Publications in 2021
Publications involving CAR researchers in 2021 and related to our research themes are found on this page. To get the latest research publications as they are released, sign up to our newsletter via the subscription form.
Quantifying air pollution at early childhood and education care centres
1 December 2021
CAR researchers have published a study quantifying children's exposure to particulate matter while at early childhood and education care centres. The study, conducted in Perth, found that exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution was significantly higher in high traffic areas compared with low traffic areas. Peaks in air pollution also corresponded with times when children were most likely to be outside.
Quantifying the health benefits of urban greening strategies
19 November 2021
CAR researchers have published a study using innovative methods to quantify the benefits of urban greening and associated adaptation strategies. Using the Heat Health Impact method, they estimated the change in the number of deaths attributable to urban greening and found that heat attributable deaths reduced up to 11.7 per day across the greater metropolitan region of Sydney.
MJA-Lancet Countdown on climate change and health
21 October 2021
CAR researchers have been involved in the latest report card on climate change and health in Australia. The article, published in the MJA today, provides an overview of progress on climate change and health in Australia against several indicators across five broad domains: climate change impacts, exposures and vulnerability; adaptation, planning and resilience for health; mitigation actions and health co‐benefits; economics and finance; and public and political engagement. The report finds that efforts achieved at the subnational level have not been matched at the national level, with further ambition required to address climate-related health impacts.
An association between exposure to air pollution and hospital admissions in Sri Lanka
30 September 2021
CAR researchers have investigated the links between exposure to air pollution and hospital admissions for lung-related diseases in Sri Lanka. The study found an increase in asthma hospitalisations during higher air pollution periods, with people over 65 years old more likely to be hospitalised.
Interpersonal violence and hot weather
10 September 2021
CAR researchers have called for further research on the relationship between interpersonal violence and hot weather. Preliminary research indicates an increase in some violent crimes as temperatures increase. Further research is needed to understand why violent behaviour is associated with temperature and how to reduce the risk of violence as temperatures increase.
Association between bushfire smoke and hospital admission in Brazil
10 September 2021
CAR researchers have investigated the association between bushfire smoke and hospital admissions in Brazil between 2000 and 2015. The study found an association between short-term exposure to bushfire smoke and an increased risk of hospital admission, particularly in children and the elderly.
Daily health costs of bushfire smoke and prescribed burning smoke in NSW
10 September 2021
CAR researchers have modelled the daily health costs associated with wildfire smoke (WFS) and prescribed burning smoke (PBS) in New South Wales between 2000 and 2020. The study found that there are substantial health costs associated with both types of smoke, in general larger for wildfires ($1653 million (82·1%)) than for prescribed burns ($361 million (17·9%)). Nevertheless, the estimated per hectare costs were higher for PBS ($477) than for WFS ($104).
Association between bushfire smoke and death
10 September 2021
CAR researchers have been involved in an investigation of the association between bushfire smoke and death across 43 countries between 2000 and 2016. The study concluded that short-term exposure to bushfire smoke increases the risk of death.
Improving air quality in the classroom
19 August 2021
CAR Affiliate, Associate Professor Donna Green, has written an article for The Conversation on the importance of air purifiers with HEPA filters for classrooms to reduce both smoke- and virus-related particles. Because they can remove of 99% of tiny particles, air purifiers are already being used in other parts of the world as a cost-effective strategy to reduce the risk of airborne hazards to schoolchildren.
The health costs of wood heater smoke in Armidale
9 August 2021
Two Chief Investigators of CAR, Prof Fay Johnston and A/Prof Geoff Morgan, have co-authored with colleagues a health impact assessment of wood heaters in Armidale, Sydney. They estimated that wood heater smoke pollution is responsible for 14 premature deaths a year and a cost of $32.8 million. They argue that effective policies are needed to reduce wood heater smoke pollution and their impacts in Armidale.
Managing airborne infection transmission
26 July 2021
CAR Chief Investigator, Professor Lidia Morawska, has written an article for The Conversation that identifies key gaps in the current strategy to reduce the impact of COVID-19. Professor Morawska argues that protection against airborne infection transmission in indoor spaces is a critical consideration for any successful strategy going forward, and presents a roadmap to address this consideration going forward.
Particulate matter and premature death
19 July 2021
CAR Chief Investigator, Professor Shyamali Dharmage, has published with colleagues a systematic review on the association between ambient particulate matter and premature mortality. Results from the review determined that 253 premature deaths per million population are associated with PM2.5 exposure.
Predicting methane emissions from landfill using machine learning techniques
14 July 2021
New research involving CAR affiliates on modelling methane emissions from landfill has been published. Municipal waste produces methane - a potent greenhouse gas - as it decomposes. Machine learning techniques were used to estimate methane generation from landfill following three years of data collection from two pilot landfills. Three intelligent models were used for the first time to predict methane generation, demonstrating the potential for machine learning techniques to predict future methane generation.
The global health burden of hot and cold temperatures
9 July 2021
CAR researchers have been involved in modelling the health burden of cold and hot temperatures around the world between 2010-2019 to determine the impact of temperature on death rates. Their study found that a substantial number of deaths - over 5 million annually - can be attributed to extreme temperatures, accounting for almost 10% of all deaths globally. The findings from the study can be used by governments around the world in preparing for weather-related health impacts in a changing climate.
