Differentiated health impacts of primary and secondary ultrafine particles
During the past few decades, epidemiological studies have consistently linked the exposure to
particulate matter (PM) in ambient air to various negative health effects resulting in an
increase in mortality and morbidity. Traditionally, these studies have focused in exposures to
mass concentration of PM with a diameter ≤10 and ≤2.5 µm (PM10 and PM2.5, respectively), due to
the availability of measurement techniques and their inclusion in the legislation which make
them being extensively measured across Europe. However, negative health effects are expected to
be enhanced with decreasing particle size since nose and bronchioles are inefficient at
filtering ultrafine particles (UFP, PM ≤ 0.1 µm). Moreover, depending on their source, UFP may
affect differently to human health. No previous study has yet tried to tackle the fundamental
issue of identifying associations between the different sources contributing to UFP. Although
the growing literature is pointing towards UFP as main culprit of human health impairment, there
are currently no legal ambient standards for UFP. Therefore, further information on the effects
of UFP is needed in order to provide regulatory authorities with sufficient evidence of which
component from the mixture of PM involves more risk to human health.
This investigation should not focus on a single city or area, since different meteorological conditions, pollutant emissions and other parameters may influence divergently the sources of UFP. This requires an international collaboration, which will be the core of this study (and led by the applicant): institutions from the United Kingdom, Spain, Switzerland and Finland will join efforts and knowledge to quantify the health effects of primary and secondary UFP.
The main objectives of the Health Up (Differentiated health impacts of primary and secondary ultrafine particles) are:
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation
programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 747882.
Health 1UP2 is led by King’s College London but is a collaborative project with the following centres: Institute for Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC, Spain), Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal, Spain), University of Birmingham (UK), Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Science and Technology (Switzerland) and University of Helsinki (Finland).