Building capacity for air pollution epidemiology in India

Poornima Prabhakaran, Suganthi Jaganathan, Gagandeep K Walia, Gregory A Wellenius, Siddhartha Mandal, Kishore Kumar, Itai Kloog, Kevin Lane, Amruta Nori-Sarma, Marten Rosenqvist, Marcus Dahlquist, K Srinath Reddy, Joel Schwartz, Dorairaj Prabhakaran, Petter L S Ljungman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Air pollution represents a major public health threat in India affecting 19% of the world's population at extreme levels. Despite this, research in India lags behind in large part due to a lack of comprehensive air pollution exposure assessment that can be used in conjunction with health data to investigate health effects. Our vision is to provide a consortium to rapidly expand the evidence base of the multiple effects of ambient air pollution. We intend to leapfrog current limitations of exposure assessment by developing a machine-learned satellite-informed spatiotemporal model to estimate daily levels of ambient fine particulate matter measuring less than 2.5 µm (PM2.5) at a fine spatial scale across all of India. To catalyze health effects research on an unprecedented scale, we will make the output from this model publicly available. In addition, we will also apply these PM2.5 estimates to study the health outcomes of greatest public health importance in India, including cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pregnancy (and birth) outcomes, and cognitive development and/or decline. Thus, our efforts will directly generate actionable new evidence on the myriad effects of air pollution on health that can inform policy decisions, while providing a comprehensive and publicly available resource for future studies on both exposure and health effects. In this commentary, we discuss the motivation, rationale, and vision for our consortium and a path forward for reducing the enormous burden of disease from air pollution in India.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental epidemiology (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2020


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