A rigorous statistical framework for spatio-temporal pollution prediction and estimation of its long-term impact on health

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Abstract

In the United Kingdom, air pollution is linked to around 40000 premature deaths each year, but estimating its health effects is challenging in a spatio-temporal study. The challenges include spatial misalignment between the pollution and disease data; uncertainty in the estimated pollution surface; and complex residual spatio-temporal autocorrelation in the disease data. This article develops a two-stage model that addresses these issues. The first stage is a spatio-temporal fusion model linking modeled and measured pollution data, while the second stage links these predictions to the disease data. The methodology is motivated by a new five-year study investigating the effects of multiple pollutants on respiratory hospitalizations in England between 2007 and 2011, using pollution and disease data relating to local and unitary authorities on a monthly time scale.

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