Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

Senior Lecturer in Air Quality Measurement



+44 (0)20 7594 3307g.fuller Website




Building E - Sir Michael UrenWhite City Campus





Publication Type

67 results found

Tremper A, Jephcote C, Gulliver J, Hibbs L, Green D, Font A, Priestman M, Hansell A, Fuller Get al., 2022, Sources of particle number concentration and noise near London Gatwick Airport, Environment International, Vol: 161, ISSN: 0160-4120

There is increasing evidence of potential health impacts from both aircraft noise and aircraft-associated ultrafine particles (UFP). Measurements of noise and UFP are however scarce near airports and so their variability and relationship are not well understood. Particle number size distributions and noise levels were measured at two locations near Gatwick airport (UK) in 2018–19 with the aim to characterize particle number concentrations (PNC) and link PNC sources, especially UFP, with noise. Positive Matrix Factorization was used on particle number size distribution to identify these sources. Mean PNC (7500–12,000 p cm−3) were similar to those measured close to a highly trafficked road in central London. Peak PNC (94,000 p cm−3) were highest at the site closer to the runway. The airport source factor contributed 17% to the PNC at both sites and the concentrations were greatest when the respective sites were downwind of the runway. However, the main source of PNC was associated with traffic emissions. At both sites noise levels were above the recommendations by the WHO (World Health Organisation). Regression models of identified UFP sources and noise suggested that the largest source of noise (LAeq-1hr) above background was associated with sources of fresh traffic and urban UFP depending on the site. Noise and UFP correlations were moderate to low suggesting that UFP are unlikely to be an important confounder in epidemiological studies of aircraft noise and health. Correlations between UFP and noise were affected by meteorological factors, which need to be considered in studies of short-term associations between aircraft noise and health.

Journal article

Ciupek K, Quincey P, Green DC, Butterfield D, Fuller GWet al., 2021, Challenges and policy implications of long-term changes in mass absorption cross-section derived from equivalent black carbon and elemental carbon measurements in London and south-east England in 2014-2019, Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts, Vol: 23, Pages: 1949-1960, ISSN: 2050-7895

Determining the concentration of carbonaceous particles in ambient air is important for climate modelling, source attribution and air quality management. This study presents the difficulties associated with the interpretation of apparent long-term changes in the mass absorption cross section (MAC) of carbonaceous particles in London and south-east England based on equivalent black carbon (eBC) and elemental carbon (EC) measurements between 2014 and 2019. Although these two measurement techniques were used to determine the concentration of carbonaceous aerosols, the concentrations of eBC and EC changed at different rates at all sites, and exhibited different long-term trends. eBC measurements obtained using aethalometer instruments for traffic and urban background sites demonstrated consistent trends, showing decreases in concentrations of up to −12.5% y−1. The EC concentrations showed no change at the urban background location, a similar change to eBC at the traffic site and a significant upward trend of +10% y−1 was observed at the rural site. Despite these differences, the trends in the MAC values decreased at all sites in a similar way, with rates of change from −5.5% y−1 to −10.1% y−1. The different trends and magnitudes of change for the eBC and EC concentrations could lead to uncertainty in quantifying the efficacy of intervention measures and to different conclusions for policy making. This paper provides possible explanations of the observed decrease in MAC values over time.

Journal article

Fowler D, Brimblecombe P, Burrows J, Heal MR, Grennfelt P, Stevenson DS, Jowett A, Nemitz E, Coyle M, Lui X, Chang Y, Fuller GW, Sutton MA, Klimont Z, Unsworth MH, Vieno Met al., 2020, A chronology of global air quality., Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, Vol: 378, Pages: 1-28, ISSN: 1364-503X

Air pollution has been recognized as a threat to human health since the time of Hippocrates, ca 400 BC. Successive written accounts of air pollution occur in different countries through the following two millennia until measurements, from the eighteenth century onwards, show the growing scale of poor air quality in urban centres and close to industry, and the chemical characteristics of the gases and particulate matter. The industrial revolution accelerated both the magnitude of emissions of the primary pollutants and the geographical spread of contributing countries as highly polluted cities became the defining issue, culminating with the great smog of London in 1952. Europe and North America dominated emissions and suffered the majority of adverse effects until the latter decades of the twentieth century, by which time the transboundary issues of acid rain, forest decline and ground-level ozone became the main environmental and political air quality issues. As controls on emissions of sulfur and nitrogen oxides (SO2 and NO x ) began to take effect in Europe and North America, emissions in East and South Asia grew strongly and dominated global emissions by the early years of the twenty-first century. The effects of air quality on human health had also returned to the top of the priorities by 2000 as new epidemiological evidence emerged. By this time, extensive networks of surface measurements and satellite remote sensing provided global measurements of both primary and secondary pollutants. Global emissions of SO2 and NO x peaked, respectively, in ca 1990 and 2018 and have since declined to 2020 as a result of widespread emission controls. By contrast, with a lack of actions to abate ammonia, global emissions have continued to grow. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'Air quality, past present and future'.