Associations between ambient particulate air pollution and cognitive function in Indonesian children
9 July 2021
Researchers from CAR collaborated with colleagues based at Universitas Indonesia to investigate associations between ambient particulate matter levels in forest fire-prone areas and cognitive function in Indonesia children. Using data from the Indonesian Family and Life Survey, the authors found that children living in a forest fire-prone area for a prolonged period of time negatively impacted cognitive function in children after adjusting for individual factors.
COVID-19 lockdown impacts on air quality in Sri Lanka
5 July 2021
CAR researchers have assessed the change in particulate matter and carbon monoxide concentrations as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown in Sri Lanka. Based on data collected prior to and during the lockdown period, significant declines of daily average concentrations were recorded. The results demonstrate the impact of vehicle and industrial emissions on air quality in Sri Lankan cities.
Green space around primary schools may improve students' academic performance
15 June 2021
CAR researchers have found that urban greenery can improve children's academic performance, while air pollution from traffic can be detrimental. By investigating the average 2018 NAPLAN scores of children from 851 schools across greater Melbourne, the study found that the NAPLAN scores of children from comparable schools were higher in greener areas. Results from the study can help planners to identify the best locations and surrounding environments for future schools.
Investigating black carbon emissions in cities
9 June 2021
Researchers affiliated with CAR have examined the concentrations of black carbon (BC) in Tehran, Iran using high-resolution analysis techniques. They found that exposure to BC is predominantly a result of city-level emissions, even in locations with high-emitting industrial sources. Further analysis determined that city-scale emissions also contribute to expanding pollution plumes.
A review of ambient air pollution and health impacts in Australia
8 June 2021
Researchers affiliated with CAR have reviewed the literature on ambient air pollution in Australia and associated health impacts. Of the 72 studies included in the review, the vast majority (64) investigated short-term health impacts of air pollution, while eight studies investigated long-term air pollution-related health impacts. The findings of the review provide an evidence-base for future policies on air quality in Australia.
Reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions in neighbourhoods
28 May 2021
Recent research published by members of CAR investigated the carbon emissions and energy demand associated with three types of residential neighbourhoods. The study determined that increasing the amount of renewable energy in the energy mix and retrofitting and renovating old buildings presented key opportunities to substantially reduce energy demand and emissions in future.
Policy implications for protecting health from the hazards of fire smoke
26 May 2021
CAR researchers have published a paper detailing key findings from an expert panel discussion at a symposium on landscape fire smoke held in October 2020. The discussion focused on the efficacy of current health protection interventions, the protection of outdoor workers, and the communication of air quality and health risk. Recommendations with policy implications were presented.
A paradigm shift to combat indoor respiratory infection
14 May 2021
A new article led by CAR researchers has been published in the prestigious journal, Science. The article calls for a paradigm shift in the way that we manage respiratory infections. Importantly, formal recognition that infections often occur through airborne transmission has significant implications for the way we think about indoor spaces and design buildings. Creating flexible ventilation systems in buildings that can maintain airborne infection risks at acceptable levels is critical. The authors present several recommendations for a practical path forward.
How effective are HEPA cleaners during smoke events?
20 April 2021
CAR researchers recently assessed the effectiveness of portable high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaners during a prolonged smoke event. HEPA cleaners were installed in the main library in Port Macquarie between August and October 2019. The library contained substantially better air quality compared with outdoor air quality when HEPA cleaners were operating.
Links between exposure to air pollution and sensitivity to allergens in children
14 April 2021
CAR researchers investigated links between exposure to air pollution and sensitivity to common allergens in children. They found that increasing exposure to nitrogen dioxide was associated with greater sensitisation to house dust mites. This is the first national study to evaluate associations between nitrogen dioxide and children's sensitivity to allergies.
Air quality thresholds do not adequately protect Australians
8 March 2021
According to CAR researchers the current mechanism for setting air quality thresholds in Australia does not adequately protect community health. The standards provides only partial health protection and adversely impacts community perceptions by implying that the current standards represent a ‘safe’ level of exposure.
The Role of Traffic-Related Air Pollution on Neurodegenerative Diseases in Older People
15 February 2021
CAR researchers have conducted a review on the role that traffic-related air pollution may play in neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Current research has provided mixed findings and longer-term studies are needed to confirm the levels of risk and other contributing environmental factors. Better understanding of these relationships will help inform the development of preventive measures and reduce chronic cognitive and physical health burdens (cost, quality of life) at personal and societal levels.
Climate change and bushfires
03 February 2021
CAR researchers urge political leaders to better address the 'elephant in the room' of bushfire management: climate change. Transformative mitigation strategies are needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lessen the risks and consequences of bushfires.
Air pollution leads to more deaths than national road toll
25 January, 2021
We have found that man-made air pollution in Australia is causing substantial levels of mortality and economic burden, even when pollution (PM2.5) levels remain well below those widely considered to be safe. We have estimated that air pollution in Australia leads to over 2,600 premature deaths- more than double the national road toll. And this costs the Australian economy $2.6 billion each year. Read publication