Fossil fuels 

One of the greatest sources of air pollution in urban areas is the burning of fossil fuels either through power generation or the use of motor vehicles. The burning of fossil fuels releases compounds such as nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and fine particulate matter. These have been shown to have detrimental effects on our health. 

This research theme seeks to improve how we measure air quality and to better understand the links between poor air quality and health. It has three sub-themes with individual projects under each.

SUB-THEME 1

Improve how we assess and model exposure to air pollution from fossil fuels

SUB-THEME 2

Better understand how health impacts change at differing levels of air pollution exposure

SUB-THEME 3

Uncover the underlying mechanisms through which air pollution from fossil fuels affect health

See what we've discovered on our publications page

The projects our researchers are leading  

SUB-THEME 1

Improve how we assess and model exposure to air pollution from fossil fuels

This project seeks to understand how particulate matter at the 2.5 micrometer size (PM2.5) from ship's fuel emissions affect health and mortality. It also seeks to estimate how health outcomes would improve if the sulfur content of shipping fuel was reduced.

CAR members leading this project: Geoff Morgan and Martin Cope

This project will improve how we measure air pollution by using novel personal air sensors and integrating the resulting data with land use data and geographical information.

CAR members leading this project: Lidia Morawska, Guy Marks, Mandana Mazaheri, Yuming Guo, Jane Heyworth and Luke Knibbs 

This project will develop new methods to integrate data from various sources to better measure air pollutants in NSW residential areas. Data used will come from monitoring stations (for PM, NO2 and ozone), satellites, air chemistry, topography and meteorology. 

CAR members leading this project: Yuming Guo, Luke Knibbs, Lidia Morawska, Geoff Morgan, Martin cope and Michael Borgas 

*Recipient of CAR seed funding for 2018*

 

Sri Lanka is a densely populated island similar in size to Tasmania and with a population only a little less than the total Australian population. Air pollution levels on the island are high but standard monitoring is almost non-existent. This project will fill the gap by using small sensors to build a 3D air pollution model to quantify human exposures in Kandy, the second largest city in Sri Lanka.

CAR members leading this project: Gayan Bowatte

SUB-THEME 2

Better understand how health impacts change at differing levels of air pollution exposure

This project will investigate the relationship between air pollution exposure (PM2.5, PM10, nitrogen dioxide, ozone) and the health of 266,000 people aged 45 years and up living in NSW. The study uses the Sax Institute's 45 and Up cohort. This cohort is also the focus of a new project 'Air pollution and mortality and morbidity in adult Australians (APMMA Study): a large population-based cohort'. 

CAR members leading this project: Geoff Morgan,Guy Marks, Bin Jalaludin, Jane Heyworth, Lidia Morawska, Martin Cope, Yuming Guo, Luke Knibbs, Andrea Hinwood, Christine Cowie

Ultrafine particles (those smaller than 0.1 micrometers), which come from the burning of fossil fuels, can penetrate deep into the lungs. This project, called  Ultrafine Particles from Traffic Emissions and Children's Health (UPTECH), is investigating how exposure to ultrafine particles affects the lung function of children in Brisbane.

CAR members leading this project: Lidia Morawska,Guy Marks, Mandana Mazaheri

*Recipient of CAR seed funding for 2018*

 

This project investigates the impact of air pollution on the health of young children in Fiji, to understand how these impacts could be minimised. It is expected that local combustion sources (domestic, agricultural and solid waste burning) and transport are the major contributors to air pollution. We will conduct an assessment of how transition to clean energy would lower the burden of childhood disease in Fiji. 
 

CAR members leading this project: Lidia Morawska

SUB-THEME 3

Uncover the mechanisms through which air pollution from fossil fuels affect health

These projects investigate how genes interact with air pollutants to result in particular health outcomes. It aims to understand if there are genetically susceptible populations who are at higher risk of adverse health effects related to pollutants. The projects use the following cohorts: the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study (TAHS), the Melbourne Atopy Cohort (MACS) and the Childhood Asthma Prevention Study (CAPS).

CAR members leading this project: Shyamali Dharmage, Guy Marks, Michael Abramson, Luke Knibbs, Christine Cowie, Gayan Bowatte, Jennifer Perret, Lidia Morawska

This project will investigate the mechanisms by which diesel exhaust from cars and ships affects our health. It will do this using animal models and cell lines with a focus on inflammation and lung structure and function. 

CAR members leading this project: Graeme Zosky, Lidia Morawska, Bert Brunekreef, Amanda Wheeler

*Recipient of CAR seed funding for 2018*

 

Working out an individual's level of exposure to air pollution is important to understand the contribution of air quality to health. This project is identifying exposure markers in the blood to accurately assess the health effects of air pollution in the future. 

CAR members leading this project: Graeme Zosky

*Recipient of CAR seed funding for 2018*

 

Ultrafine particles penetrate deep into the lung and appear to have adverse effects on health. However, measuring their effects on the 'deep' lung has proved difficult as this is a relatively silent area of the lung, not readily measured by standard lung function tests. We propose to assess the value of novel measures of the function of the deep lung as indices of the effect of ultrafine particles.

CAR members leading this project: Guy Marks

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