Journal article

Yang Z, Freni Sterrantino A, Fuller G, Gulliver Jet al., 2020, Development and Transferability of Ultrafine Particle Land Use Regression Models in London, Science of the Total Environment, Vol: 740, ISSN: 0048-9697

Due to a lack of routine monitoring, bespoke measurements are required to develop ultrafine particle (UFP) land use regression (LUR) models, which is especially challenging in megacities due to their large area. As an alternative, for London, we developed separate models for three urban residential areas, models combining two areas, and models using all three areas. Models were developed against annual mean ultrafine particle count cm−3 estimated from repeated 30-min fixed-site measurements, in different seasons (2016–2018), at forty sites per area, that were subsequently temporally adjusted using continuous measurements from a single reference site within or close to each area. A single model and 10 models were developed for each individual area and combination of areas. Within each area, sites were split into 10 groups using stratified random sampling. Each of the 10 models were developed using 90% of sites. Hold-out validation was performed by pooling the 10% of sites held-out each time. The transferability of models was tested by applying individual and two-area models to external area(s). In model evaluation, within-area mean squared error (MSE) R2 ranged from 14% to 48%. Transferring individual- and combined-area models to external areas without calibration yielded MSE-R2 ranging from −18 to 0. MSE-R2 was in the range 21% to 41% when using particle number count (PNC) measurements in external areas to calibrate models. Our results suggest that the UFP models could be transferred to other areas without calibration in London to assess relative ranking in exposures but not for estimating absolute values of PNC.

Journal article

Barratt BM, Fuller GW, Kelly FJ, Priestman M, Tremper AH, Green DCet al., 2020, PM2.5 on the London Underground, Environment International, Vol: 134, ISSN: 0160-4120

Introduction: Despite the London Underground (LU) handling on average 2.8 million passenger journeys per day, the characteristics and potential health effects of the elevated concentrations of metal-rich PM2.5 found in this subway system are not well understood. Methods: Spatial monitoring campaigns were carried out to characterise the health-relevant chemical and physical properties of PM2.5 across the LU network, including diurnal and day-to-day variability and spatial distribution (above ground, depth below ground and subway line). Population-weighted station PM2.5 rankings were produced to understand the relative importance of concentrations at different stations and on different lines. Results: The PM2.5 mass in the LU (mean 88 μg m−3, median 28 μg m−3) was greater than at ambient background locations (mean 19 μg m−3, median 14 μg m−3) and roadside environments in central London (mean 22 μg m−3, median 14 μg m−3). Concentrations varied between lines and locations, with the deepest and shallowest submerged lines being the District (median 4 μg m−3) and Victoria (median 361 μg m−3 but up to 885 μg m−3). Broadly in agreement with other subway systems around the world, sampled LU PM2.5 comprised 47% iron oxide, 7% elemental carbon, 11% organic carbon, and 14% metallic and mineral oxides. Although a relationship between line depth and air quality inside the tube trains was evident, there were clear influences relating to the distance from cleaner outside air and the exchange with cabin air when the doors open. The passenger population-weighted exposure analysis demonstrated a method to identify stations that should be prioritised for remediation to improve air quality. Conclusion: PM2.5 concentrations in the LU are many times higher than in other London transport Environments. Failure to include this environment in epidemiological studies of the relationship between PM2.5 and health in

Journal article

Rivas I, Beddows DCS, Amato F, Green DC, Järvi L, Hueglin C, Reche C, Timonen H, Fuller GW, Niemi JV, Pérez N, Aurela M, Hopke PK, Alastuey A, Kulmala M, Harrison RM, Querol X, Kelly FJet al., 2020, Source apportionment of particle number size distribution in urban background and traffic stations in four European cities, Environment International, Vol: 135, ISSN: 0160-4120

Ultrafine particles (UFP) are suspected of having significant impacts on health. However, there have only been a limited number of studies on sources of UFP compared to larger particles. In this work, we identified and quantified the sources and processes contributing to particle number size distributions (PNSD) using Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF) at six monitoring stations (four urban background and two street canyon) from four European cities: Barcelona, Helsinki, London, and Zurich. These cities are characterised by different meteorological conditions and emissions. The common sources across all stations were Photonucleation, traffic emissions (3 sources, from fresh to aged emissions: Traffic nucleation, Fresh traffic - mode diameter between 13 and 37 nm, and Urban - mode diameter between 44 and 81 nm, mainly traffic but influenced by other sources in some cities), and Secondary particles. The Photonucleation factor was only directly identified by PMF for Barcelona, while an additional split of the Nucleation factor (into Photonucleation and Traffic nucleation) by using NOx concentrations as a proxy for traffic emissions was performed for all other stations. The sum of all traffic sources resulted in a maximum relative contributions ranging from 71 to 94% (annual average) thereby being the main contributor at all stations. In London and Zurich, the relative contribution of the sources did not vary significantly between seasons. In contrast, the high levels of solar radiation in Barcelona led to an important contribution of Photonucleation particles (ranging from 14% during the winter period to 35% during summer). Biogenic emissions were a source identified only in Helsinki (both in the urban background and street canyon stations), that contributed importantly during summer (23% in urban background). Airport emissions contributed to Nucleation particles at urban background sites, as the highest concentrations of this source took place when the wind

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

D'Antoni D, Auyeung V, Walton H, Fuller GW, Grieve A, Weinman Jet al., 2019, The effect of evidence and theory-based health advice accompanying smartphone air quality alerts on adherence to preventative recommendations during poor air quality days, A randomised controlled trial, Vol: 124, Pages: 216-235, ISSN: 0160-4120

