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Contribution of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide exposure from power plant emissions on respiratory symptom and disease prevalence

Amster E.D., Haim M., Dubnov J., Broday D.M.

This study investigates the association between exposure to ambient NOx and SO2 originating from power plant emissions and prevalence of obstructive pulmonary disease and related symptoms. The Orot Rabin coal-fired power plant is the largest power generating facility in the Eastern Mediterranean. Two novel methods assessing exposure to power plant-specific emissions were estimated for 2244 participants who completed the European Community Respiratory Health Survey. The “source approach” modeled emissions traced back to the power plant while the “event approach” identified peak exposures from power plant plume events. Respiratory symptoms, but not prevalence of asthma and COPD, were associated with estimates of power plant NOx emissions. The “source approach” yielded a better estimate of exposure to power plant emissions and showed a stronger dose–response relationship with outcomes. Calculating the portion of ambient pollution attributed to power plants emissions can be useful for air quality management purposes and targeted abatement programs.