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Particulate matter affect human health

Foto: Ingunn Trones, NILU

Household combustion and agriculture are key emission sectors in future air quality management aiming at the reduction of health effects from exposure to PM, including BaP.

Senior scientist Cristina de Brito Beirão Guerreiro has determined this in her doctoral dissertation, “A novel combination of methods for air quality management support with focus on particulate matter”. Her doctorate was completed at the Technical University of Gdansk on 21 September 2016.

BaP and lung cancer

In the study, household combustion was identified as a major emission sector of primary PM and benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), and of increasing importance for PM and BaP concentrations in Europe.

Guerreiro’s dissertation further estimated European population exposure to BaP and the related incidence in lung cancer, by combining measurements, dispersion modelling, and relevant auxiliary data. About 20 % of the European population was exposed to BaP annual mean concentrations above the target value (1 ng.m-3) in 2012 and only about 12 % of the European population live in areas with concentrations under the estimated reference level for acceptable risk (0.12 ng.m-3).

The Gothenburg Protocol not sufficient

Agriculture is the main emission sector of NH3, an important PM precursor leading to the formation of secondary inorganic aerosols (SIA). SIA accounts for about one third of PM10 and half of PM2.5 concentrations in regional background ambient air in Europe.

The model simulations, combined with measurement data, in this study show that the emission reductions agreed under the revised Gothenburg Protocol (GP) will not be sufficient to achieve compliance with PM standards in Europe in 2020; hence further European measures should be considered. A further reduction of 30% of NH3 agriculture emissions is achievable by the implementation of currently available mitigation measures. Such a reduction would lead to important reductions in PM2.5 levels, reducing premature death due to air pollution in Europe.

Cristina Guerreiro og bedømmelseskomitéen
From the left: Prof. Jan Hupka, Gdansk Technical University, Prof. Jozef Pacyna, NILU & Gdansk Technical University, Cristina Guerreiro, Prof. Janusz GOLAS, AGH University of Science and Technology, Krakow, Poland, Prof. Stanislaw HLAWICZKA, Częstochowa University of Technology, Częstochowa, Poland. Foto: private