February report for Environment, Climate and Health

3 February 2021

Keynote and invited presentations

5th Indian International (virtual) Conference on Air Quality Management (IICAQM 2020): Measurement, Modelling, Health Risk and Public Policy. 9th-11th December 2020, IIT Madras, Chennai, India. (Co-chaired by Prof Sotiris Vardoulakis)

Invited lecture: Climate Change, Air Pollution, and Public Health, University of Indonesia, 17 December 2020 (Prof Sotiris Vardoulakis)

Outreach and engagement

Asthma Australia Research Program launch event (Sotiris Vardoulakis)

Student news

Lei Wan commenced her PhD with us this month. Lei holds a master degree of Environmental Engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China. She has working experiences in various positions both in China and Australia prior to commencing her PhD. She worked as an administrator in Crawford School of Public Policy at ANU in 2014-2015 and worked as a research assistant in several projects on economic and environmental consulting in the last several years. Her research topic is Health Effects of Air Pollution in China as well as comparison across countries. She is supervised by Prof Sotiris Vardoulakis.

Papers accepted/published:

Ted Maddess; Jo Lane; Emilie Marie Frances Rohan; Rohan W Essex; Elinor McKone; Bhim Rai; Faran Sabeti. Correlation of central versus peripheral macular structure-function with acuity in age-related macular degeneration. Translational Vision Science & Technology. Accepted 18 January 2021.

Hanigan I.C., Broome R., Chaston T., Cope M., Dennekamp M., Heyworth J., Heathcote K., Horsley J., Jalaludin B., Jegasothy E., Johnston F., Knibbs L., Pereira G., Vardoulakis S., Vander Hoorn S., Morgan G., 2021. Avoidable mortality attributable to anthropogenic fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in Australia. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, 254. doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18010254

Heaviside C., Witham C., Vardoulakis S., 2021. Potential health impacts from sulphur dioxide and sulphate exposure in the UK resulting from an Icelandic effusive volcanic eruption. Science of the Total Environment (in press)

Vardoulakis S., Giagloglou E., Steinle S., Davis A., Sleeuwenhoek A., Galea K.S., Dixon K., Crawford J.O., 2020. Indoor Exposure to Selected Chemical Air Pollutants: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, 8972; doi:10.3390/ijerph17238972

Mueller W., Johnston H.J., Cherrie J.W., Tantrakarnapa K., Loh M., Vardoulakis S., Stein S., 2020. Exposure to ambient particulate matter and biomass burning during pregnancy: Associations with birth weight in Thailand. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology (in press)

Progress on research projects

The PFAS Health Study – Blood serum study fieldwork for PFAS testing in comparison areas completed in December, and cross-sectional survey fieldwork in comparison areas completed in January. Health biomarker testing of blood serum samples from exposed and comparison areas commenced recently. Analysis for the cross-sectional survey study, blood serum study and data linkage study (including linked perinatal data for NSW, Qld and NT, and national mortality, cancer and early childhood development data) is ongoing.

Climate Change and Health Policy and 5-Year Action plan for the Marshall Islands – Final project deliverable submitted – in discussion with RMI Ministry of Health regarding final steps of the project, consultation and launch of the policy/action plan (Sotiris Vardoulakis, Amelia Joshy, Aparna Lal, Robyn Lucas)


Cross-college bushfire smoke children's book project – Interviews with schools completed; literature review ongoing. https://rsph.anu.edu.au/phxchange/-science/bushfire-smoke-childrens-book  

(RSPH involvement: Sotiris Vardoulakis, Erin Walsh, Ginny Sargent, and Liz Drummond)

COVID-19 airborne transmission systematic review – full-text screening and data extraction completed (Sotiris Vardoulakis, Daniela Espinoza, and Amelia Joshy). 

Washroom infections systematic review – full-text screening and data extraction completed (Sotiris Vardoulakis, Daniela Espinoza, and Amelia Joshy).

Contribution to the MC2020 study led by ANUMS:


MRFF (led by RSP)- Building community resilience to promote mental health in bushfire-affected communities – National survey launched. MRFF Bushfire survey is now open


NHMRC Special Initiative in Human Health and Environmental Change – multi-centre network proposal in preparation, led by ANU/CHM (Sotiris Vardoulakis)