Forecasting health effects potentially associated with the relocation of a major air pollution source

Dani Broitman, Boris A. Portnov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Epidemiological studies often focus on risk assessments associated with exposures to specific air pollutants or proximity to different air pollution sources. Although this information is essential for devising informed health policies, it is not always helpful when it comes to the estimation of potential health effects associated with the introduction or relocation of local health hazards. In this paper, we suggest a novel approach to forecasting the morbidity-reduction impact of hypothetical removal of a major air pollution source from a densely populated urban area. The proposed approach is implemented in three stages. First, we identify and measure the strength of association of individual environmental factors with local morbidity patterns. Next, we use the estimated models to simulate the impact of removal of the pollution source under analysis and its replacement by green areas. Using this assessment, we then estimate potential changes in the local morbidity rates by mutually comparing the observed risk surface of disease with the risk surface simulated by modelling. To validate the proposed approach empirically, we use childhood asthma morbidity data available for a major metropolitan area in Israel, which hosts a large petrochemical complex. According to our estimates, relocation of the petrochemical complex in question is expected to result in about 70% drop in the childhood asthma morbidity rate area-wide. To the best of our knowledge, the present study is the first that suggests an operational approach to incorporating epidemiological assessments as an input for urban development plans related to local sources of air pollution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109088
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Inc.


  • Air pollution
  • Childhood asthma
  • Health impact
  • Industrial transition
  • Metropolitan area
  • Risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Biochemistry


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