigation of environment and health, International Journal of Epidemiology, Vol: 49, Pages: 686-699, ISSN: 1464-3685

Small-area studies offer a powerful epidemiological approach to study disease patterns at the population level and assess health risks posed by environmental pollutants. They involve a public health investigation on a geographic scale (e.g. neighbourhood) with overlay of health, environmental, demographic and potential confounder data. Recent methodological advances, including Bayesian approaches, combined with fast growing computational capabilities permit more informative analyses than previously possible, including the incorporation of data at different scales, from satellites to individual-level survey information. Better data availability has widened the scope and utility of small-area studies, but also led to greater complexity, including choice of optimal study area size and extent, duration of study periods, range of covariates and confounders to be considered, and dealing with uncertainty. The availability of data from large, well-phenotyped cohorts such as UK Biobank enables the use of mixed-level study designs and the triangulation of evidence on environmental risks from small-area and individual-level studies, therefore improving causal inference, including use of linked biomarker and -omics data. As a result, there are now improved opportunities to investigate the impacts of environmental risk factors on human health, particularly for the surveillance and prevention of non-communicable diseases.

Journal article

Parkes B, Hansell AL, Ghosh RE, Douglas P, Fecht D, Wellesley D, Kurinczuk JJ, Rankin J, de Hoogh K, Fuller GW, Elliott P, Toledano MBet al., 2020, Risk of congenital anomalies near municipal waste incinerators in England and Scotland, Retrospective population-based cohort study, Vol: 134, ISSN: 0160-4120

Background: Few studies have investigated congenital anomalies in relation to municipal waste incinerators (MWIs) and results are inconclusive. Objectives: To conduct a national investigation into the risk of congenital anomalies in babies born to mothers living within 10 km of an MWI associated with: i) modelled concentrations of PM10 as a proxy for MWI emissions more generally and; ii) proximity of residential postcode to nearest MWI, in areas in England and Scotland that are covered by a congenital anomaly register. Methods: Retrospective population-based cohort study within 10 km of 10 MWIs in England and Scotland operating between 2003 and 2010. Exposure was proximity to MWI and log of daily mean modelled ground-level particulate matter ≤10 μm diameter (PM10) concentrations. Results: Analysis included 219,486 births, stillbirths and terminations of pregnancy for fetal anomaly of which 5154 were cases of congenital anomalies. Fully adjusted odds ratio (OR) per doubling in PM10 was: 1·00 (95% CI 0·98–1·02) for all congenital anomalies; 0·99 (0·97–1·01) for all congenital anomalies excluding chromosomal anomalies. For every 1 km closer to an MWI adjusted OR was: 1·02 (1·00–1·04) for all congenital anomalies combined; 1·02 (1·00–1·04) for all congenital anomalies excluding chromosomal anomalies; and, for specific anomaly groups, 1·04 (1·01–1·08) for congenital heart defect sand 1·07 (1·02–1·12) for genital anomalies. Discussion: We found no increased risk of congenital anomalies in relation to modelled PM10 emissions, but there were small excess risks associated with congenital heart defects and genital anomalies in proximity to MWIs. These latter findings may well reflect incomplete control for confounding, but a possible causal effect cannot be excluded.

Journal article

Lavigne A, Freni Sterrantino A, Liverani S, Blangiardo M, De hoogh K, Molitor J, Hansell Aet al., 2019, Associations between metal constituents of ambient particulate matter and mortality in England; an ecological study, BMJ Open, Vol: 9, ISSN: 2044-6055

Objectives To investigate long-term associations between metal components of particulate matter and mortality and lung cancer incidenceDesign Small area (ecological) study Setting Population living in all wards (~9000 individuals per ward) in the London and Oxford area of England, comprising 13.6 million individuals Exposure and Outcome measures We used land use regression (LUR) models originally used in the Transport related Air Pollution and Health impacts – Integrated Methodologies for Assessing Particulate Matter (TRANSPHORM) study to estimate exposure to copper, iron and zinc in ambient air particulate matter. We examined associations of metal exposure with Office for National Statistics mortality data from cardiovascular (CVD) and respiratory causes and with lung cancer incidence in 2008-11.Results There were 108,478 CVD deaths, 48,483 respiratory deaths and 24,849 incident cases of lung cancer in the study period and area. Using Poisson regression models adjusted for area-level deprivation, tobacco sales and ethnicity, we found associations between cardiovascular mortality and PM2.5 copper with interdecile range (IDR-2.6-5.7 ng/m3) and IDR Relative risk (RR) 1.005 (95%CI 1.001, 1.009) and between respiratory mortality and PM10 zinc (IDR 1135-153 ng/m3) and IDR RR 1.136 (95%CI 1.010, 1.277). We did not find relevant associations for lung cancer incidence. Metal elements were highly correlated.Conclusion Our analysis showed small but not fully consistent adverse associations between mortality and particulate metal exposures likely derived from non-tailpipe road traffic emissions (brake and tyre-wear), which have previously been associated with increases in inflammatory markers in the blood.

