Geospatial determinants of maternal and child exposure to fine particulate matter in Kintampo, Ghana: Levels within the household and community, by surrounding building density and near roadways

Danielle N. Medgyesi, Mohammed Nuhu Mujtaba, Qiang Yang, Sulemana Watara Abubakari, Alison G. Lee, Jeremy Porter, Steven N. Chillrud, Seyram Kaali, Darby W. Jack, Kwaku Poku Asante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Personal exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) from household air pollution is well-documented in sub-Saharan Africa, but spatiotemporal patterns of exposure are poorly characterized. Objective: We used paired GPS and personal PM2.5 data to evaluate changes in exposure across location-time environments (e.g., household and community, during cooking and non-cooking hours), building density and proximity to roadways. Methods: Our study included 259 sessions of geolocated, gravimetrically-calibrated one-minute personal PM2.5 measurements from participants in the GRAPHS Child Lung Function Study. The household vicinity was defined using a 50-meter buffer around participants’ homes. Community boundaries were developed using a spatial clustering algorithm applied to an open-source dataset of building footprints in Africa. For each GPS location, we estimated building density (500 m buffer) and proximity to roadways (100 m buffer). We estimated changes in PM2.5 exposure by location (household, community), time of day (morning/evening cooking hours, night), building density, and proximity to roadways using linear mixed effect models. Results: Relative to nighttime household exposure, PM2.5 exposure during evening cooking hours was 2.84 (95%CI = 2.70–2.98) and 1.80 (95%CI = 1.54–2.10) times higher in the household and community, respectively. Exposures were elevated in areas with the highest versus lowest quartile of building density (FactorQ1vsQ4 = 1.60, 95%CI = 1.42–1.80). The effect of building density was strongest during evening cooking hours, and influenced levels in both the household and community (31% and 65% relative increase from Q1 to Q4, respectively). Being proximal to a trunk, tertiary or track roadway increased exposure by a factor of 1.16 (95%CI = 1.07–1.25), 1.68 (95%CI = 1.45–1.95) and 1.27 (95%CI = 1.06–1.53), respectively. Impact: Household air pollution from cooking with solid fuels in sub-Saharan Africa is a major environmental concern for maternal and child health. Our study advances previous knowledge by quantifying the impact of household cooking activities on air pollution levels in the community, and identifying two geographic features, building density and roadways, that contribute to maternal and child daily exposure. Household cooking contributes to higher air pollution levels in the community especially in areas with greater building density. Findings underscore the need for equitable clean household energy transitions that reach entire communities to reduce health risks from household and outdoor air pollution.

Keywords

  • Child Exposure/Health
  • Geospatial Analyses
  • Particulate Matter
  • Personal Exposure
  • Sustainable Development
  • Vulnerable Populations

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