Although poor air quality can have a negative impact on human health, studies have shown suboptimal levels of adherence to health advice associated with air quality alerts. The present study compared the behavioural impact of the UK Air Quality Index (DAQI) with an alternative message format, using a 2 (general population vs. at-risk individuals) X 2 (usual DAQI messages vs. behaviourally enhanced messages) factorial design. Messages were sent via a smartphone application. Eighty-two participants were randomly allocated to the experimental groups. It was found that the enhanced messages (targeting messages specificity and psychosocial predictors of behaviour change) increased intentions to make permanent behavioural changes to reduce exposure, compared to the control group (V = 0.23). This effect was mediated by a reduced perception of not having enough time to follow the health advice received (b = −0.769, BCa CI [−2.588, 0.533]). It was also found that higher worry about air pollution, perceived severity, perceived efficacy of the recommended behaviour and self-efficacy were predictive of self-reported behaviour change at four weeks. In response to a real moderate air quality alert, among those with a pre-existing lung condition, more respondents in the intervention group reported to have used their preventer inhaler compared to the control group (V = 0.49). On the other hand, the two message formats performed similarly when intentions were collected in relation to a hypothetical high air pollution scenario, with all groups showing relatively high intentions to change behaviours. This study expands the currently limited understanding of how to improve the behavioural impact of existing air quality alerts.

Journal article

Gulliver J, Chen Y, Fuller G, Tremper A, Hibbs L, Soussan J, Vineis P, Hansell Aet al., 2019, Do ultrafine particles confound studies on noise and cardiovascular disease?, Pages: 3040-3047, ISSN: 2226-7808

Ultrafine particles (UFP) are emitted by both jet engine aircraft and road traffic and may potentially confound associations between noise and health outcomes. However, neither UFP or noise are routinely measured resulting in a lack of understanding of their relationship. We conducted repeated short-term measurements with portable sensors to assess the correlation between noise and UFP number concentrations (PNC) for aircraft and road traffic. Noise and PNC were measured contemporaneously for 30-minutes at 160 sites (repeated three times at a range of site types) in Norwich, a medium size city in the east of England, and repeatedly up to 71 times per site at nine sites (501 in total) around Gatwick airport. In Combining all measurements at Gatwick Airport the correlation was very weak (U = 0.11). Strongest correlations were moderate (|>0.4-0.6|) at a residential site 1.3 km north of the runway and a site 0.6 km south of the runway. The correlation between noise and PNC in Norwich was overall moderate (U = 0.52) and weak (U <0.4) for roadside sites (n = 55) and urban background sites (n = 90) respectively. Results suggest that PNC are unlikely to be a major confounder in epidemiological studies of aircraft or road noise and cardiovascular disease.

Conference paper

Mudway IS, Dundas I, Wood HE, Marlin N, Jamaludin JB, Bremner SA, Cross L, Grieve A, Nanzer A, Barratt BM, Beevers S, Dajnak D, Fuller GW, Font A, Colligan G, Sheikh A, Walton R, Grigg J, Kelly FJ, Lee TH, Griffiths CJet al., 2019, Impact of London's low emission zone on air quality and children's respiratory health, The Lancet Public Health, Vol: 4, Pages: e28-e40, ISSN: 2468-2667

BACKGROUND: Low emission zones (LEZ) are an increasingly common, but unevaluated, intervention aimed at improving urban air quality and public health. We investigated the impact of London's LEZ on air quality and children's respiratory health.METHODS: We did a sequential annual cross-sectional study of 2164 children aged 8-9 years attending primary schools between 2009-10 and 2013-14 in central London, UK, following the introduction of London's LEZ in February, 2008. We examined the association between modelled pollutant exposures of nitrogen oxides (including nitrogen dioxide [NO2]) and particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2·5 μm (PM2·5) and less than 10 μm (PM10) and lung function: postbronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1, primary outcome), forced vital capacity (FVC), and respiratory or allergic symptoms. We assigned annual exposures by each child's home and school address, as well as spatially resolved estimates for the 3 h (0600-0900 h), 24 h, and 7 days before each child's assessment, to isolate long-term from short-term effects.FINDINGS: The percentage of children living at addresses exceeding the EU limit value for annual NO2 (40 μg/m3) fell from 99% (444/450) in 2009 to 34% (150/441) in 2013. Over this period, we identified a reduction in NO2 at both roadside (median -1·35 μg/m3 per year; 95% CI -2·09 to -0·61; p=0·0004) and background locations (-0·97; -1·56 to -0·38; p=0·0013), but not for PM10. The effect on PM2·5 was equivocal. We found no association between postbronchodilator FEV1 and annual residential pollutant attributions. By contrast, FVC was inversely correlated with annual NO2 (-0·0023 L/μg per m3; -0·0044 to -0·0002; p=0·033) and PM10 (-0·0090 L/μg per m3; -0·0175 to -0·0005; p=0·038).INTERPRETATION: Within London's LEZ, a smaller lung volume in children was associated

Journal article

Font A, Guiseppin L, Blangiardo M, Ghersi V, Fuller GWet al., 2019, A tale of two cities, is air pollution improving in Paris and London?, Vol: 249, Pages: 1-12, ISSN: 0269-7491

Paris and London are Europe's two megacities and both experience poor air quality with systemic breaches of the NO 2 limit value. Policy initiatives have been taken to address this: some European-wide (e.g. Euro emission standards); others local (e.g. Low Emission Zone, LEZ). Trends in NO X, NO 2 and particulate matter (PM 10, PM 2.5) for 2005-2016 in background and roadside locations; and trends in traffic increments were calculated in both cities to address their impact. Trends in traffic counts and the distribution in Euro standards for diesel vehicles were also evaluated. Linear-mixed effect models were built to determine the main determinants of traffic concentrations. There was an overall increase in roadside NO 2 in 2005-2009 in both cities followed by a decrease of ∼5% year -1 from 2010. Downward trends were associated with the introduction of Euro V heavy vehicles. Despite NO 2 decreasing, at current rates, roads will need 20 (Paris) and 193 years (London) to achieve the European Limit Value (40 μg m -3 annual mean). Euro 5 light diesel vehicles were associated with the decrease in roadside PM 10. An increase in motorcycles in London since 2010 contributed to the lack of significant trend in PM 2.5 roadside increment in 2010-16.