Journal article

Boyd A, Thomas R, Hansell AL, Gulliver J, Hicks LM, Griggs R, Vande Hey J, Taylor CM, Morris T, Golding J, Doerner R, Fecht D, Henderson J, Lawlor DA, Timpson NJ, Macleod Jet al., 2019, Data resource profile: the ALSPAC birth cohort as a platform to study the relationship of environment and health and social factors, International Journal of Epidemiology, Vol: 48, Pages: 1038-1039k, ISSN: 1464-3685

This resource profile describes the information about the physical and social environment collected within the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) birth cohort. This includes spatial and temporal information gathered on three generations about: area-level built and social characteristics (e.g. density and location of fast-food outlets, crime rates within a neighbourhood); exposure measurements (e.g. air pollution concentrations, temperature records); participant-reported data directly related to the spaces and places they inhabit (e.g. neighbourhood safety, presence of damp within a home); information directly measured from participants (e.g. blood lead and total mercury concentrations, physical activity); the location information needed to link these diverse data.We describe the platform’s previous uses, strengths and weaknesses and access arrangements, emphasizing confidentiality safeguard controls. This profile highlights a particular class of ALSPAC data (with distinct access arrangements) to promote the potential for incorporating physical environment and other spatially-dependent data into research investigations.

Journal article

Doiron D, de Hoogh K, Probst-Hensch N, Fortier I, Cai Y, De Matteis S, Hansell Aet al., 2019, Air pollution, lung function and COPD: results from the population-based UK Biobank study, European Respiratory Journal, Vol: 54, ISSN: 0903-1936

Ambient air pollution increases the risk of respiratory mortality but evidence for impacts on lung function and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)is less well established. The aim was toevaluatewhether ambient air pollution isassociated with lung function andCOPD, and explore potential vulnerability factors. We used UK Biobank data on 303,887 individuals aged 40-69 years, with complete covariate data and valid lung function measures. Cross-sectional analysesexamined associations ofLand Use Regression-based estimates ofparticulate matter (PM2.5, PM1035and PMcoarse) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations withforced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), the FEV1/FVC ratio, and COPD (FEV1/FVC 37< lower limit of normal). Effect modificationwas investigated for sex, age, obesity, smoking status, household income, asthma status, and occupations previously linked to COPD.40Higher exposures to each pollutant weresignificantly associated with lower lung function. A 5 μg/m3increase in PM2.5concentrationwas associated with lower FEV1(-83.13 mL [95%CI: -92.50, -73.75]) and FVC (-62.62 mL [95%CI:-73.91, -51.32]). COPD prevalence was associated with higher concentrations of PM2.5 (OR 1.52 [95%CI: 1.,1.62], per 5 μg/m3),PM10 (OR 1.08 [95%CI: 1.00,1.16], per 5 μg/m3), andNO2(OR 1.12 [95%CI: 1.10, 1.14], per 10 μg/m3), but not with PMcoarse.Stronger lung functionassociations were 46seenfor males, individuals from lower income households,and ‘at-risk’ occupations, and higher COPD associations for obese, lower income,and non-asthmatic participants. Ambient air pollution wasassociated with lowerlung function and increased COPD prevalencein this large study.

Journal article

Williams B, Douglas P, Roca Barcelo A, Hansell A, Hayes Eet al., 2019, Estimating Aspergillus fumigatus exposure from outdoor composting activities in England between 2005-14, Waste Management, Vol: 84, Pages: 235-244, ISSN: 1879-2456

Bioaerosols, ubiquitous in ambient air, are released in elevated concentrations from composting facilities with open-air processing areas. However, spatial and temporal variability of bioaerosols, particularly in relation to meteorology, is not well understood. Here we model relative concentrations of Aspergillus fumigatus at each postcode-weighted centroid within 4 km of 217 composting facilities in England between 2005 and 2014. Facilities were geocoded with the aid of satellite imagery. Data from existing bioaerosol modelling literature were used to build emission profiles in ADMS. Variation in input parameters between each modelled facility was reduced to a minimum. Meteorological data for each composting facility was derived from the nearest SCAIL-Agriculture validated meteorological station. According to our results, modelled exposure risk was driven primarily by wind speed, direction and time-varying emissions factors incorporating seasonal fluctuations in compostable waste. Modelled A.fumigatus concentrations decreased rapidly from the facility boundary and plateaued beyond 1.5–2.0 km. Where multiple composting facilities were within 4 km of each other, complex exposure risk patterns were evident. More long-term bioaerosol monitoring near facilities is needed to help improve exposure estimation and therefore assessment of any health risks to local populations.

