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Who Could Not Avoid Exposure to High Levels of Residence-Based Pollution by Daily Mobility? Evidence of Air Pollution Exposure from the Perspective of the Neighborhood Effect Averaging Problem (NEAP)

Sciprofile linkXinlin Ma, Sciprofile linkXijing Li, Sciprofile linkMei-Po Kwan, Sciprofile linkYanwei Chai
Abstract: It has been widely acknowledged that air pollution has a considerable adverse impact on people’s health. Disadvantaged groups such as low-income people are often found to experience greater negative effects of environmental pollution. Thus, improving the accuracy of air pollution exposure assessment might be essential to policy-making. Recently, the neighborhood effect averaging problem (NEAP) has been identified as a specific form of possible bias when assessing individual exposure to air pollution and its health impacts. In this paper, we assessed the real-time air pollution exposure and residential-based exposure of 106 participants in a high-pollution community in Beijing, China. The study found that: (1) there are significant differences between the two assessments; (2) most participants experienced the NEAP and could lower their exposure by their daily mobility; (3) three vulnerable groups with low daily mobility and could not avoid the high pollution in their residential neighborhoods were identified as exceptions to this: low-income people who have low levels of daily mobility and limited travel outside their residential neighborhoods, blue-collar workers who spend long hours at low-end workplaces, and elderly people who face many household constraints. Public policies thus need to focus on the hidden environmental injustice revealed by the NEAP in order to improve the well-being of these environmentally vulnerable groups.
Keywords: environmental justice / Beijing / Air Pollution Exposure / neighborhood effect averaging problem (NEAP)

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