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European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects

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Long-term exposure to air pollution

A study funded by the EU's FP7 Environment programme is using existing data to give scientists and policy makers a clearer picture of the health impacts of air pollution

Climate Change and Environment

Knowledge of the long-term health effects of air pollution on European citizens is being significantly increased thanks to the efforts of the Escape project. Project partners are measuring airborne particulates and nitrogen oxides in selected European regions. The chemical composition of sampled particulates is also analysed. Escape researchers are using information from over 30 European cohort studies, assessing air pollution exposure assessment at country, city and right down to the individual home address level. Scientists developed techniques for assessing long-term population exposure to air pollution and are applying these to four categories of the existing cohort studies. The initial category concerns the adverse effect of air pollution on pregnancy and the development of diseases such as asthma in children. The second group is investigating the relationship between long term exposure to air pollution and the prevalence of respiratory diseases like bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and adult asthma. The third category is providing data about the effect of long term exposure to air pollution inducing inflammation and atherosclerosis and the risk of acute coronary artery disease events and the development of preventative strategies. The final category investigates the impact of air pollution on the incidence of cancer and mortality. Project partners also created a database for determining the health effects of long-term air pollution on the European population. Escape is actively communicating with stakeholder organisations and policy makers to facilitate development of new policies and their implementation. The ultimate benefactors will be European citizens through improved health and environment.

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