Journal article

Morgan RL, Thayer KA, Santesso N, Holloway AC, Blain R, Eftim SE, Goldstone AE, Ross P, Ansari M, Akl E, Filippini T, Hansell A, Meerpohl JJ, Mustafa RA, Verbeek J, Vinceti M, Whaley P, Schunemann HJet al., 2019, A risk of bias instrument for non-randomized studies of exposures: A users' guide to its application in the context of GRADE, ENVIRONMENT INTERNATIONAL, Vol: 122, Pages: 168-184, ISSN: 0160-4120

Journal article

Wang Y, Pirani M, Hansell A, Richardson S, Blangiardo MAGet al., 2019, Using ecological propensity score to adjust for missing confounders in small area studies, Biostatistics, Vol: 20, Pages: 1-16, ISSN: 1465-4644

Small area ecological studies are commonly used in epidemiology to assess the impact of area level risk factors on health outcomes when data are only available in an aggregated form. However, the resulting estimates are often biased due to unmeasured confounders, which typically are not available from the standard administrative registries used for these studies. Extra information on confounders can be provided through external data sets such as surveys or cohorts, where the data are available at the individual level rather than at the area level; however, such data typically lack the geographical coverage of administrative registries. We develop a framework of analysis which combines ecological and individual level data from different sources to provide an adjusted estimate of area level risk factors which is less biased. Our method (i) summarizes all available individual level confounders into an area level scalar variable, which we call ecological propensity score (EPS), (ii) implements a hierarchical structured approach to impute the values of EPS whenever they are missing, and (iii) includes the estimated and imputed EPS into the ecological regression linking the risk factors to the health outcome. Through a simulation study, we show that integrating individual level data into small area analyses via EPS is a promising method to reduce the bias intrinsic in ecological studies due to unmeasured confounders; we also apply the method to a real case study to evaluate the effect of air pollution on coronary heart disease hospital admissions in Greater London.

Journal article

Ghosh RE, Freni-Sterrantino A, Douglas P, Parkes B, Fecht D, de Hoogh K, Fuller G, Gulliver J, Font A, Smith RB, Blangiardo M, Elliott P, Toledano MB, Hansell ALet al., 2019, Fetal growth, stillbirth, infant mortality and other birth outcomes near UK municipal waste incinerators; retrospective population based cohort and case-control study, Environment International, Vol: 122, Pages: 151-158, ISSN: 0160-4120

Background: Some studies have reported associations between municipal waste incinerator (MWI) exposures and adverse birth outcomes but there are few studies of modern MWIs operating to current European Union (EU) Industrial Emissions Directive standards. Methods: Associations between modelled ground-level particulate matter ≤10 μm in diameter (PM10) from MWI emissions (as a proxy for MWI emissions) within 10 km of each MWI, and selected birth and infant mortality outcomes were examined for all 22 MWIs operating in Great Britain 2003–10. We also investigated associations with proximity of residence to a MWI. Outcomes used were term birth weight, small for gestational age (SGA) at term, stillbirth, neonatal, post-neonatal and infant mortality, multiple births, sex ratio and preterm delivery sourced from national registration data from the Office for National Statistics. Analyses were adjusted for relevant confounders including year of birth, sex, season of birth, maternal age, deprivation, ethnicity and area characteristics and random effect terms were included in the models to allow for differences in baseline rates between areas and in incinerator feedstock. Results: Analyses included 1,025,064 births and 18,694 infant deaths. There was no excess risk in relation to any of the outcomes investigated during pregnancy or early life of either mean modelled MWI PM10 or proximity to an MWI. Conclusions: We found no evidence that exposure to PM10 from, or living near to, an MWI operating to current EU standards was associated with harm for any of the outcomes investigated. Results should be generalisable to other MWIs operating to similar standards.

