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Urban air toxics, Nitrogen oxides, Dispersion modeling, Air pollution exposure, Exposure inequality

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Air pollution exposure has been linked to numerous adverse health effects, with some disadvantaged subgroups disproportionately burdened. The objective of this work was to characterize distributions of emissions and concentrations of a few important urban air toxics at high spatiotemporal resolution in order to assess exposure and inequality. Benzene, 1,3-butadiene, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde were the focus pollutants, with oxides of nitrogen (NOx) estimated for comparisons. Primary pollutant emissions were estimated for the full spectrum of source types in the Tampa area using a hybrid approach that is most detailed for major roadways and includes hourly variations in vehicle speed. Resultant pollutant concentrations were calculated using the CALPUFF dispersion model, and combined with CMAQ model output to account for secondary formation of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. Census demographic data were applied to estimate residential pollution exposures and inequality among population subgroups. Estimated concentrations of benzene, 1,3-butadiene, and NOx were generally higher in urban areas and lower in rural areas. Exposures to these pollutants were disproportionately high for subgroups characterized as black, Hispanic and low income (annual household income less than $20,000). For formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, the patterns of concentration and exposure were largely reversed. Results suggest that disparities in exposure depend on pollutant type.

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Science of The Total Environment, v. 551-552, p. 474-483