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

Reyna-Bensusan N, Wilson DC, Davy PM, Fuller GW, Fowler GD, Smith SRet al., 2019, Experimental measurements of black carbon emission factors to estimate the global impact of uncontrolled burning of waste, ATMOSPHERIC ENVIRONMENT, Vol: 213, Pages: 629-639, ISSN: 1352-2310

Open burning is a widely practiced method of solid waste disposal in many regions of the world and represents a significant source of air pollution. Black carbon (BC) is a particularly serious air pollutant emitted from the uncontrolled burning of waste in open fires because it has a global warming potential (GWP) up to 5000 times greater than carbon dioxide (CO2) and is also linked to detrimental health impacts. However, few quantitative measurements of BC from open burning have been completed to establish the extent and impacts of this emission source on the environment. Emission factors (EFs) for BC from burning mixed solid waste samples were measured in the laboratory based on waste compositions in a representative developing country (Mexico). Black carbon EFs were also derived for individual waste types, including: green waste, different types of plastics, textiles and paper and cardboard. Individual waste BC EFs were combined using waste composition data from different areas of the world to estimate regional and global BC emissions from this source. The results demonstrated that BC emissions from open burning of waste have a significant climate impact, equivalent to 2–10% of global CO2Eq emissions. Global BC CO2Eq emissions from burning waste are 2–8 times larger compared to methane (CH4) CO2Eq emissions arising from the decomposition of equivalent amounts of combustible biodegradable waste disposed at dumpsites. Action to reduce open burning of waste would have a significant and immediate benefit to improving air quality and reducing the potential impact on climate change.

Journal article

Blangiardo M, Pirani M, Kanapka L, Hansell A, Fuller Get al., 2019, A hierarchical modelling approach to assess multi pollutant effects in time-series studies, PL o S One, Vol: 14, ISSN: 1932-6203

When assessing the short-term effect of air pollution on health outcomes, it is common practice to consider one pollutant at a time, due to their high correlation. Multi pollutant methods have been recently proposed, mainly consisting of collapsing the different pollutants into air quality indexes or clustering the pollutants and then evaluating the effect of each cluster on the health outcome. A major drawback of such approaches is that it is not possible to evaluate the health impact of each pollutant. In this paper we propose the use of the Bayesian hierarchical framework to deal with multi pollutant concentrations in a two-component model: a pollutant model is specified to estimate the 'true' concentration values for each pollutant and then such concentration is linked to the health outcomes in a time-series perspective. Through a simulation study we evaluate the model performance and we apply the modelling framework to investigate the effect of six pollutants on cardiovascular mortality in Greater London in 2011-2012.

Journal article

Fuller GW, Font A, 2019, Keeping air pollution policies on track, Science (New York, N.Y.), Vol: 365, Pages: 322-323, ISSN: 1095-9203

Journal article

Green DC, Fuller GW, 2019, Evaluation of tire wear contribution to PM2.5 in urban environments, Atmosphere, Vol: 10

Vehicle-related particulate matter (PM) emissions may arise from both exhaust andnon-exhaust mechanisms, such as brake wear, tire wear, and road pavement abrasion, each ofwhich may be emitted directly and indirectly through resuspension of settled road dust. Severalresearchers have indicated that the proportion of PM2.5 attributable to vehicle traffic will increasingly come from non-exhaust sources. Currently, very little empirical data is available to characterize tire and road wear particles (TRWP) in the PM2.5 fraction. As such, this study was undertaken to quantify TRWP in PM2.5 at roadside locations in urban centers including London, Tokyo and Los Angeles, where vehicle traffic is an important contributor to ambient air PM. The samples were analyzed using validated chemical markers for tire tread polymer based on a pyrolysis technique. Results indicated that TRWP concentrations in the PM2.5 fraction were low, with averages ranging from < 0.004 to 0.10 g/m3, representing an average contribution to total PM2.5 of 0.27%. The TRWP levels in PM2.5 were significantly different between the three cities, with significant differences between London and Los Angeles and Tokyo and Los Angeles. There was no significant correlation between TRWP in PM2.5 and traffic count. This study provides an initial dataset to understand potential human exposure to airborne TRWP and the potential contribution of this non-exhaust emission source to total PM2.5.

Journal article

FULLER G, 2018, INVISIBLE KILLER The Rising Global Threat of Air Pollution - and how We Can Fight Back, ISBN: 9781911545194

The Invisible Killer will take you on a journey from London to Los Angeles to Beijing, challenging our ideas of what creates air pollution and how we measure it, and introducing us to incredible individuals whose groundbreaking research ...


