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Ambient air pollution and health 

Ambient air pollution and health

Chapter:
Ambient air pollution and health
Author(s):

John Reid

, Giovanni Leonardi

, and Alex G. Stewart

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198745471.003.0016
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date: 26 June 2017

This chapter describes the impact of air pollution, including particulate matter and nitrogen oxides, on human health, through a case scenario where an increase in respiratory disease has been associated with changes in traffic density and increases in pollution indices. Background information on pollutants and air quality measurements is given based on WHO criteria. The importance of multidisciplinary input to such investigations is emphasized, involving specialists in toxicology and environmental science, as well as health protection staff. The role of geographical information systems in mapping air pollution levels to identify localities where guideline values are exceeded is emphasized, together with health impact assessments to monitor public health outcomes. The complex local, social, and political aspects that may arise are considered, and so endure engagement and communication with different interest groups. The final part clearly outlines currently unanswered questions and how they should be studied and managed in the future.

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