Design and evaluation of short-term monitoring campaigns for long-term air pollution exposure assessment

J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2022 Aug 31. doi: 10.1038/s41370-022-00470-5. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Short-term mobile monitoring campaigns to estimate long-term air pollution levels are becoming increasingly common. Still, many campaigns have not conducted temporally-balanced sampling, and few have looked at the implications of such study designs for epidemiologic exposure assessment.

OBJECTIVE: We carried out a simulation study using fixed-site air quality monitors to better understand how different short-term monitoring designs impact the resulting exposure surfaces.

METHODS: We used Monte Carlo resampling to simulate three archetypal short-term monitoring sampling designs using oxides of nitrogen (NOx) monitoring data from 69 regulatory sites in California: a year-around Balanced Design that sampled during all seasons of the year, days of the week, and all or various hours of the day; a temporally reduced Rush Hours Design; and a temporally reduced Business Hours Design. We evaluated the performance of each design’s land use regression prediction model.

RESULTS: The Balanced Design consistently yielded the most accurate annual averages; while the reduced Rush Hours and Business Hours Designs generally produced more biased results.

SIGNIFICANCE: A temporally-balanced sampling design is crucial for short-term campaigns such as mobile monitoring aiming to assess long-term exposure in epidemiologic cohorts.

IMPACT STATEMENT: Short-term monitoring campaigns to assess long-term air pollution trends are increasingly common, though they rarely conduct temporally balanced sampling. We show that this approach produces biased annual average exposure estimates that can be improved by collecting temporally-balanced samples.

PMID:36045136 | DOI:10.1038/s41370-022-00470-5

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