Douglas P, Freni-Sterrantino A, Leal Sanchez M, Ashworth DC, Ghosh RE, Fecht D, Font A, Blangiardo M, Gulliver J, Toledano MB, Elliott P, De Hoogh K, Fuller GW, Hansell ALet al., 2017, Estimating Particulate Exposure from Modern Municipal Waste Incinerators in Great Britain, Environmental science & technology, Vol: 51, Pages: 7511-7519, ISSN: 0013-936X

Municipal Waste Incineration (MWI) is regulated through the European Union Directive on Industrial Emissions (IED), but there is ongoing public concern regarding potential hazards to health. Using dispersion modeling, we estimated spatial variability in PM10 concentrations arising from MWIs at postcodes (average 12 households) within 10 km of MWIs in Great Britain (GB) in 2003-2010. We also investigated change points in PM10 emissions in relation to introduction of EU Waste Incineration Directive (EU-WID) (subsequently transposed into IED) and correlations of PM10 with SO2, NOx, heavy metals, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins/furan (PCDD/F), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) emissions. Yearly average modeled PM10 concentrations were 1.00 × 10-5 to 5.53 × 10-2 μg m-3, a small contribution to ambient background levels which were typically 6.59-2.68 × 101 μg m-3, 3-5 orders of magnitude higher. While low, concentration surfaces are likely to represent a spatial proxy of other relevant pollutants. There were statistically significant correlations between PM10 and heavy metal compounds (other heavy metals (r = 0.43, p = <0.001)), PAHs (r = 0.20, p = 0.050), and PCBs (r = 0.19, p = 0.022). No clear change points were detected following EU-WID implementation, possibly as incinerators were operating to EU-WID standards before the implementation date. Results will be used in an epidemiological analysis examining potential associations between MWIs and health outcomes.

Journal article

Davy PM, Tremper AH, Nicolosi EMG, Quincey P, Fuller GWet al., 2017, Estimating particulate black carbon concentrations using two offline light absorption methods applied to four types of filter media, ATMOSPHERIC ENVIRONMENT, Vol: 152, Pages: 24-33, ISSN: 1352-2310

Atmospheric particulate black carbon has been linked to adverse health outcomes. Additional black carbon measurements would aid a better understanding of population exposure in epidemiological studies as well as the success, or otherwise, of relevant abatement technologies and policies. Two light absorption measurement methods of particles collected on filters have been applied to four different types of filters to provide estimations of particulate black carbon concentrations. The ratio of transmittance (lnI0/I) to reflectance (lnR0/R) varied by filter type and ranged from close to 0.5 (as expected from simple theory) to 1.35 between the four filter types tested. The relationship between light absorption and black carbon, measured by the thermal EC(TOT) method, was nonlinear and differed between filter type and measurement method. This is particularly relevant to epidemiological studies that use light absorption as an exposure metric. An extensive archive of filters was used to derive loading factors and mass extinction coefficients for each filter type. Particulate black carbon time series were then calculated at locations where such measurements were not previously available. When applied to two roads in London, black carbon concentrations were found to have increased between 2011 and 2013, by 0.3 (CI: −0.1, 0.5) and 0.4 (CI: 0.1, 0.9) μg m−3 year−1, in contrast to the expectation from exhaust abatement policies. New opportunities using archived or bespoke filter collections for studies on the health effects of black carbon and the efficacy of abatement strategies are created.

Journal article

Piel FB, Tewari S, Brousse V, Analitis A, Font A, Menzel S, Chakravorty S, Thein SL, Inusa B, Telfer P, de Montalembert M, Fuller G, Katsouyanni K, Rees Det al., 2017, Associations between environmental factors and hospital admissions for sickle cell disease, Haematologica, Vol: 102, Pages: 666-675, ISSN: 0390-6078

Sickle cell disease is an increasing global health burden. This inherited disease is characterized by a remarkable phenotypic heterogeneity, which can only partly be explained by genetic factors. Environmental factors are likely to play an important role but studies of their impact on disease severity are limited and their results are often inconsistent. This study investigated associations between a range of environmental factors and hospital admissions of young patients with sickle cell disease in London and in Paris between 2008 and 2012. Specific analyses were conducted for subgroups of patients with different genotypes and for the main reasons for admissions. Generalized additive models and distributed lag non-linear models were used to assess the magnitude of the associations and to calculate relative risks. Some environmental factors significantly influence the numbers of hospital admissions of children with sickle cell disease, although the associations identified are complicated. Our study suggests that meteorological factors are more likely to be associated with hospital admissions for sickle cell disease than air pollutants. It confirms previous reports of risks associated with wind speed (risk ratio: 1.06/stan-dard deviation; 95% confidence interval: 1.00-1.12) and also with rainfall (1.06/standard deviation; 95% confidence interval: 1.01-1.12). Maximum atmospheric pressure was found to be a protective factor (0.93/standard deviation; 95% confidence interval: 0.88-0.99). Weak or no associations were found with temperature. Divergent associations were identified for different genotypes or reasons for admissions, which could partly explain the lack of consistency in earlier studies. Advice to patients with sickle cell disease usually includes avoiding a range of environmental conditions that are believed to trigger acute complications, including extreme temperatures and high altitudes. Scientific evidence to support such advice is limited and sometimes con

Journal article

Ropkins K, DeFries TH, Pope F, Green DC, Kemper J, Kishan S, Fuller GW, Li H, Sidebottom J, Crilley LR, Kramer L, Bloss WJ, Stewart Hager Jet al., 2017, Evaluation of EDAR vehicle emissions remote sensing technology, Science of the Total Environment, Vol: 609, Pages: 1464-1474, ISSN: 0048-9697

