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Short-term effects of air pollution on mortality and morbidity: a european approach using epidemiologic time-series data

Objective

i) To provide quantitative estimates of short-term health effects of air pollution, taking into consideration interactions between different pollutants and between pollutants and other environmental factors. This objective will be realized with the use of a very extensive data base from several different European countries which represent various environmental and air pollution situations.
ii) To standardise the methodology in the analysis of epidemiologic time series data. This will involve detailed consideration of the methods used so far and suggestions for new approaches as well as standardization of the exposure (air pollution) measurements and confounding factors to be controlled.
iii) To select and develop a meta-analytic approach for epidemiologic time-series studies.
iv) To assess the feasibility of creating an European data base of air pollution measurements and of health indicators, recorded on a daily basis. This will allow a continuous surveillance of short-term effects of air pollution in the future.


The well known severe episodes of air pollution in Europe and North America before 1960, provided evidence that high levels of air pollution have important acute effects on human health, including a significant increase in mortality. Since then, protective actions have contributed to a decrease in air pollution to moderate or low levels in most European countries; the reduction, however, has not been uniform; actually an increase has been observed in certain areas. Recent publications indicate that moderate and low levels of air pollution have short-term effects on mortality and morbidity and these effects become measurable even when levels of air pollutants do not exceed currently accepted safety limits. In addition, there is evidence that air pollutants may interact between themselves as well as with other environmental factors, resulting in different thresholds.

Within the framework of the proposed project, a very extensive data base of epidemiologic time series data (specifically, daily mortality, daily emergency hospital admissions, air pollution data and data on confounders, e.g. meteorological variables), from several different European countries, representing various environmental and air pollution situations, will be used to provide estimates of short-term health effects of air pollution. Interactions between different pollutants and between pollutants and other environmental factors will be considered. The methodology of analysis of time series data in air pollution epidemiology will be standardized and techniques for meta-analysis will be selected and developed. Furthermore, the feasibility of creating a European data base of air pollution measurements and health indicators, recorded on a daily basis, which allow a continuous surveillance of short-term effects of air pollution will be assessed.

In a sub-project, "Short term effects of air pollution on mortality in urban population in Poland", data on daily air pollution levels and daily number of deaths in selected urban populations in Poland for several years will be studied. Data on daily mortality in 4-5 cities in Poland in the years 1997-1990 will be used. Data on ambient air pollution concentrations are collected through a network of measurement sites all over the country and the Department of Medical Statistics have purchased data from five cities. The data on 24-hour measurements of SO2 and of suspended particulate matter collected in the period 1977-1990 (in some cities it may be slightly shorter) will be used. In a second sub-project, similar data will be analysed for Bratislava.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

NATIONAL AND KAPODISTRIAN UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS
Address
Mikras Asias Street 75
11527 Athens
Greece

Participants (7)

Ayuntamiento de Barcelona
Spain
Address
25-29,Paseo Marítimo
08071 Barcelona
GSF-RESEARCH CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH
Germany
Address
Ingolstaedter Landstrase 1
85764 Oberschleissheim
Helsinki City Center of the Environment
Finland
Address
24,Helsinginkatu
00530 Helsinki
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Netherlands
Address
1,Antonius Deusinglaan
9713 AV Groningen
ST GEORGE'S HOSPITAL MEDICAL SCHOOL
United Kingdom
Address
Cranmer Terrace
London
Université de Grenoble I (Université Joseph Fourier)
France
Address

38706 La Tronche
École Nationale de Santé Publique
France
Address
14 Avenue Du Yal-d'onse
94410 Saint-maurice