Health Impact of Air Pollution from Shipping in the Baltic Sea: Effects of Different Spatial Resolutions in Sweden

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Oct 29;17(21):7963. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17217963.

Abstract

In 2015, stricter regulations to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions and particulate air pollution from shipping were implemented in the Baltic Sea. We investigated the effects on population exposure to particles <2.5 µm (PM2.5) from shipping and estimated related morbidity and mortality in Sweden's 21 counties at different spatial resolutions. We used a regional model to estimate exposure in Sweden and a city-scale model for Gothenburg. Effects of PM2.5 exposure on total mortality, ischemic heart disease, and stroke were estimated using exposure-response functions from the literature and combining them into disability-adjusted life years (DALYS). PM2.5 exposure from shipping in Gothenburg decreased by 7% (1.6 to 1.5 µg/m3) using the city-scale model, and 35% (0.5 to 0.3 µg/m3) using the regional model. Different population resolutions had no effects on population exposures. In the city-scale model, annual premature deaths due to shipping PM2.5 dropped from 97 with the high-sulfur scenario to 90 in the low-sulfur scenario, and in the regional model from 32 to 21. In Sweden, DALYs lost due to PM2.5 from Baltic Sea shipping decreased from approximately 5700 to 4200. In conclusion, sulfur emission restrictions for shipping had positive effects on health, but the model resolution affects estimations.

Keywords: EMEP model; PM2.5; SECA; air pollutants; health effects; heart attack; myocardial infarction; population exposure; stroke.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't