Health benefits related to the reduction of PM concentration in ambient air, Silesian Voivodeship, Poland

Michał Kowalski, Katarzyna Kowalska, Małgorzata Kowalska
International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health 2016, 29 (2): 209-17

OBJECTIVES: Health Impact Assessments (HIA) approach can be executed by calculating the attributable burden of disease. The most common indicators used in the HIA methodology are: premature mortality, morbidity, life-expectancy, and Disability Adjusted Life-Year (DALY). The term Disability Adjusted Life-Years (DALYs) indicates months/years lost due to a premature death or disability. The aim of the study was to present health benefits, expressed in terms of lower total mortality and cardio-respiratory hospitalization rates, due to a decreased particulate matter (PM) concentration in ambient air, in Silesian voivodeship.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: In this paper, results obtained from the APHEKOM (Improving Knowledge and Communication for Decision Making on Air Pollution and Health in Europe) project, which provided specialized HIA tools, useful for assessing health benefits resulting from reducing air pollution, were used. Both short-term and long-term exposure HIA tools were applied with regard to the appropriate data for Silesian voivodeship. Exposure data were obtained from the Regional Environmental Inspectorate in Katowice, while population and health data were obtained from the Central Statistical Office of Poland or from the Silesian Voivodeship Office, respectively.

RESULTS: Health benefits that are related to an improvement of ambient air quality in Silesia region are similar to previous estimates obtained for Kraków city. The reduction of short-term exposure to PM10 by 5 μg/m3 results in a lower number of yearly non-external deaths (2.6-2.75 per 100 000 inhabitants). This effect was also shown to be similar in the city of Zabrze, as well as in the whole Silesia region.

CONCLUSIONS: The Health Impact Assessments tools developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) can help public health experts make decisions in order to improve the health of populations living in particular regions of Europe.

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