Chemical Industry and Chemical Engineering Quarterly 2012 Volume 18, Issue 4-2, Pages: 675-679
doi:10.2298/CICEQ120104110K
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Short-term health effects of particulate air pollution with special reference to the needs of southern European countries

Katsouyanni Klea

Exposure to air pollution, especially from particulate matter, is generally accepted to be one of the most important public health problems in Europe and worldwide. The effects caused in the general population are associated with relatively small relative risks, but if the ubiquity of exposure is considered, the attributable number of events is large. Furthermore, there is evidence that the effects in sensitive population subgroups (such as the elderly, those with chronic diseases and children) are stronger. Within large European Union funded collaborative projects (such as the Air Pollution and Health: a European Approach-APHEA), effect modification by geographical characteristics has been investigated and it was found that in warmer countries, in locations where particles come from traffic and where the proportion of the elderly is greater, particle toxicity is increased. These characteristics are particularly relevant to Southern European locations. From other projects we know that meteorological, climatic, environmental and socioeconomic factors are effect modifiers of the effects of specific air pollutants. In this presentation we will show the evidence on the short-term health effects of particulate and gaseous air pollutants and emphasize particularly results concerning southern Europe and potential effect modifiers. The gaps in knowledge and the need to study air pollution in Southern European countries more extensively will be demonstrated. To conduct useful research, good quality air pollution and health data are needed.

Keywords: air pollution, ambient particles, effect modification, Southern Europe