Intra-urban variability of long-term exposure to PM2.5 and NO2 in five cities in Colombia

Laura A. Rodriguez-Villamizar, Yurley Rojas, Sara Grisales, Sonia C. Mangones, Jhon J. Cáceres, Dayana M. Agudelo-Castañeda, Víctor Herrera, Diana Marín, Juan G.Piñeros Jiménez, Luis C. Belalcázar-Ceron, Oscar Alberto Rojas-Sánchez, Jonathan Ochoa Villegas, Leandro López, Oscar Mauricio Rojas, María C. Vicini, Wilson Salas, Ana Zuleima Orrego, Margarita Castillo, Hugo Sáenz, Luis Álvaro HernándezScott Weichenthal, Jill Baumgartner, Néstor Y. Rojas

Research output: Articles / NotesScientific Articlepeer-review


Rapidly urbanizing cities in Latin America experience high levels of air pollution which are known risk factors for population health. However, the estimates of long-term exposure to air pollution are scarce in the region. We developed intraurban land use regression (LUR) models to map long-term exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the five largest cities in Colombia. We conducted air pollution measurement campaigns using gravimetric PM2.5 and passive NO2 sensors for 2 weeks during both the dry and rainy seasons in 2021 in the cities of Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Bogotá, Cali, and Medellín, and combined these data with geospatial and meteorological variables. Annual models were developed using multivariable spatial regression models. The city annual PM2.5 mean concentrations measured ranged between 12.32 and 15.99 µg/m3 while NO2 concentrations ranged between 24.92 and 49.15 µg/m3. The PM2.5 annual models explained 82% of the variance (R2) in Medellín, 77% in Bucaramanga, 73% in Barranquilla, 70% in Cali, and 44% in Bogotá. The NO2 models explained 65% of the variance in Bucaramanga, 57% in Medellín, 44% in Cali, 40% in Bogotá, and 30% in Barranquilla. Most of the predictor variables included in the models were a combination of specific land use characteristics and roadway variables. Cross-validation suggests that PM2.5 outperformed NO2 models. The developed models can be used as exposure estimate in epidemiological studies, as input in hybrid models to improve personal exposure assessment, and for policy evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3207-3221
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024


  • Air pollution
  • Colombia
  • Fine particulate matter
  • Land use regression models
  • Nitrogen dioxide


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