Project

UFIREG: " Ultrafine particles – an evidence based contribution to the development of regional and European environmental and health policy" (2011 – 2014)

Official website of the project: www.ufireg-central.eu

Study objectives:
The project UFIREG focuses on short-term effects of ultrafine and fine particles on human health, as information on health effects of ultrafine particles is still limited. Up to now, there exist no directives for regulation of ultrafine particle measurements in ambient air. The established limit values for particulate matter (PM10 or PM2.5) are not suitable for ultrafine particles (UFP) because of their small size and mass. Hence, main objectives of the study are to measure ultrafine particles in five European cities (Dresden, Augsburg, Prague, Ljubljana and Chernivtsi) and to investigate the short-term effects of ultrafine particles on mortality and morbidity in order to provide an evidence based contribution to the development of environmental and health policy.

Specific aims:

  • To improve the overall sensitivity of the population as well as the environmental and health care authorities of the targeted regions to the health effects of ultrafine particles
  • To prepare a cost-efficient ultrafine particles measurement strategy applicable in all European regions
  • To demonstrate the applicability of the measurement strategy in the involved cities
  • To investigate short-term effects of ultrafine and fine particles on (cause-specific) mortality and hospital admissions
  • To integrate results into the regional political decision-making and concrete local measures by developing differentiated solutions to the respective regional settings.

Study method:
Additionally to the routinely measured air pollutants, UFPs are measured in five European cities over a period of two years. Data on morbidity and mortality of the population are collected over this period.

UFIREG measurements:

Parameters:

  • Particle size distribution (PSD)
  • Gaseous pollutants (NO2, SO2, O3), PM10, PM2.5 and meteorological parameters

Instrumentation:

  • Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer, Twin Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS, TSMPS)
  • UFP-Monitor (TSI3031 / UFP 330)

Quality assurance program:

  • Aerosol training course for the project partners (January 2012)
  • Initial comparison workshop for all SMPS at the World Calibration Center for Aerosol Physics in Leipzig including education of the technicians in operating the SMPS
  • Installation of automatic control units
  • Frequent on-site instrument comparisons against a WCCAP reference SMPS and CPC

Study design:
City-specific time series analysis; in case the results are not too different, city-specific results will be pooled using meta-analytic approaches.

Study areas:
Dresden and Augsburg (Germany), Prague (Czech Republic), Ljubljana (Slovenia), and Chernivtsi (Ukraine).

Study population:
Residents of Dresden, Augsburg, Prague, Ljubljana and Chernivtsi, respectively.

Study period:
July 2011 – December 2014

Current status:
Ongoing

Investigators:
Technische Universität Dresden, Research Association Public Health Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt; Saxon State Agency for Environment, Agriculture and Geology;
Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health (Prof. Dr. Annette Peters, Dr. Josef Cyrys, Dr. Susanne Breitner, Dr. Alexandra Schneider, Dr. Regina Rückerl, Uta Geruschkat, Stefanie Lanzinger, Thomas Kusch);
Institute of Experimental Medicine AS CR, v.v.i.; Czech Hydrometeorological Institute;
Institute of Public Health Celje; Departement of Medical and Ecological Problems, L.I. Medved’s Institute of Ecohygiene and Toxicology, Ministry of health, Ukraine

Funding:
European Regional Development Fund Financing Programme Central Europe (2011-2014)

Contact:
Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health
Institute of Epidemiology II
Dr. Josef Cyrys


Related publications:

  • Ultrafine and Fine Particles and Hospital Admissions in Central Europe, Results from the UFIREG Study.
    Lanzinger S, Schneider A, Breitner S, Stafoggia M, Erzen I, Dostal M, Pastorkova A, Bastian S, Cyrys J, Zscheppang A, Kolodnitska T, Peters A; UFIREG study group.
    Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2016 Nov 15;194(10):1233-1241
    Abstract

  • Associations between ultrafine and fine particles and mortality in five central European cities - Results from the UFIREG study.
    Lanzinger S, Schneider A, Breitner S, Stafoggia M, Erzen I, Dostal M, Pastorkova A, Bastian S, Cyrys J, Zscheppang A, Kolodnitska T, Peters A; UFIREG study group.
    Environ Int. 2016 Mar;88:44-52. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2015.12.006. Epub 2015 Dec 17.
    Abstract

  • Ultrafine particles - too small to see, too big to ignore: What can regional and European environmental and health policy do? Summary for Policymakers and Stakeholders
    open as pdf

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