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Health impact assessment of particulate pollution in Tallinn using fine spatial resolution and modeling techniques
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
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2009 (English)In: Environmental health, ISSN 1476-069X, Vol. 8, 7- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Health impact assessments (HIA) use information on exposure, baseline mortality/morbidity and exposure-response functions from epidemiological studies in order to quantify the health impacts of existing situations and/or alternative scenarios. The aim of this study was to improve HIA methods for air pollution studies in situations where exposures can be estimated using GIS with high spatial resolution and dispersion modeling approaches.

METHODS: Tallinn was divided into 84 sections according to neighborhoods, with a total population of approx. 390,000 persons. Actual baseline rates for total mortality and hospitalization with cardiovascular and respiratory diagnosis were identified. The exposure to fine particles (PM2.5) from local emissions was defined as the modeled annual levels. The model validation and morbidity assessment were based on 2006 PM10 or PM2.5 levels at 3 monitoring stations. The exposure-response coefficients used were for total mortality 6.2% (95% CI 1.6-11%) per 10 microg/m3 increase of annual mean PM2.5 concentration and for the assessment of respiratory and cardiovascular hospitalizations 1.14% (95% CI 0.62-1.67%) and 0.73% (95% CI 0.47-0.93%) per 10 microg/m3 increase of PM10. The direct costs related to morbidity were calculated according to hospital treatment expenses in 2005 and the cost of premature deaths using the concept of Value of Life Year (VOLY).

RESULTS: The annual population-weighted-modeled exposure to locally emitted PM2.5 in Tallinn was 11.6 microg/m3. Our analysis showed that it corresponds to 296 (95% CI 76528) premature deaths resulting in 3859 (95% CI 10236636) Years of Life Lost (YLL) per year. The average decrease in life-expectancy at birth per resident of Tallinn was estimated to be 0.64 (95% CI 0.17-1.10) years. While in the polluted city centre this may reach 1.17 years, in the least polluted neighborhoods it remains between 0.1 and 0.3 years. When dividing the YLL by the number of premature deaths, the decrease in life expectancy among the actual cases is around 13 years. As for the morbidity, the short-term effects of air pollution were estimated to result in an additional 71 (95% CI 43-104) respiratory and 204 (95% CI 131-260) cardiovascular hospitalizations per year. The biggest external costs are related to the long-term effects on mortality: this is on average euro 150 (95% CI 40-260) million annually. In comparison, the costs of short-term air-pollution driven hospitalizations are small euro 0.3 (95% CI 0.2-0.4) million.

CONCLUSION: Sectioning the city for analysis and using GIS systems can help to improve the accuracy of air pollution health impact estimations, especially in study areas with poor air pollution monitoring data but available dispersion models.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 8, 7- p.
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-24891DOI: 10.1186/1476-069X-8-7PubMedID: 19257892OAI: diva2:227938
Available from: 2009-07-21 Created: 2009-07-21 Last updated: 2015-04-02Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Exposure to particulate matter and the related health impacts in major Estonian cities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exposure to particulate matter and the related health impacts in major Estonian cities
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Particulate matter (PM) is one of the most studied and problematic pollutants due to its toxicity and relati­vely high concentrations. This thesis aims to clarify the main sources and exposures of PM in Tallinn and Tartu, study the associations with health effects, and estimate the extent of those effects with health impact assessment (HIA).

It appeared that the main sources of particulate air pollution in Tallinn (the capital of Estonia) and Tartu (the second largest city of Estonia) are local heating and traffic, inclu­ding road dust. In addition to local emissions, particulate levels are affected by transboundary pollution. If the transboundary air masses originated from the Eastern European areas, the concentration as well as the oxidative capacity of fine particles was significantly higher in urban background air in Tartu compared to air masses coming from Scandinavian areas (Paper I).

During the last 15 years, traffic increase has been very fast in Tartu. However, due to the improvement in vehicle technology during this period, there has been only a slight increase in concentration of exhaust particles (Paper II). Nevertheless, a greater increase in road dust emissions was detected.

A statistically significant relationship between long-term exposure to those traffic induced par­tic­les and cardiac disease in the RHINE (Respiratory Health in Northern Europe) Tartu cohort was shown (Paper III). However, no significant associations with respira­tory health were found.

The HIA in Tallinn demonstrated 296 (95% CI = 76–528) premature deaths annually, because of PM (Paper IV). The average decrease in life expectancy was predicted to be 0.64 (95% CI 0.17–1.10) years. However, among risk groups it can be higher. In addi­tion, several cardiovascular hospitalizations are related. The costs to society be­cause of health effects reach up to €150 million annually (95% CI = 40–260) from pre­mature deaths and hospitali­zation constitute an additional €0.3 million (95% CI = 0.2–0.4).

The special HIA scenario, when more pollution fuel peat will be used in boiler houses was analysed as well (Paper V). It indicated that peat bur­ning would result in up to 55.5 YLL per year within the population of Tartu. However, the health effects of pollution from current traffic, local heating, and industry are at least 28 times bigger.

In conclusion, exposure to PM cause considerable health effects in the form of cardio­pulmo­nary diseases in main Estonian cities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2009. 68 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1314
Particulate matter, traffic, health impact assessment, cardiopulmonary
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Research subject
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-29769 (URN)978-91-7264-905-7 (ISBN)
External cooperation:
Public defence
2009-12-15, Sal B, 1D NUS 9tr, Umeå University, 09:00 (English)
Available from: 2009-11-26 Created: 2009-11-23 Last updated: 2016-09-01Bibliographically approved

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