DOI: 10.3390/atmos14081247 ISSN: 2073-4433

Extending Multi-Pathway Human Health Risk Assessment from Regional to Country-Wide—A Case Study on Kuwait

Mohammad Munshed, Jesse Van Griensven Thé, Roydon Fraser, Bryan Matthews, Ashraf Ramadan
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)

Air pollution has emerged as a pressing global issue in recent decades. While criteria pollutants and greenhouse gases contribute to the problem, this article explicitly addresses hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). This work estimates the country-wide cumulative human health impacts from exposure to HAPs. Kuwait is used as the case study due to data availability and non-fragmentation of data. At present, the evaluation of multi-pathway human health risks arising from exposure to HAPs is incomplete, as indirect pathways have not been considered. Furthermore, only a few HAPs, such as benzene, have established ambient air quality standards specifically intended to safeguard human health, leaving many HAPs unregulated. This study considers several pathways (both direct and indirect) and various environmental media (air, water, plants, soil, and animal tissue). The findings indicate that cumulative health risks in the coastal air quality zone are within acceptable limits but are notably higher when compared to the other air quality zones. For cancer risks, only the Ahmadi Hospital, with a cancer risk of 1.09 × 10−5 for the resident adult exposure scenario, slightly exceeds the acceptable risk level of 1 × 10−5. The proposed methodology integrates the results from a country-wide emissions inventory composed of different air quality zones, air dispersion and deposition modeling, multi-pathway transport-and-fate analysis, exposure quantification, and health risk and hazard characterization. It also extends and adapts EPA methodologies initially designed for hazardous waste combustion facilities to additional emission sources and provides a case study for a region seldom subjected to such human health risk assessments.

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