Source-specific pollution exposure and associations with pulmonary response in the Atlanta Commuters Exposure Studies article

Jenna R. Krall, Chandresh N. Ladva, Armistead G. Russell, Rachel Golan, Xing Peng, Guoliang Shi, Roby Greenwald, Amit U. Raysoni, Lance A. Waller, Jeremy A. Sarnat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Concentrations of traffic-related air pollutants are frequently higher within commuting vehicles than in ambient air. Pollutants found within vehicles may include those generated by tailpipe exhaust, brake wear, and road dust sources, as well as pollutants from in-cabin sources. Source-specific pollution, compared to total pollution, may represent regulation targets that can better protect human health. We estimated source-specific pollution exposures and corresponding pulmonary response in a panel study of commuters. We used constrained positive matrix factorization to estimate source-specific pollution factors and, subsequently, mixed effects models to estimate associations between source-specific pollution and pulmonary response. We identified four pollution factors that we named: crustal, primary tailpipe traffic, non-tailpipe traffic, and secondary. Among asthmatic subjects (N = 48), interquartile range increases in crustal and secondary pollution were associated with changes in lung function of -1.33% (95% confidence interval (CI): -2.45, -0.22) and -2.19% (95% CI: -3.46, -0.92) relative to baseline, respectively. Among non-asthmatic subjects (N = 51), non-tailpipe pollution was associated with pulmonary response only at 2.5 h post-commute. We found no significant associations between pulmonary response and primary tailpipe pollution. Health effects associated with traffic-related pollution may vary by source, and therefore some traffic pollution sources may require targeted interventions to protect health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-347
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • Air pollution
  • Commuting
  • On-road exposures
  • Pulmonary health
  • Source apportionment
  • Traffic pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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