The article “Public-health impact of outdoor and traffic-related air pollution: A European assessment” is written by Künzli et al. (2000, p. 795). It emphasizes the fact that air contamination has a negative influence on the health of the representatives of the general public. In particular, professionals believe that it contributes to mortality and morbidity greatly. The authors assess the influence of the total outdoor pollution and its part that is connected with high traffic. They pay attention to Austria, France, and Switzerland, which are familiar with attributable cases of morbidity and mortality.
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The professionals are willing to reveal the way air pollution affects the public health. The research study is conducted to identify the number of mortality cases that are caused by air pollution. In addition to that, the authors are willing to define how many cases of mortality are caused by motorized traffic. It is also critical to mention that they discuss adult and children population separately as well differentiate cases of (chronic) bronchitis, asthma attacks, and restricted activities. With the help of this information, the authors are willing to improve healthcare situation and trigger the development of new environmental health policy options.
In order to find out what is the exact impact of air pollution on the population “epidemiology-based exposure-response functions for a 10 µg/m3 increase in particulate matter (PM10)” was used (Künzli et al., 2000, p. 795). The professionals focused on the connection between air contamination and mortality for adults who are about 30 years old. All populations were assessed regarding hospital admissions because of related issues. The attention was paid to respiratory and cardiovascular problems, in particular, as well as asthma attacks. The sample for chronic bronchitis included the male and female population of 25 years. The cases of bronchitis episodes were investigated on the basis of children population under 15 years. Finally, on the basis of the individuals who are 20 years old, restricted activity days were discussed. The authors modeled data for each square kilometer. They utilized PM10 emission inventories to focus on the specific data and separate those cases that were connected with the contamination caused by traffic. For the meta-analysis, the data starting with 1996 was used. It was gathered on the related websites mainly, which ensured its authoritativeness.
The research study showed that more than 5% of mortality cases per year are caused by air contamination, which equals to more than 40,000 situations. In 50% of all these cases, the connection with the motorized traffic was observed. Chronic bronchitis and its episodes turned out to be observed more seldom than other health issues (about 25,000 and 290,000 cases). The authors also emphasized that 500,000 asthma attacks took place during the same period of time. Finally, in almost 17 million cases, days of restricted activities were held. The professionals concluded that in the majority of cases PM emissions were caused by traffic, which proved their initial point of view. They also indicated that people who live in the most populated areas are at the highest risk because air is extremely contaminated there.
Materials of Interest
This very study reveals specific interest to various pollutants that contaminate the air. They are treated as indicators of exposure. Still, the attention is mainly paid to PM fractions. This is a mixture of particles that get into the air and influence people’s health adversely.
Limits and Values
Künzli et al. (2000) state that PM should not exceed 7.5 mg/m3; because relative risk is already expected when it equals 10 mg/m3.
The issue of air contamination with PM turns out to be critical, as according to the research study, 10 g/m3 increase in PM10 was observed. An annual mean PM10 is 10–15 g/m3, which is almost 30%. In some areas, the results are even more critical as it excesses 55% and show the PM10 concentration of more than 40 mg/m3. Such results prove that the reported levels of PM are much higher than it is allowed. As a result, the possibility of facing even more crucial health issues increases.
The researchers come up with the conclusion that individuals who live in the areas with high traffic are exposed to PM more than others. The traffic-related air proportion cases equal “43% in Austria, 56% in France, and 53% in Switzerland” (Künzli et al., 2000, p. 796).
On the basis of the information obtained with the help of this article, it is possible to state that risk of having health issues because of air contamination with PM is rather high in those territories where traffic is excessive. Unfortunately, today the concentration of PM that equals at least 10 mg/m3 can rarely be observed, especially in big cities. However, I tend to believe that those individuals who are healthy and tend to try to keep fit are not likely to be exposed to risk because they have good protection mechanisms. Still, I believe that if the professionals pay appropriate attention to this article and develop alterations on its basis, the situation can be improved greatly so that fewer people would face adverse outcomes.
Künzli, N., Kaiser, R., Medina, S., Studnicka, M., Chanel, O., Filliger, P.,… Sommer, H. (2000). “Public-health impact of outdoor and traffic-related air pollution: A European assessment”. The Lancet, 356(1), 795-801.