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Estimating the morbidity related environmental burden of disease due to exposure to PM2.5, NO2 and O3 in outdoor ambient air

Kienzler, Sarah; Soares, Joana; Ortiz, Alberto González; Plass, Dietrich

Publication details

Series: Eionet Report - ETC/HE 2022/11

Publisher: ETC/HE

Year: 2022

ISBN: 978-82-93970-07-1

Fulltekst: doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7406073

Epidemiological studies have increasingly shown that ambient air pollution is not only associated with mortality but also with the occurrence of a number of long and short-term diseases. Further, the Global Burden of Disease study clearly indicated, that e. g. particulate matter pollution is also associated with a considerable burden of disease related to morbidity effects.

In addition to the most recent EEA’s health risk assessments, this report estimates the morbidity related health burden associated with exposure to the same three key air pollutants: fine particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ozone (O3). Years lived with disability (YLDs) or attributable hospitalisation cases are assessed for the year 2019 for numerous European countries, depending on the respective data availability. Besides, the methodological approach as well as reviews on evidence-based health outcomes, health data and concentration-response functions are provided.

For the ten considered risk-outcome pairs, the results showed the highest morbidity related burden of disease in Europe for PM2.5 associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with 51.6 YLDs per 100 000 inhabitants ≥25 years. For NO2 the highest morbidity burden resulted from diabetes mellitus (DM) with 54.6 YLDs per 100 000 inhabitants ≥35 years. For short-term O3 exposure hospital admissions due to respiratory diseases were estimated at 18 attributable cases per 100 000 inhabitants ≥65 years.

In addition to the estimates, the report contains suggestions for further sensitivity analyses. These would allow a better assessment of the effects resulting from different input data on the results.

The estimations presented in this report are the first of its kind that are carried out for a wide range of morbidity health outcomes associated with different outdoor air pollutants in Europe, using a consistent methodology and data from European health databases.