Estimating the health impact of air pollution in Scotland, and the resulting benefits of reducing concentrations in city centres

Lee, Duncan and Robertson, Chris and Ramsay, Colin and Gillespie, Colin and Napier, Gary (2019) Estimating the health impact of air pollution in Scotland, and the resulting benefits of reducing concentrations in city centres. Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology, 29. pp. 85-96. ISSN 1877-5853

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    Abstract

    Air pollution continues to be a key health issue in Scotland, despite recent improvements in concentrations. The Scottish Government published the Cleaner Air For Scotland strategy in 2015, and will introduce Low Emission Zones (LEZs) in the four major cities (Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow) by 2020. However, there is no epidemiological evidence quantifying the current health impact of air pollution in Scotland, which this paper addresses. Additionally, we estimate the health benefits of reducing concentrations in city centres where most LEZs are located. We focus on cardio-respiratory disease and total non-accidental mortality outcomes, linking them to concentrations of both particulate (PM 10 and PM 2.5 ) and gaseous (NO 2 and NO x ) pollutants. Our two main findings are that: (i) all pollutants exhibit significant associations with respiratory disease but not cardiovascular disease; and (ii) reducing concentrations in city centres with low resident populations only provides a small health benefit.