Journal article

Piel FBJ, Brandon P, Hima D, Anna L H, Paul Eet al., 2018, The challenge of opt-outs from NHS data: a small-area perspective, Journal of Public Health, Vol: 40, Pages: e594-e600, ISSN: 1741-3842

Journal article

Pierotti L, Schofield SJ, Collett D, Fecht D, De Hoogh K, Hansell AL, Dark J, Cullinan Pet al., 2018, Traffic-related air pollution and solid organ transplant failure in Great Britain: A retrospective cohort study, Journal of Transport and Health, Vol: 10, Pages: 124-131, ISSN: 2214-1405

Background: Limited evidence suggests that exposure to traffic related air pollution is associated with graft failure among lung transplant recipients. We explored associations between pollution and transplant failure among lung and other solid organ transplant recipients in Great Britain through a retrospective cohort study. Methods: All patients who received a lung, heart, liver, or kidney transplant between 2000 and 2008 in Great Britain were included, as recorded in the National Health Service Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) register and followed to March 2015. Using residential addresses at time of transplant we calculated distance to nearest (major) road and modelled annual average exposures to airborne nitrogen oxides and particulate matter of diameter ≤10µm and ≤2.5µm for each transplant recipient. All-cause mortality or graft failure (kidney) during follow up was the main outcome; median follow-up was around 10 years for each organ type. We fitted Cox regression models with adjustment for age, sex, year of transplant and donor age/smoking status. Results: 780 lung, 1213 heart, 3650 liver and 11966 graft kidney transplant patients were analysed. We did not find any consistent associations between mortality or graft failure and any of the analysed air pollutants or road metrics. Although, exposure to particulate matter was associated with renal transplant failure in univariable analyses but not after adjustment for confounders. Conclusions: Our analysis does not confirm previously reported associations between traffic-related air pollution exposure and the risk of transplant failure.

Journal article

Fecht D, Jones A, Hill T, Lindfield T, Thomson R, Hansell AL, Shukla Ret al., 2018, Inequalities in rural communities: Adapting national deprivation indices for rural settings, Journal of Public Health, Vol: 40, Pages: 419-425, ISSN: 2198-1833

BackgroundDeprivation indices have been widely used in healthcare research and planning in the United Kingdom. Existing indices, however, are dominated by characteristics of urban populations that may be less relevant in capturing the nature of rural deprivation. We explore if deprivation indices can be modified to make them more sensitive to displaying rural disadvantage in England.MethodsThe analysis focussed on the 2011 Carstairs Index (Carstairs2011) and the 2010 English Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD2010). We removed all urban areas as identified by the Office for National Statistics Rural–Urban Area Classifications and mapped the Carstairs2011 and IMD2010 across the remaining rural areas using rural-specific quintiles.ResultsOur method was effective in displaying much greater heterogeneity in rural areas than was apparent in the original indices. We received positive feedback from Directors of Public Health who confirmed that the observed patterns mirror their experiences and first-hand knowledge on the ground.ConclusionsOur maps of Carstairs2011 and IMD2010 for rural areas might strengthen the evidence base for rural planning and service provision. The modified deprivation indices, however, were not specifically formulated for rural populations and further work is needed to explore alternative input variables to produce a more rural-specific measure of deprivation.

Journal article

Hansell AL, Bakolis I, Cowie CT, Belousova EG, Ng K, Weber-Chrysochoou C, Britton WJ, Leeder S, Tovey E, Webb K, Toelle B, Marks GBet al., 2018, Childhood fish oil supplementation modifies associations between traffic related air pollution and allergic sensitisation, Environmental Health, Vol: 17, ISSN: 1476-069X

BackgroundStudies of potential adverse effects of traffic related air pollution (TRAP) on allergic disease have had mixed findings. Nutritional studies to examine whether fish oil supplementation may protect against development of allergic disease through their anti-inflammatory actions have also had mixed findings. Extremely few studies to date have considered whether air pollution and dietary factors such as fish oil intake may interact, which was the rationale for this study.MethodsWe conducted a secondary analysis of the Childhood Asthma Prevention Study (CAPS) birth cohort, where children were randomised to fish oil supplementation or placebo from early life to age 5 years. We examined interactions between supplementation and TRAP (using weighted road density at place of residence as our measure of traffic related air pollution exposure) with allergic disease and lung function outcomes at age 5 and 8 years.ResultsOutcome information was available on approximately 400 children (~ 70% of the original birth cohort). Statistically significant interactions between fish oil supplementation and TRAP were seen for house dust mite (HDM), inhalant and all-allergen skin prick tests (SPTs) and for HDM-specific interleukin-5 response at age 5. Adjusting for relevant confounders, relative risks (RRs) for positive HDM SPT were RR 1.74 (95% CI 1.22–2.48) per 100 m local road or 33.3 m of motorway within 50 m of the home for those randomised to the control group and 1.03 (0.76–1.41) for those randomised to receive the fish oil supplement. The risk differential was highest in an analysis restricted to those who did not change address between ages 5 and 8 years. In this sub-group, supplementation also protected against the effect of traffic exposure on pre-bronchodilator FEV1/FVC ratio.ConclusionsResults suggest that fish oil supplementation may protect against pro-allergic sensitisation effects of TRAP exposure. Strengths of this analysis are that supplementat

