Assessing the public health impacts of urban air pollution in 25 European cities: results of the Aphekom project

Publié le 1 Avril 2013
Mis à jour le 9 septembre 2019

Introduction: The Aphekom project aimed to provide new, clear, and meaningful information on the health effects of air pollution in Europe. Among others, it assessed the health and monetary benefits of reducing short and long-term exposure to particulate matter (PM) and ozone in 25 European cities. Method: Health impact assessments were performed 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 World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines. Results were economically valued by using a willingness to pay approach for mortality and a cost of illness approach for morbidity. Results: In the 25 cities, the largest health burden was attributable to the impacts of chronic exposure to PM2.5. Complying with the WHO guideline of 10 Œg/m3 in annual mean would add up to 22 months of life expectancy at age 30, depending on the city, corresponding to a total of 19,000 deaths delayed. The associated monetary gain would total some EUR31 billion annually, including savings on health expenditures, absenteeism and intangible costs such as well-being, life expectancy and quality of life. Conclusion: 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. This work is particularly relevant now when the current EU legislation is being revised for an update in 2013. (R.A.)

Auteur : Pascal M, Corso M, Chanel O, Declercq C, Badaloni C, Cesaroni G, Henschel S, Meister K, Haluza D, Martin Olmedo P, Medina S
The Science of the total environment, 2013, vol. 449, p. 390-400