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Aphekom WP5 paper on health benefits of reducing urban air pollution

The APHEKOM project aimed to provide new, clear and useful information on the health effects of air pollution in Europe. It assessed the health and monetary benefits of reducing short and long term exposure to PM and ozone in 25 European cities.

A new paper entitled ‘Assessing the public health impacts of urban air pollution in 25 European cities: Results of the Aphekom project’ has just been published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

Aphekom scientists performed health impact assessments using routine health and air quality data, and a common methodology. Two scenarios were considered: a decrease of the air pollutant levels by a fixed amount and a decrease to the WHO air quality guidelines. The results reveal that in the 25 cities, the largest health burden was attributable to the impact of chronic exposure to the particulate matter PM2.5. European citizens are still exposed to concentrations exceeding the WHO recommendations.

Aphekom provided robust estimates confirming that reducing urban air pollution would result in significant health and monetary gains in Europe. Complying with the WHO guideline of 10ug/m3 in annual mean for PM2.5 would add up to 22 months of life expectancy at age 30, corresponding to a total of 19.000 deaths delayed. The associated monetary gain would total some 31 billion EUR annual, including savings on health expenditures, absenteeism and intangible costs such as well-being, life expectancy and quality of life.

This work is particularly relevant now when the current EU legislation is being revised in 2013.

Photo: 2012 Policy Workshop EU Year of Air - Dr. Hanns Moshammer, Medical University Vienna, presents the results of the EU funded APHEKOM project on air pollution and health.

Last updated on 15 March 2013

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