Journal article

Cai Y, Hansell A, Hodgson S, Elliott P, Fecht D, Gulliver J, Key T, de Hoogh K, Hveem K, Morley D, Vienneau D, Blangiardo Met al., Road traffic noise, air pollution and incident cardiovascular disease: a joint analysis of the HUNT, EPIC-Oxford and UK Biobank cohorts, Environment International, ISSN: 0160-4120

Background: This study aimed to investigate the effects of long-term exposure to road traffic noiseand air pollutionon incident cardiovascular disease (CVD)in three large cohorts: HUNT, EPIC-Oxford and UK Biobank. Methods: In pooled complete-casesample of the three cohorts from Norway and the United Kingdom(N=355,732), 21,081 incident all CVD cases including 5,259ischemic heart disease (IHD)and 2,871cerebrovascular cases were ascertained between baseline (1993-2010)and end of follow-up (2008-2013)through medical recordlinkage. Annual mean 24-hour weighted road traffic noise(Lden) and air pollution (particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter ≤10 μm [PM10],≤2.5 μm [PM2.5]andnitrogen 39dioxide[NO2])exposure at baseline address was modelled using a simplified version of the Common Noise Assessment Methods in Europe (CNOSSOS-EU)and European-wide Land Use Regression models.Individual-level covariate data were harmonised and physically pooled across the three cohorts. Analysis was via Cox proportional hazard model with mutual adjustmentsforboth noise and air pollution andpotential confounders. Results: No significant associations were found between annual mean Ldenand incidentCVD,IHD or cerebrovascular disease in the overall populationexcept that the association withincident IHD was significantamong current-smokers.In the fully adjusted models including adjustmentfor Lden, an interquartile range (IQR) higher PM10(4.1μg/m3) or PM2.5(1.4μg/m3) was associated witha5.8% (95%CI: 2.5%-9.3%) and 3.7% (95%CI: 0.2%-7.4%) higherrisk for all incident CVD respectively. No significant associations were found between NO2and any of the CVD outcomes. Conclusions: We found suggestive evidence of a possible association between road traffic noise and incident IHD, consistent with current literature. Long-term particulate air pollution exposure, even at concentrations below current European air quality standards, w

Journal article

Gulliver J, Elliott P, Hansell A, Cai Y, McCrea A, Garwood K, Fecht D, Briggs Det al., 2018, Local- and regional-scale air pollution modelling (PM10) and exposure assessment for pregnancy trimesters, infancy, and childhood to age 15 years: Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents And Children (ALSPAC)., Environment International, Vol: 113, Pages: 10-19, ISSN: 0160-4120

We established air pollution modelling to study particle (PM10) exposures during pregnancy and infancy (1990–1993) through childhood and adolescence up to age ~15 years (1991–2008) for the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents And Children (ALSPAC) birth cohort. For pregnancy trimesters and infancy (birth to 6 months; 7 to 12 months) we used local (ADMS-Urban) and regional/long-range (NAME-III) air pollution models, with a model constant for local, non-anthropogenic sources. For longer exposure periods (annually and the average of birth to age ~8 and to age ~15 years to coincide with relevant follow-up clinics) we assessed spatial contrasts in local sources of PM10 with a yearly-varying concentration for all background sources. We modelled PM10 (μg/m3) for 36,986 address locations over 19 years and then accounted for changes in address in calculating exposures for different periods: trimesters/infancy (n = 11,929); each year of life to age ~15 (n = 10,383). Intra-subject exposure contrasts were largest between pregnancy trimesters (5th to 95th centile: 24.4–37.3 μg/m3) and mostly related to temporal variability in regional/long-range PM10. PM10 exposures fell on average by 11.6 μg/m3 from first year of life (mean concentration = 31.2 μg/m3) to age ~15 (mean = 19.6 μg/m3), and 5.4 μg/m3 between follow-up clinics (age ~8 to age ~15). Spatial contrasts in 8-year average PM10 exposures (5th to 95th centile) were relatively low: 25.4–30.0 μg/m3 to age ~8 years and 20.7–23.9 μg/m3 from age ~8 to age ~15 years. The contribution of local sources to total PM10 was 18.5%–19.5% during pregnancy and infancy, and 14.4%–17.0% for periods leading up to follow-up clinics. Main roads within the study area contributed on average ~3.0% to total PM10 exposures in all periods; 9.5% of address locations were within 50 m of a main road. Exposure estimates will be used in a number of planned epidemiological studies.

