Publications-our discoveries

Particulate matter from wildlife smoke and asthma related outcomes

09 Oct 2019

This important new study conducted a systematic review of wildfire smoke from all over the world and the association between PM from smoke and presentations to emergency departments for asthma and admissions to hospital for asthma.

The main results were that:

1) Associations were present in all age-groups but increased with age. The group with the greatest size of the association was people over 65 years. For ED presentations it was also possible to evaluate results by sex and there were much clearer associations between fire smoke and asthma presentations for females than there were for males.

(2) The overall size of the associations between smoke-specific PM and asthma presentations and admissions were around 5 times higher than what is generally found in studies of background air pollution from multiple sources, eg in urban environments, and these outcomes.

Study develops LUR models for estimating markers of air pollution

31 Jul 2019

A study involving CAR researchers has developed separate intra-city land use regression (LUR) models for estimating NO2 and NOx, both markers of traffic pollution, for the western half of Sydney, NSW.

Hazelwood: Study identifies long-term effects on infants

25 Jul 2019

A new paper from the Hazelwood Health Study has explored the long-term impacts of the Hazelwood coal mine fire on markers of lung function in young children.  The study, published in Respirology, found a modest association between infant exposure to elevated particulate matter (PM2.5) during the six-week coal mine fire and reduced respiratory system reactance (increased lung stiffness), measured three years after the fire.

There is more information in this media release

Even low-level pollution associated with increased risk of early death

03 Apr 2019

A new CAR study has found that even the low levels of air pollution in Sydney are associated with increased risk of premature mortality. The study is the first in the world to assess a cohort at such low concentrations, and provides further evidence that there is no safe level of air pollution.

Air pollutants linked to increased medication dispensing

11 Feb 2019

A new study from the Hazelwood Heath Study has found that air pollutants from the mine fire are associated with increased dispensing of prescription medications for respiratory, cardiovascular and psychiatric conditions.

Extended database a resource for studying health impacts of biomass smoke

06 Dec 2018

The Biomass Smoke Validated Events Database is a community-driven collection of air pollution events caused by vegetation fires such as bushfires. This latest paper describes how the database has been extended to allow the research community to add to the history of these events. 

Low-level exposure to air pollution linked to hospitalisation for asthma

15 Nov 2018

Long-term exposure to fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide, at concentrations well below the current standards, is linked to hospitalisation for asthma, new CAR research has found.

Links between air pollution and diabetes found

15 Oct 2018

The association between air quality and heart and lung diseases is well known, but new CAR research has shown links with low blood glucose levels and therefore diabetes.

First national model of particulate matter developed

01 Oct 2018

Our latest paper describes a new method that mapped the concentration of particulate matter at the 2.5 micrometer scale (PM2.5) across large regions of Australia. The method integrates data from two sources: satellites and how land is used (Land Use Regression).

Fish oil may protect against childhood allergies in areas with traffic-related air pollution

27 Aug 2018

CAR researchers studied 400 children in the Childhood Asthma Prevention Study and found that for those living in areas with high traffic-related air pollution, taking fish oil protected them from allergies and poor lung function.

Should we be worried about indoor air pollution?

24 Aug 2018

Using low cost air pollution sensors, CAR researchers studied the personal exposure of 14 Australians during a week. Surprisingly, they were able to show that time spent at home and engaged in indoor activities was associated with the highest exposure to air pollution at the 2.5 micrometer level (PM2.5).

Is smaller worse? New insights about associations of PM1 and respiratory health

24 Aug 2018

CAR researchers have found that air pollution particles smaller than 1 micrometre (PM1) are associated with an increased risk of asthma and asthma-related symptoms in children and teenagers. Surprisingly, this risk was similar for air pollution particles equal to or smaller than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5).

Childhood asthma and poor lung function- more evidence of no 'safe' level of air pollution

19 Aug 2018

Looking at data from the Australian Child Health and Air Pollution Study, CAR researchers found that even though air pollution levels in Australia are very low by international standards, there is still an association between air pollution, childhood asthma and poor lung function. This suggests that we should aim to continuously minimise air pollution levels rather than stick to set air quality standards.

Which risk factors in childhood affect lung function in middle age?

11 Jun 2018

Using data from more than 8000 middle-aged adults in the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study, CAR researchers were able to identify the most common risk factors in their childhood that were associated with poor lung function and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The most common risk factor was “frequent asthma, bronchitis, allergy” in childhood, especially if associated with smoking in adulthood. 

