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Air pollution at the residence of Danish adults, by socio-demographic characteristics, morbidity, and address level characteristics

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Background: Exposure to outdoor air pollution is associated with adverse health effects. Previous studies have indicated higher levels of air pollution in socially deprived areas. Aim: To investigate associations between air pollution and socio-demographic variables, comorbidity, stress, and green space at the residence in Denmark. Methods: We included 2,237,346 persons living in Denmark, aged 35 years or older in 2017. We used the high resolution, multi-scale DEHM/UBM/AirGIS air pollution modelling system to calculate mean concentrations of air pollution with PM2.5, elemental carbon, ultrafine particles and NO2 at residences held the preceding five years. We used nationwide registries to retrieve information about socio-demographic indicators at the individual and neighborhood levels. We used general linear regression models to analyze associations between socio-demographic indicators and air pollution at the residence. Results: Individuals with high SES (income, higher white-collar worker and high educational level) and of non-Danish origin were exposed to higher levels of air pollution than individuals of low SES and of Danish origin, respectively. We found comparable levels of air pollution according to sex, stress events and morbidity. For neighborhood level SES indicators, we found high air pollution levels in neighborhoods with low SES measured as proportion of social housing, sole providers, low income and unemployment. In contrast, we found higher air pollution levels in neighborhoods with higher educational level and a low proportion of manual labor. People living in an apartment and/or with little green space had higher air pollution levels. Conclusion: In Denmark, high levels of residential air pollution were associated with higher individual SES and non-Danish origin. For neighborhood-level indicators of SES, no consistent pattern was observed. These results highlight the need for analyzing many different socio-demographic indicators to understand the complex associations between SES and exposure to air pollution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112714
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Inc.

    Research areas

  • Air pollution, Elemental carbon, NO, PM, Social inequality, Socioeconomic, Ultrafine particles

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