Journal article

Smith RB, Fecht D, Gulliver J, Beevers S, Dajnak D, Blangiardo M, Ghosh R, Hansell A, Kelly F, Anderson HR, Toledano MBet al., 2017, Impact of London's road traffic air and noise pollution on birth weight: retrospective population based cohort study, BMJ, Vol: 359, Pages: j5299-j5299, ISSN: 1756-1833

Journal article

Douglas P, Robertson S, Gay R, Hansell AL, Gant TWet al., 2017, A systematic review of the public health risks of bioaerosols from intensive farming, International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, Vol: 221, Pages: 134-173, ISSN: 1438-4639

BACKGROUND: Population growth, increasing food demands, and economic efficiency have been major driving forces behind farming intensification over recent decades. However, biological emissions (bioaerosols) from intensified livestock farming may have the potential to impact human health. Bioaerosols from intensive livestock farming have been reported to cause symptoms and/or illnesses in occupational-settings and there is concern about the potential health effects on people who live near the intensive farms. As well as adverse health effects, some potential beneficial effects have been attributed to farm exposures in early life. The aim of the study was to undertake a systematic review to evaluate potential for adverse health outcomes in populations living near intensive livestock farms. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Two electronic databases (PubMed and Scopus) and bibliographies were searched for studies reporting associations between health outcomes and bioaerosol emissions related to intensive farming published between January 1960 and April 2017, including both occupational and community studies. Two authors independently assessed studies for inclusion and extracted data. Risk of bias was assessed using a customized score. RESULTS: 38 health studies met the inclusion criteria (21 occupational and 1 community study measured bioaerosol concentrations, 16 community studies using a proxy measure for exposure). The majority of occupational studies found a negative impact on respiratory health outcomes and increases in inflammatory biomarkers among farm workers exposed to bioaerosols. Studies investigating the health of communities living near intensive farms had mixed findings. All four studies of asthma in children found increased reported asthma prevalence among children living or attending schools near an intensive farm. Papers principally investigated respiratory and immune system outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: The review indicated a potential impact of intensive farming on chil

Journal article

Doiron D, de Hoogh K, Probst-Hensch N, Mbatchou S, Eeftens M, Cai Y, Schindler C, Fortier I, Hodgson S, Gaye A, Stolk R, Hansell Aet al., 2017, Residential Air Pollution and Associations with Wheeze and Shortness of Breath in Adults: A Combined Analysis of Cross-Sectional Data from Two Large European Cohorts., Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol: 125, ISSN: 0091-6765

BACKGROUND: Research examining associations between air pollution exposure and respiratory symptoms in adults has generally been inconclusive. This may be related in part to sample size issues, which also preclude analysis in potentially vulnerable subgroups. OBJECTIVES: We estimated associations between air pollution exposures and the prevalence of wheeze and shortness of breath using harmonized baseline data from two very large European cohorts, Lifelines (2006-2013) and UK Biobank (2006-2010). Our aim was also to determine whether the relationship between air pollution and respiratory symptom prevalence differed between individuals with different characteristics. METHODS: Cross-sectional analyses explored associations between prevalence of self-reported wheeze and shortness of breath and annual mean particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter <2.5μm, 2.5-10μm, and <10μm (PM2.5, PMcoarse, and PM10, respectively) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations at place of residence using logistic regression. Subgroup analyses and tests for interaction were performed for age, sex, smoking status, household income, obesity status, and asthma status. RESULTS: All PM exposures were associated with respiratory symptoms based on single-pollutant models, with the largest associations seen for PM2.5 with prevalence of wheezing {odds ratio (OR)=1.16 per 5μg/m³ [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.11, 1.21]} and shortness of breath [OR=1.61 per 5μg/m³ (95% CI: 1.45, 1.78)]. The association between shortness of breath and a 5-μg/m³ increment in PM2.5 was significantly higher for individuals from lower-[OR=1.73 (95% CI: 1.52, 1.97)] versus higher-income households [OR=1.31 (95% CI: 1.11, 1.55); p-interaction=0.005), whereas the association between PM2.5 and wheeze was limited to lower-income participants [OR=1.30 (95% CI: 1.22, 1.38) vs. OR=1.02; (95% CI: 0.96, 1.08); p-interaction<0.001]. Exposure to NO2 also showed positive associations with