Despite much work in recent years, vehicle emissions remain a significant contributor in many areas where air quality standards are under threat. Policy-makers are actively exploring options for next generation vehicle emission control and local fleet management policies, and new monitoring technologies to aid these activities. Therefore, we report here on findings from two separate but complementary blind evaluation studies of one new-to-market real-world monitoring option, HEAT LLC's Emission Detection And Reporting system or EDAR, an above-road open path instrument that uses Differential Absorption LIDAR to provide a highly sensitive and selective measure of passing vehicle emissions. The first study, by Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Eastern Research Group, was a simulated exhaust gas test exercise used to investigate the instrumental accuracy of the EDAR. Here, CO, NO, CH4 and C3H8 measurements were found to exhibit high linearity, low bias, and low drift over a wide range of concentrations and vehicle speeds. Instrument accuracy was high (R2 0.996 for CO, 0.998 for NO; 0.983 for CH4; and 0.976 for C3H8) and detection limits were 50 to 100 ppm for CO, 10 to 30 ppm for NO, 15 to 35 ppmC for CH4, and, depending on vehicle speed, 100 to 400 ppmC3 for C3H8. The second study, by the Universities of Birmingham and Leeds and King's College London, used the comparison of EDAR, on-board Portable Emissions Measurement System (PEMS) and car chaser (SNIFFER) system measurements collected under real-world conditions to investigate in situ EDAR performance. Given the analytical challenges associated with aligning these very different measurements, the observed agreements (e.g. EDAR versus PEMS R2 0.92 for CO/CO2; 0.97 for NO/CO2; ca. 0.82 for NO2/CO2; and, 0.94 for PM/CO2) were all highly encouraging and indicate that EDAR also provides a representative measure of vehicle emissions under real-world conditions.

Journal article

Nicolosi EMG, Quincey P, Font A, Fuller GWet al., 2017, Light attenuation versus evolved carbon (AVEC) – A new way to look at elemental and organic carbon analysis, ATMOSPHERIC ENVIRONMENT, Vol: 175, Pages: 145-153, ISSN: 1352-2310

Abstract The Attenuation Versus Evolved Carbon (AVEC) plot is a new way to represent thermal-optical organic carbon/elemental carbon (OC/EC) analysis data. The accumulated carbon concentration is plotted against the attenuation (ln (I0/I)). Unlike the thermogram, it provides information about the sample properties rather than the instantaneous instrument sensor status. The plot can be used to refine the determination of OC and EC split point, either from consideration of laser instability or transit time within the instrument; to investigate the optical properties of the particles; and to spot the early evolution of pyrolysed carbon (PC) and/or EC during the inert phase. 168 samples from three sites were studied. The gradient of the AVEC plot curve in the oxygenated phase provides information about the mass absorption cross section (σ) of the particles leaving the filter. The σ of the PC generated in the higher temperature Quartz protocol was greater than the PC generated in the lower temperature EUSAAR_2 protocol. Also, in both cases the PC evolved at a lower temperature in the oxygenated phase than the native EC. To minimise the shadowing effect, σ was also measured for the particles leaving the filter at the end of the analysis. These σ values, which are expected to be a combination of inherent σ together with fixed instrumental factors, were consistent between the different sites (45 ± 10 m2 g−1 in rural samples, 42 ± 8 m2 g−1 in urban samples and 35 ± 14 m2 g−1 in roadside samples). The AVEC plot can be generated from the data routinely produced by the analytical instrument using the R-code supplied in the supplementary material. The Attenuation Versus Evolved Carbon (AVEC) plot is a new way to represent thermal-optical organic carbon/elemental carbon (OC/EC) analysis data. The accumulated carbon concentration is plotted against the attenuation (ln (I0/I)). Unlike the thermogram, it provides i

Journal article

Font A, Fuller GW, 2016, Did policies to abate atmospheric emissions from traffic have a positive effect in London?, Environmental Pollution, Vol: 218, Pages: 463-474, ISSN: 0269-7491

A large number of policy initiatives are being taken at the European level, across the United Kingdom and in London to improve air quality and reduce population exposure to harmful pollutants from traffic emissions. Trends in roadside increments of nitrogen oxides (NOX), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particulate matter (PM), black carbon (CBLK) and carbon dioxide (CO2) were examined at 65 London monitoring sites for two periods of time: 2005–2009 and 2010–2014. Between 2005 and 2009 there was an overall increase in NO2 reflecting the growing evidence of real world emissions from diesel vehicles. Conversely, NO2 decreased by 10%·year−1 from 2010 onwards along with PM2.5 (−28%·year−1) and black carbon (−11%·year−1). Downwards trends in air pollutants were not fully explained by changes in traffic counts therefore traffic exhaust emission abatement policies were proved to be successful in some locations. PM10 concentrations showed no significant overall change suggesting an increase in coarse particles which offset the decrease in tailpipe emissions; this was especially the case on roads in outer London where an increase in the number of Heavy Good Vehicles (HGVs) was seen. The majority of roads with increasing NOX experienced an increase in buses and coaches. Changes in CO2 from 2010 onwards did not match the downward predictions from reduced traffic flows and improved fleet efficiency. CO2 increased along with increasing HGVs and buses. Polices to manage air pollution provided differential benefits across London's road network. To investigate this, k-means clustering technique was applied to group roads which behaved similarly in terms of trends to evaluate the effectiveness of policies to mitigate traffic emissions. This is the first time that London's roadside monitoring sites have been considered as a population rather than summarized as a mean behaviour only, allowing greater insight into the differential c

Journal article

Tewari S, Piel F, Brousse V, Analitis A, Ghersi V, Menzel S, Chakravorty S, Inusa B, Telfer P, De Montalembert M, Fuller G, Katsouyanni K, Rees Det al., 2016, ASSOCIATION BETWEEN ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS AND HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS FOR SICKLE CELL DISEASE: A RETROSPECTIVE TIME SERIES ANALYSIS, 21st Congress of the European-Hematology-Association, Publisher: FERRATA STORTI FOUNDATION, Pages: 127-128, ISSN: 0390-6078

