Background: Several recent studies have shown that current levels of fine particles (often measured as PM10) in ambient air are associated with increased cardiovascular and respiratory morbidity and mortality. The main open question is, what are the characteristics of the airborne particles that are responsible for these health effects. Currently, the two leading theories are that they are either due to the very large number of ultrafine particles in urban air or that the chemical composition of particles, especially the transition metal content on the surface of the particles determines their health effects. However, there is very little data on levels and exposure to fine and ultrafine particles in Europe, on the elemental composition of particles, and on their health effects.
Therefore, the aims of the present proposal are:
1. to improve exposure assessment to particles in Europe by assessing the size distributions, including ultrafine particles, and elemental compositions of fine particles in ambient air in three European cities with different sources of particulate air pollution
2. to improve risk assessment of exposure to fine particles of differing sizes and of differing elemental composition with focus both on respiratory and cardiovascular outcomes.
Workplan: In all three cities, 50 elderly person with chronic cardiopulmonary disease will be followed up for 6 months with biweekly intensive clinic examinations, which include measurements of cardiopulmonary function (spirometry, ECG monitoring, blood pressure) and of biomarkers for lung damage from urine. The subjects will also keep daily symptom diaries and do daily measurements of peak expiratory flow. Concurrently with the panel study, particle number and size distributions and levels of other pollutants in ambient air are continuously monitored in an intensive monitoring effort. 24-hour levels of PM2. 5 will also be monitored with impactors and elemental composition of half of the filters will be determined.
Expected benefits: The project will provide improved scientific basis for setting standards, monitoring, and control of particulate air pollution in Europe.
Keywords: environment, air pollution, particles, exposure, risk, respiratory, epidemiology
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
6700 AE Wageningen
1018 WT Amsterdam
1755 LE Petten