Ultrafine particles and children's respiratory health

30 Apr 2018

CAR researchers have studied 655 children from 25 primary schools in Brisbane and their exposure to ultrafine particles (UFPs). They found that UFPs did not affect respiratory health in children but had wider effects as seen by increased markers of inflammation. 

Smoke from bushfires and hazard reduction burns cause premature deaths and hospitalisations

15 Apr 2018

Researchers have found that smoke from hazard reduction burns and bushfires in Sydney between 2001 and 2013 was associated with 197 premature deaths, 436 cardiovascular hospitalisations, and 787 respiratory hospitalisations. 

Childhood asthma: why we need to look beyond house mites

15 Apr 2018

Household dampness and the use of gas cooking stoves are important triggers for childhood asthma, CAR research has found. The study calls for a national strategy to improve awareness around these two common indoor exposures.

Hazelwood fire linked to increases in GP visits and medication prescriptions

09 Apr 2018

If you’re interested in how the Hazelwood coal fire in 2014 affected residents, you may like to read the findings from some of our CAR researchers. They showed that increases in pollution at the 2.5 micrometer level led to increases in GP visits and prescriptions for cardiovascular, respiratory and mental health conditions.

AirRater: How citizen science can help people with hayfever and lung conditions

05 Apr 2018

Can smartphone apps help hayfever sufferers and those with other lung conditions? Read about how the AirRater app allows you to upload your symptoms and avoid exposure to environmental conditions such as pollen, air pollution and temperature that make your symptoms worse.

Childhood predictors of poor lung function and COPD risk in adults

04 Apr 2018

By analysing data of 2,438 participants in the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study, researchers were able to identify childhood predictors of increased COPD risk and declines in lung function in adulthood. These were childhood asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, allergic rhinitis, eczema, parental asthma and maternal smoking. 

Living less than 200m from a major road can cause or worsen asthma in middle age

31 Mar 2018

CAR researchers have found that living less than 200m from a major road (a marker of traffic-related pollution exposure) influences both the development and persistence of asthma in middle age.

How your attic can help us understand the health impacts of air pollution

30 Mar 2018

Dust samples from roof cavities can be used to understand the effects of air pollution on our health. Our latest publication found that metal traces in particulate matter found in roof cavities elicited inflammatory responses in human cells grown in the lab.  

A review of genes that predispose to asthma, allergy and poor lung function

19 Mar 2018

This is a review of studies looking at the links between Glutathione S-transferase (GST) genes and susceptibility to poor lung function. It found that carriers of GSTM1/T1 null and GSTP1 val genotypes were more susceptible to indoor air pollution exposures, having a higher risk of asthma and lung function deficits. 

Links between otitis media and air pollution

02 Feb 2018

CAR researchers did a literature review of the links between otitis media - a type of ear infection - in children and air pollution. They found that higher air pollution exposure is associated with a greater prevalence of otitis media.

Increases in grass pollen lead to increased asthma emergency admissions

12 Jan 2018

Researchers found an association between increases in the concentration of grass pollen in the environment and asthma emergency department admissions. This association was strongest for children aged 5 to 17 years. This is an important study in the context of climatic events such as thunderstorm asthma. 

More evidence air pollution linked to preterm births

02 Jan 2018

A study looking at more than 1.3 million pregnancies in China found that pregnant women exposed to high levels of pollution at the 1 micrometer level (PM1) had an increased risk of a preterm birth. Specifically, where PM1 concentration was increased by 10 micrograms per cubic metre, there was a 9% increased risk of premature birth.

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Predicting the development of COPD

05 Dec 2017

CAR researchers reviewed scientific literature to identify the best models to predict the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). They found none of the models were particularly useful in accurately predicting future risk of COPD, nor were they good at ruling out future risk of COPD. This warrants further research to develop and validate new COPD prediction models. 

How can artificial intelligence be used in the battle against air pollution?

01 Dec 2017

This study describes how a cutting-edge artificial intelligence method called adaptive neuro-fuzzy interference can be used to combine data from satellites, traffic congestion, meteorology and geography into one estimate of NO2 concentration.

Even very low levels of air pollution impact our health

30 Oct 2017

This study showed that people exposed to air pollution levels far below the national standard have increased asthma and reduced lung function. 

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