Conference paper

Azarmi F, Kumar P, Marsh D, Fuller Get al., 2016, Assessment of the long-term impacts of PM10 and PM2.5 particles from construction works on surrounding areas, Environmental science. Processes & impacts, Vol: 18, Pages: 208-221, ISSN: 2050-7887

Construction activities are common across cities; however, the studies assessing their contribution to airborne PM10 (≤10 μm) and PM2.5 (≤2.5 μm) particles on the surrounding air quality are limited. Herein, we assessed the impact of PM10 and PM2.5 arising from construction works in and around London. Measurements were carried out at 17 different monitoring stations around three construction sites between January 2002 and December 2013. Tapered element oscillating microbalance (TEOM 1400) and OSIRIS (2315) particle monitors were used to measure the PM10 and PM2.5 fractions in the 0.1-10 μm size range along with the ambient meteorological data. The data was analysed using bivariate concentration polar plots and k-means clustering techniques. Daily mean concentrations of PM10 were found to exceed the European Union target limit value of 50 μg m-3 at 11 monitoring stations but remained within the allowable 35 exceedences per year, except at two monitoring stations. In general, construction works were found to influence the downwind concentrations of PM10 relatively more than PM2.5. Splitting of the data between working (0800-1800 h; local time) and non-working (1800-0800 h) periods showed about 2.2-fold higher concentrations of PM10 during working hours when compared with non-working hours. However, these observations did not allow to conclude that this increase was from the construction site emissions. Together, the polar concentration plots and the k-means cluster analysis applied to a pair of monitoring stations across the construction sites (i.e. one in upwind and the other in downwind) confirmed the contribution of construction sources on the measured concentrations. Furthermore, pairing the monitoring stations downwind of the construction sites showed a logarithmic decrease (with R2 about 0.9) in the PM10 and PM2.5 concentration with distance. Our findings clearly indicate an impact of construction activities on the nearby downwind areas and a n

Journal article

Samoli E, Atkinson RW, Analitis A, Fuller GW, Green DC, Mudway I, Anderson HR, Kelly FJet al., 2016, Associations of short-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution with cardiovascular and respiratory hospital admissions in London, UK, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, ISSN: 1351-0711

Objectives There is evidence of adverse associations between short-term exposure to traffic-related pollution and health, but little is known about the relative contribution of the various sources and particulate constituents.Methods For each day for 2011–2012 in London, UK over 100 air pollutant metrics were assembled using monitors, modelling and chemical analyses. We selected a priori metrics indicative of traffic sources: general traffic, petrol exhaust, diesel exhaust and non-exhaust (mineral dust, brake and tyre wear). Using Poisson regression models, controlling for time-varying confounders, we derived effect estimates for cardiovascular and respiratory hospital admissions at prespecified lags and evaluated the sensitivity of estimates to multipollutant modelling and effect modification by season.Results For single day exposure, we found consistent associations between adult (15–64 years) cardiovascular and paediatric (0–14 years) respiratory admissions with elemental and black carbon (EC/BC), ranging from 0.56% to 1.65% increase per IQR change, and to a lesser degree with carbon monoxide (CO) and aluminium (Al). The average of past 7 days EC/BC exposure was associated with elderly (65+ years) cardiovascular admissions. Indicated associations were higher during the warm period of the year. Although effect estimates were sensitive to the adjustment for other pollutants they remained consistent in direction, indicating independence of associations from different sources, especially between diesel and petrol engines, as well as mineral dust.Conclusions Our results suggest that exhaust related pollutants are associated with increased numbers of adult cardiovascular and paediatric respiratory hospitalisations. More extensive monitoring in urban centres is required to further elucidate the associations.

Journal article

Samoli E, Atkinson RW, Analitis A, Fuller GW, Beddows D, Green DC, Mudway IS, Harrison RM, Anderson HR, Kelly FJet al., 2016, Differential health effects of short-term exposure to source-specific particles in London, U.K, Environment International, Vol: 97, Pages: 246-253, ISSN: 0160-4120

BackgroundThere is ample evidence of adverse associations between short-term exposure to ambient particle mass concentrations and health but little is known about the relative contribution from various sources.MethodsWe used air particle composition and number networks in London between 2011 and 2012 to derive six source-related factors for PM10 and four factors for size distributions of ultrafine particles (NSD). We assessed the associations of these factors, at pre-specified lags, with daily total, cardiovascular (CVD) and respiratory mortality and hospitalizations using Poisson regression. Relative risks and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were expressed as percentage change per interquartile range increment in source-factor mass or number concentration. We evaluated the sensitivity of associations to adjustment for multiple other factors and by season.ResultsWe found no evidence of associations between PM10 or NSD source-related factors and daily mortality, as the direction of the estimates were variable with 95% CI spanning 0%. Traffic-related PM10 and NSD displayed consistent associations with CVD admissions aged 15–64 years (1.01% (95%CI: 0.03%, 2.00%) and 1.04% (95%CI: − 0.62%, 2.72%) respectively) as did particles from background urban sources (0.36% for PM10 and 0.81% for NSD). Most sources were positively associated with pediatric (0–14 years) respiratory hospitalizations, with stronger evidence for fuel oil PM10 (3.43%, 95%CI: 1.26%, 5.65%). Our results did not suggest associations with cardiovascular admissions in 65 + or respiratory admissions in 15 + age groups. Effect estimates were generally robust to adjustment for other factors and by season.ConclusionsOur findings are broadly consistent with the growing evidence of the toxicity of traffic and combustion particles, particularly in relation to respiratory morbidity in children and cardiovascular morbidity in younger adults.