Journal article

Ghosh R, Dag Berild J, Freni Sterrantino A, Toledano MB, Hansell ALet al., 2017, Birth weight trends in England and Wales (1986– 2012): babies are getting heavier, Archives of Disease in Childhood-Fetal and Neonatal Edition, Vol: 103, Pages: F264-F270, ISSN: 1468-2052

Introduction Birth weight is a strong predictor of infant mortality, morbidity and later disease risk. Previous work from the 1980s indicated a shift in the UK towards heavier births; this descriptive analysis looks at more recent trends.Methods Office for National Statistics (ONS) registration data on 17.2 million live, single births from 1986 to 2012 were investigated for temporal trends in mean birth weight, potential years of birth weight change and changes in the proportions of very low (<1500 g), low (<2500 g) and high (≥4000 g) birth weight. Analysis used multiple linear and logistic regression adjusted for maternal age, marital status, area-level deprivation and ethnicity. Additional analyses used the ONS NHS Numbers for Babies data set for 2006–2012, which has information on individual ethnicity and gestational age.Results Over 27 years there was an increase in birth weight of 43 g (95% CI 42 to 44) in females and 44 g (95% CI 43 to 45) in males, driven by birth weight increases between 1986–1990 and 2007–2012. There was a concurrent decreased risk of having low birth weight but an 8% increased risk in males and 10% increased risk in females of having high birth weight. For 2006–2012 the birth weight increase was greater in preterm as compared with term births.Conclusions Since 1986 the birth weight distribution of live, single births in England and Wales has shifted towards heavier births, partly explained by increases in maternal age and non-white ethnicity, as well as changes in deprivation levels. Other potential influences include increases in maternal obesity and reductions in smoking prevalence particularly following the introduction of legislation restricting smoking in public places in 2007.

Journal article

Cai Y, Hodgson S, Blangiardo M, Gulliver J, Morley D, Vienneau D, de Hoogh K, Key T, Hveem K, Elliott P, Hansell Aet al., 2017, Road traffic noise and incident cardiovascular disease: a joint analysis of HUNT, EPIC-Oxford and UK Biobank, ICBEN 2017 Proceedings

Aims: This study aimed to investigate the effects of long-term exposure to road traffic noise on incident CVD in three large cohorts: HUNT, EPIC-Oxford and UK Biobank. Methods: In a complete-case sample (N=361,699), 4,014 IHD and 2,109 cerebrovascular incident cases were ascertained between baseline (1993-2010) and end of follow-up (2008-2015) through medical record linkage. Annual mean road traffic noise exposure was modelled at baseline address. Individual-level covariate data were harmonised and data were pooled. Analyses used Cox proportional hazards model with adjustments for confounders, including air pollution. Results: For an interquartile range (IQR) (3.9 dBA) higher daytime noise, a non-significant association with incident IHD was seen (Hazard ratio (HR): 1.015, 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0.989-1.042), fully adjusted. Statistically significant associations and interaction terms were seen in obese individuals (HR: 1.099, 95%CI: 1.029-1.174), and current-smokers (HR: 1.054, 95%CI: 1.007-1.103). No associations were found for ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke. Conclusions: Our study strengthens the evidence base for an effect of road traffic noise on incident IHD, whilst the association with incident stroke remains unclear.

Journal article

Hansell A, Cai Y, Gulliver J, 2017, Cardiovascular Health Effects of Road Traffic Noise, Environmental Impacts of Road Vehicles Past, Present and Future, Publisher: Issues in Environmental Scienc, ISBN: 9781782628927

This book is a comprehensive source of authoritative information for students studying pollution, and for policy-makers concerned with vehicle emissions and road traffic impacts more generally.

Book chapter

Dimakopoulou K, Koutentakis K, Papageorgiou I, Kasdagli M-I, Haralabidis AS, Sourtzi P, Samoli E, Houthuijs D, Swart W, Hansell AL, Katsouyanni Ket al., 2017, Is aircraft noise exposure associated with cardiovascular disease and hypertension? Results from a cohort study in Athens, Greece., Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Vol: 74, Pages: 830-837, ISSN: 1351-0711

