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Urban heat and air pollution: A framework for integrating population vulnerability and indoor exposure in health risk analyses

O'Lenick, Cassandra R., Wilhelmi, Olga V., Michael, Ryan, Hayden, Mary H., Baniassadi, Amir, Wiedinmyer, Christine, Monaghan, Andrew J., Crank, Peter J., Sailor, David J.
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.660 pp. 715-723
air pollution, climate change, epidemiological studies, heat, models, risk, risk analysis, urban population, urbanization
Urban growth and climate change will exacerbate extreme heat events and air pollution, posing considerable health challenges to urban populations. Although epidemiological studies have shown associations between health outcomes and exposures to ambient air pollution and extreme heat, the degree to which indoor exposures and social and behavioral factors may confound or modify these observed effects remains underexplored. To address this knowledge gap, we explore the linkages between vulnerability science and epidemiological conceptualizations of risk to propose a conceptual and analytical framework for characterizing current and future health risks to air pollution and extreme heat, indoors and outdoors. Our framework offers guidance for research on climatic variability, population vulnerability, the built environment, and health effects by illustrating how health data, spatially resolved ambient data, estimates of indoor conditions, and household-level vulnerability data can be integrated into an epidemiological model. We also describe an approach for characterizing population adaptive capacity and indoor exposure for use in population-based epidemiological models. Our framework and methods represent novel resources for the evaluation of health risks from extreme heat and air pollution, both indoors and outdoors.