Development of an Integrated Exposure – Dose Management Tool for Reduction of Particulate Matter in Air: Overview of the LIFE Index-Air Project
Title: Development of an Integrated Exposure – Dose Management Tool for Reduction of Particulate Matter in Air: Overview of the LIFE Index-Air Project
Authors: Almeida S.M., Almeida-Silva M., Canha N., Faria T., Eleftheriadis K., Diapouli E., Galifianakis V., Miranda A., Ferreira J., Hänninen O., Lazaridis M.
Airborne Particulate Matter (PM) is a complex mixture of microscopic particles derived from anthropogenic and natural sources. It is still a major environmental problem in several EU countries, while new evidence regarding its detrimental impact on human health has emerged.
There is a great deal of improvement with respect to emission control strategies of anthropogenic emission in European urban areas. However, the quantitative result of these changes in actual human exposure for specific toxic particle compounds is largely unknown with respect to each one of the emission sources and therefore the definition of the effective strategies can be jeopardized.
This brings us to the considerable importance of assessing the personal integrated exposure to air suspended particles mixtures of chemical compounds as it is the key determinant of the dose received by an individual and thus directly influences the health impacts, which is the ultimate objective of the air quality management strategies.
Measuring of the outdoor air levels and trends of pollutants at fixed ambient air quality monitoring sites together with modelling outdoor air concentrations with dispersion and chemical transport models has been the traditional way of evaluating urban air quality and estimating the needs of air pollution abatement programs. The potential of harmful health effects of air pollution has been estimated by comparing these levels to air quality guidelines and with health outcomes. However, this logic has been changed by a number of recent developments in scientific knowledge. Poor correlations have been found between ambient PM concentrations and personal exposure and therefore this approach fails to account for all components of exposure. Since people spend 90-95% of their time indoors, individual’s exposure to PM is dominated by indoor air pollution, which is partly outdoor air pollution that has penetrated indoors and partly pollution from indoor sources. However, data available for risk assessment of indoor air pollution are scarce and often insufficient. Information is available for the indoor air concentrations of some well-known pollutants, but is lacking for others whose effects are unclear such as the chemical components of indoor PM that are currently poorly characterized.
The main objective of the LIFE Index-Air project (www.lifeindexair.net) is to incorporate a database of outdoor and indoor air quality and a package of models to develop an innovative and versatile policy tool that will establish a relation between population exposure to mixtures of PM compounds, health effects and emission sources. This will be a cost effectiveness management tool for local, regional and national policy makers that will be used to quantitatively evaluate the impacts of policies on specific human exposure levels as well as plan new ones.
More specifically the LIFE Index-Air project has the following objectives:
1. Development and implementation of an innovative method aiming at a versatile and long term decision making tool in the hands of the authorities;
2. Creation of an available, accessible, comparable and interoperable database on chemical constituents of PM2.5 and PM10 sampled indoors and outdoors of EU cities;
3. Development of an exposure assessment system and an operational platform for particulate matter dose calculation to be incorporated in the tool;
4. Identification of the health endpoints associated with the exposure to PM;
5. Determination of the emission sources contribution to the human exposure to PM and evaluation of control strategies capable of underpinning the sustainable development of expected changes anticipating climate change and long term changes in the atmosphere;
6. Consolidate the knowledge base to assist authorities to implement the “Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution” and to formulate air quality action plans.
This work was supported by the European Community through the project LIFE Index-Air (LIFE15 ENV/PT/000674). C2TN/IST authors gratefully acknowledge the FCT support to the UID/Multi/04349/2013 project.
Type of publication: Poster abstract published at European Aerosol Conference (EAC 2017)
Abstract to download: here
Poster to download: here