A health impact study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), has estimated premature death due to air pollution in more than 1000 European cities. The pollutants analyzed in the study are nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a toxic gas mainly associated with traffic and PM2,5 fine particles, due to combustion.
The results show that Europe suffers from an excess of mortality due to air pollutants. If the NO2 and PM2,5 levels recommended by the World Health Organization were met, more than 50,000 deaths could be prevented in the old continent each year.
Sasha Khomenko, research technician from the Urban Planning, Environment and Health group and first author of the study, explains that the European city with more premature deaths due to fine particles is Brescia, in Italy. Whereas, the metropolitan area of Madrid leads the European ranking in mortality attributable to NO2.
“There is no safe exposure threshold below which air pollution is harmless to health”Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, senior author of the study (ISGlobal)
With the data from this study, carried out in collaboration with the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) and the Utrecht university, scientists have made a ranking to order 858 European cities according to their air quality levels. If you want to know about the quality of the air you are breathing in your city, check out the ranking!
Khomenko S, Cirach M, Pereira-Barboza E, Mueller N, Barrera-Gómez J, Rojas-Rueda D, de Hoogh K, Hoek G, Nieuwenhuijsen M. Premature mortality due to air pollution in European cities; an Urban Burden of Disease Assessment. The Lancet Planetary Health, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(20)30272-2