Leveraging Existing Cohorts to Study Health Effects of Air Pollution on Cardiometabolic Disorders: India Global Environmental and Occupational Health Hub

Environ Health Insights. 2020 Apr 20;14:1178630220915688. doi: 10.1177/1178630220915688. eCollection 2020.


Air pollution is a growing public health concern in developing countries and poses a huge epidemiological burden. Despite the growing awareness of ill effects of air pollution, the evidence linking air pollution and health effects is sparse. This requires environmental exposure scientist and public health researchers to work more cohesively to generate evidence on health impacts of air pollution in developing countries for policy advocacy. In the Global Environmental and Occupational Health (GEOHealth) Program, we aim to build exposure assessment model to estimate ambient air pollution exposure at a very fine resolution which can be linked with health outcomes leveraging well-phenotyped cohorts which have information on geolocation of households of study participants. We aim to address how air pollution interacts with meteorological and weather parameters and other aspects of the urban environment, occupational classification, and socioeconomic status, to affect cardiometabolic risk factors and disease outcomes. This will help us generate evidence for cardiovascular health impacts of ambient air pollution in India needed for necessary policy advocacy. The other exploratory aims are to explore mediatory role of the epigenetic mechanisms (DNA methylation) and vitamin D exposure in determining the association between air pollution exposure and cardiovascular health outcomes. Other components of the GEOHealth program include building capacity and strengthening the skills of public health researchers in India through variety of training programs and international collaborations. This will help generate research capacity to address environmental and occupational health research questions in India. The expertise that we bring together in GEOHealth hub are public health, clinical epidemiology, environmental exposure science, statistical modeling, and policy advocacy.

Keywords: Air pollution; India; cardiovascular diseases; cohort studies; particulate matter.