Exploration of health risks related to air pollution and temperature in three Latin American cities

AMS Citation:
Romero Lankao, P., H. Qin, and M. Borbor-Cordova, 2013: Exploration of health risks related to air pollution and temperature in three Latin American cities. Social Science & Medicine, 83, 110-118, doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.01.009.
Date:2013-04-01
Resource Type:article
Title:Exploration of health risks related to air pollution and temperature in three Latin American cities
Abstract: This paper explores whether the health risks related to air pollution and temperature extremes are spatially and socioeconomically differentiated within three Latin American cities: Bogota, Colombia, Mexico City, Mexico, and Santiago, Chile. Based on a theoretical review of three relevant approaches to risk analysis (risk society, environmental justice, and urban vulnerability as impact), we hypothesize that health risks from exposure to air pollution and temperature in these cities do not necessarily depend on socio-economic inequalities. To test this hypothesis, we gathered, validated, and analyzed temperature, air pollution, mortality and socioeconomic vulnerability data from the three study cities. Our results show the association between air pollution levels and socioeconomic vulnerabilities did not always correlate within the study cities. Furthermore, the spatial differences in socioeconomic vulnerabilities within cities do not necessarily correspond with the spatial distribution of health impacts. The present study improves our understanding of the multifaceted nature of health risks and vulnerabilities associated with global environmental change. The findings suggest that health risks from atmospheric conditions and pollutants exist without boundaries or social distinctions, even exhibiting characteristics of a boomerang effect (i.e., affecting rich and poor alike) on a smaller scale such as areas within urban regions. We used human mortality, a severe impact, to measure health risks from air pollution and extreme temperatures. Public health data of better quality (e.g., morbidity, hospital visits) are needed for future research to advance our understanding of the nature of health risks related to climate hazards.
Peer Review:Refereed
Copyright Information:NOTICE: This is the author's version of a work accepted for publication by Elsevier. Changes resulting from the publishing process, including peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting and other quality control mechanisms, may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication.
OpenSky citable URL: ark:/85065/d7vm4d2g
Publisher's Version: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.01.009
Author(s):
  • Patricia Romero Lankao - NCAR/UCAR
  • Hua Qin
  • Mercy Borbor-Cordova
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