BACKGROUND: We followed up, in 2013, the subjects who lived near the Athens International Airport and had participated in the cross-sectional multicountry HYENA study in 2004-2006. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association of exposure to aircraft and road traffic noise with the incidence of hypertension and other cardiovascular outcomes. METHODS: From the 780 individuals who participated in the cross-sectional study, 537 were still living in the same area and 420 accepted to participate in the follow-up. Aircraft and road traffic noise exposure was based on the estimations conducted in 2004-2006, linking geocoded residential addresses of the participants to noise levels. We applied multiple logistic regression and Cox proportional hazards models, adjusting for potential confounders. RESULTS: The incidence of hypertension was significantly associated with higher aircraft noise exposure during the night. Specifically, the OR for hypertension per 10 dB increase in Lnight aircraft noise exposure was 2.63 (95% CI 1.21 to 5.71). Doctor-diagnosed cardiac arrhythmia was significantly associated with Lnight aircraft noise exposure, when prevalent and incident cases were considered with an OR of 2.09 (95% CI 1.07 to 4.08). Stroke risk was also increased with increasing noise exposure but the association was not significant. Twenty-four-hour road traffic noise associations with the outcomes considered were weaker and less consistent. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, our cohort study suggests that long-term exposure to aircraft noise, particularly during the night, is associated with incident hypertension and possibly, also, cardiovascular effects.

Journal article

Cai Y, Hansell A, Blangiardo M, Burton P, de Hoogh K, Doiron D, Fortier I, Gulliver J, Hveem K, Mbatchou S, Morley D, Stolk R, Zijlema W, Elliott P, Hodgson Set al., 2017, Long-term exposure to road traffic noise, ambient air pollution and cardiovascular risk factors in the HUNT and Lifelines cohorts, European Heart Journal, Vol: 38, Pages: 2290-2296, ISSN: 1522-9645

AimsBlood biochemistry may provide information on associations between road traffic noise, air pollution, and cardiovascular disease risk. We evaluated this in two large European cohorts (HUNT3, Lifelines).Methods and resultsRoad traffic noise exposure was modelled for 2009 using a simplified version of the Common Noise Assessment Methods in Europe (CNOSSOS-EU). Annual ambient air pollution (PM10, NO2) at residence was estimated for 2007 using a Land Use Regression model. The statistical platform DataSHIELD was used to pool data from 144 082 participants aged ≥20 years to enable individual-level analysis. Generalized linear models were fitted to assess cross-sectional associations between pollutants and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), blood lipids and for (Lifelines only) fasting blood glucose, for samples taken during recruitment in 2006–2013. Pooling both cohorts, an inter-quartile range (IQR) higher day-time noise (5.1 dB(A)) was associated with 1.1% [95% confidence interval (95% CI: 0.02–2.2%)] higher hsCRP, 0.7% (95% CI: 0.3–1.1%) higher triglycerides, and 0.5% (95% CI: 0.3–0.7%) higher high-density lipoprotein (HDL); only the association with HDL was robust to adjustment for air pollution. An IQR higher PM10 (2.0 µg/m3) or NO2 (7.4 µg/m3) was associated with higher triglycerides (1.9%, 95% CI: 1.5–2.4% and 2.2%, 95% CI: 1.6–2.7%), independent of adjustment for noise. Additionally for NO2, a significant association with hsCRP (1.9%, 95% CI: 0.5–3.3%) was seen. In Lifelines, an IQR higher noise (4.2 dB(A)) and PM10 (2.4 µg/m3) was associated with 0.2% (95% CI: 0.1–0.3%) and 0.6% (95% CI: 0.4–0.7%) higher fasting glucose respectively, with both remaining robust to adjustment for air/noise pollution.ConclusionLong-term exposures to road traffic noise and ambient air pollution were associated with blood biochemistry, providing a possible link b

Journal article

Cai Y, Hodgson S, Blangiardo M, De Hoogh K, Morley D, Gulliver J, Hveem K, Elliott P, Hansell Aet al., 2017, Ambient Air Pollution, Traffic Noise And Adult-Onset Asthma: The Hunt Study, Norway, International Conference of the American-Thoracic-Society (ATS), Publisher: American Thoracic Society, ISSN: 1073-449X

Conference paper

Basner M, Clark C, Hansell A, Hileman JI, Janssen S, Shepherd K, Sparrow Vet al., 2017, Aviation Noise Impacts: State of the Science, Noise and Health, Vol: 19, Pages: 41-50, ISSN: 1463-1741

Noise is defined as “unwanted sound.” Aircraft noise is one, if not the most detrimental environmental effect of aviation. It can cause community annoyance, disrupt sleep, adversely affect academic performance of children, and could increase the risk for cardiovascular disease of people living in the vicinity of airports. In some airports, noise constrains air traffic growth. This consensus paper was prepared by the Impacts of Science Group of the Committee for Aviation Environmental Protection of the International Civil Aviation Organization and summarizes the state of the science of noise effects research in the areas of noise measurement and prediction, community annoyance, children’s learning, sleep disturbance, and health. It also briefly discusses civilian supersonic aircraft as a future source of aviation noise.

Journal article

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