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Health, Wealth, and Air Pollution: Advancing Theory and Methods
Marie S. O’Neill(1), Michael Jerrett(2), Ichiro Kawachi(1), Jonathan I. Levy(1), Aaron J. Cohen(3), Nelson Gouveia(4), Paul Wilkinson(5), Tony Fletcher(5), Luis Cifuentes(6), and Joel Schwartz(1), with input from participants of the Workshop on Air Pollution and Socioeconomic Conditions* (1)Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; (2)McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; (3)Health Effects Institute, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; (4)Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; (5)London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, England; (6)Pontificia Universidad Cátolica de Chile, Santiago, Chile

The effects of both ambient air pollution and socioeconomic position (SEP) on health are well documented. A limited number of recent studies suggest that SEP may itself play a role in the epidemiology of disease and death associated with exposure to air pollution. Together with evidence that poor and working-class communities are often more exposed to air pollution, these studies have stimulated discussion among scientists, policy makers, and the public about the differential distribution of the health impacts from air pollution. Science and public policy would benefit from additional research that integrates the theory and practice from both air pollution and social epidemiologies to gain a better understanding of this issue. In this article we aim to promote such research by introducing readers to methodologic and conceptual approaches in the fields of air pollution and social epidemiology; by proposing theories and hypotheses about how air pollution and socioeconomic factors may interact to influence health, drawing on studies conducted worldwide; by discussing methodologic issues in the design and analysis of studies to determine whether health effects of exposure to ambient air pollution are modified by SEP; and by proposing specific steps that will advance knowledge in this field, fill information gaps, and apply research results to improve public health in collaboration with affected communities. Key words: air pollution, environmental justice, epidemiology, exposure assessment, socioeconomic factors. Environ Health Perspect 111:1861–1870 (2003). doi:10.1289/ehp.6334 available via http://dx.doi.org/ [Online 2 September 2003]

Environmental Health Perspectives, VOLUME 111, NUMBER 16, December 2003


Health, Wealth, and Air Pollution: Advancing Theory and MethodsHealth, Wealth, and Air Pollution: Advancing Theory and Methods
[.pdf, 444.6Kb]

See Also
Ichiro Kawachi
Jonathan I. Levy
Measuring impacts
Health impacts
Economic impacts
Luis Cifuentes
Environmental impacts
Michael Jerrett
Nelson Gouveia
Paul Wilkinson
Tony Fletcher
and Joel Schwartz
Aaron J. Cohen
Marie S. O’Neill
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