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Back-extrapolated and year-specific NO2 land use regression models for Great Britain - Do they yield different exposure assessment?

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journal contribution
posted on 15.05.2019, 08:24 by J Gulliver, K de Hoogh, G Hoek, D Vienneau, D Fecht, A Hansell
Robust methods to estimate historic population air pollution exposures are important tools for epidemiological studies evaluating long-term health effects. We developed land use regression (LUR) models for NO2 exposure in Great Britain for 1991 and explored whether the choice of year-specific or back-extrapolated LUR yields 1) similar LUR variables and model performance, and 2) similar national and regional address-level and small-area concentrations. We constructed two LUR models for 1991using NO2 concentrations from the diffusion tube monitoring network, one using 75% of all available measurement sites (that over-represent industrial areas), and the other using 75% of a subset of sites proportionate to population by region to study the effects of monitoring site selection bias. We compared, using the remaining (hold-out) 25% of monitoring sites, the performance of the two 1991 models with back-extrapolation of a previously published 2009 model, developed using NO2 concentrations from automatic chemiluminescence monitoring sites and predictor variables from 2006/2007. The 2009 model was back-extrapolated to 1991 using the same predictors (1990 & 1995) used to develop 1991 models. The 1991 models included industrial land use variables, not present for 2009. The hold-out performance of 1991 models (mean-squared-error-based-R(2): 0.62-0.64) was up to 8% higher and ~1μg/m(3) lower in root mean squared error than the back-extrapolated 2009 model, with best performance from the subset of sites representing population exposures. Year-specific and back-extrapolated exposures for residential addresses (n=1.338,399) and small areas (n=10.518) were very highly linearly correlated for Great Britain (r>0.83). This study suggests that year-specific model for 1991 and back-extrapolation of the 2009 LUR yield similar exposure assessment.


The research was supported by funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Program EXPOsOMICS study under grant agreement number FP7 308610. We thank Tony Bush at AEA Technology (UK) for providing data on monitored concentrations of nitrogen dioxide from the UK diffusion tube network. The work of the UK Small Area Health Statistics Unit is funded by Public Health England as part of the MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health, funded also by the UK Medical Research Council.



Environment International, 2016, 92-93, pp. 202-209

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/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING/School of Geography, Geology and the Environment


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Environment International


Elsevier for Pergamon



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Supporting material can be found in the electronic version of thispaper including information on sources of data used in the study, fur-ther information on the development of the LUR models, and exposuredistributions. Supplementary data associated with this article can befound in the online version, at doi:10.1016/j.envint.2016.03.037