Journal article

Atkinson RW, Samoli E, Analitis A, Fuller GW, Green DC, Anderson HR, Purdie E, Dunster C, Aitlhadj L, Kelly FJ, Mudway ISet al., 2016, Short-term associations between particle oxidative potential and daily mortality and hospital admissions in London, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HYGIENE AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, Vol: 219, Pages: 566-572, ISSN: 1438-4639

Background:Particulate matter (PM) from traffic and other sources has been associated with adverse health effects. One unifying theory is that PM, whatever its source, acts on the human body via their capacity to cause damaging oxidation reactions related to their content of pro-oxidants components. Few epidemiological studies have investigated particle oxidative potential (OP) metrics and health. We conducted a time series analysis to assess associations between daily particle OP measures and numbers of deaths and hospital admissions for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.Methods:During 2011 and 2012 particles with an aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 and 10 microns (PM2.5 and PM10 respectively) were collected daily on Partisol filters located at an urban background monitoring station in Central London. Particulate OP was assessed based on the capacity of the particles to oxidize ascorbate (OPAA) and glutathione (OPGSH) from a simple chemical model reflecting the antioxidant composition of human respiratory tract lining fluid. Particulate OP, expressed as % loss of antioxidant per μg of PM, was then multiplied by the daily concentrations of PM to derive the daily OP of PM mass concentrations (% loss per m3). Daily numbers of deaths and age- and cause-specific hospital admissions in London were obtained from national registries. Poisson regression accounting for seasonality and meteorology was used to estimate the percentage change in risk of death or admission associated with an interquartile increment in particle OP.Results:We found little evidence for adverse associations between OPAA and OPGSH and mortality. Associations with cardiovascular admissions were generally positive in younger adults and negative in older adults with confidence intervals including 0%. For respiratory admissions there was a trend, from positive to negative associations, with increasing age although confidence intervals generally included 0%.Conclusions:Our study, the first to an

Journal article

Brown RJC, Butterfield DM, Goddard SL, Hussain D, Quincey PG, Fuller GWet al., 2016, Wavelength dependent light absorption as a cost effective, real-time surrogate for ambient concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, ATMOSPHERIC ENVIRONMENT, Vol: 127, Pages: 125-132, ISSN: 1352-2310

Many monitoring stations used to assess ambient air concentrations of pollutants regulated by European air quality directives suffer from being expensive to establish and operate, and from their location being based on the results of macro-scale modelling exercises rather than measurement assessments in candidate locations. To address these issues for the monitoring of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), this study has used data from a combination of the ultraviolet and infrared channels of aethalometers (referred to as UV BC), operated as part of the UK Black Carbon Network, as a surrogate measurement. This has established a relationship between concentrations of the PAH regulated in Europe, benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P), and the UV BC signal at locations where these measurements have been made together from 2008 to 2014. This relationship was observed to be non-linear. Relationships for individual site types were used to predict measured concentrations with, on average, 1.5% accuracy across all annual averages, and with only 1 in 36 of the predicted annual averages deviating from the measured annual average by more than the B[a]P data quality objective for uncertainty of 50% (at -65%, with the range excluding this value between + 38% and -37%). These relationships were then used to predict B[a]P concentrations at stations where UV BC measurement are made, but PAH measurements are not. This process produced results which reflected expectations based on knowledge of the pollution climate at these stations gained from the measurements of other air quality networks, or from nearby stations. The influence of domestic solid fuel heating was clear using this approach which highlighted Strabane in Northern Ireland as a station likely to be in excess of the air quality directive target value for B[a]P.

Journal article

Pirani M, Best N, Blangiardo M, Liverani S, Atkinson RW, Fuller GWet al., 2015, Analysing the health effects of simultaneous exposure to physical and chemical properties of airborne particles, Environment International, Vol: 79, Pages: 56-64, ISSN: 0160-4120

Background:Airborne particles are a complex mix of organic and inorganic compounds, with a range of physical and chemical properties. Estimation of how simultaneous exposure to air particles affects the risk of adverse health response represents a challenge for scientific research and air quality management. In this paper, we present a Bayesian approach that can tackle this problem within the framework of time series analysis.Methods:We used Dirichlet process mixture models to cluster time points with similar multipollutant and response profiles, while adjusting for seasonal cycles, trends and temporal components. Inference was carried out via Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods. We illustrated our approach using daily data of a range of particle metrics and respiratory mortality for London (UK) 2002–2005. To better quantify the average health impact of these particles, we measured the same set of metrics in 2012, and we computed and compared the posterior predictive distributions of mortality under the exposure scenario in 2012 vs 2005.Results:The model resulted in a partition of the days into three clusters. We found a relative risk of 1.02 (95% credible intervals (CI): 1.00, 1.04) for respiratory mortality associated with days characterised by high posterior estimates of non-primary particles, especially nitrate and sulphate. We found a consistent reduction in the airborne particles in 2012 vs 2005 and the analysis of the posterior predictive distributions of respiratory mortality suggested an average annual decrease of − 3.5% (95% CI: − 0.12%, − 5.74%).Conclusions:We proposed an effective approach that enabled the better understanding of hidden structures in multipollutant health effects within time series analysis. It allowed the identification of exposure metrics associated with respiratory mortality and provided a tool to assess the changes in health effects from various policies to control the ambient particle matter mixtures.

Journal article

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