Mikael Skou Andersen

An update on mortality in Denmark caused by fine particulate matter air pollution

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterResearch


In terms of effects on mortality fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is considered the most important component of air polllution. Several international studies have investigated the effect size. It is estimated that overall mortality increases 6% per 10µg/m3 increase in annual PM2.5 and that PM2.5 affects global mortality signficantly (Hoek, 2013).
The first attempt to describe the size of the effects of PM2.5 in Denmark were published in 2002 (Raaschou-Nielsen, 2002). At that time only PM10 data were available and only with a great deal of uncertainty. Since then the knowledge of PM2.5 concentration and distribution in Denmark (and elsewhere) has increased tremendously and new calculations of its’ health effects have been reported.
Since 2002 not only the air pollution data and the models have changed, so has the demography of the population and the baseline mortality rates.
It is not clear to what extent the changes in estimates of mortality from PM2.5 exposure over the years is due to changes in population and in pollution and to what extent they are due to improved models.

Several methods of calculation were compared for the year 2012. First the method used in 2002 in which the annual mean in PM10 in different areas of Denmark was estimated by expert judgments and then multiplied by a relative risk of 1.043/10 µg/m3 of PM10 and the mortality rate. Second a model system integrating chemistry transport, urban background models, and population density in a 1 x 1 km grid (the EVA model) was applied using a relative risk of 1.06/10 µg/m3 of PM2.5. Third, a life table analysis using the age distribution of the population in Denmark in 2012 and the average PM2.5 exposure of the entire population and the relative risk from the EVA model. Fourth, the life table analysis was repeated with the same data but under the assumption of a log-linear relationship between PM2.5 and mortality rather than a linear relationship.
Annual urban background PM10 in Copenhagen changed from 25 µg/m3 in 2002 to 17 in 2012. In 2012 PM2.5 was 11 µg/m3 at the Copenhagen urban background and 15 µg/m3 at the Copenhagen street level (http://envs.au.dk/en/knowledge/air/monitoring/).
Results from the different methods of calculation of effects on mortality will be presented and discussed.

Estimation of health effects from long term PM exposure has developed tremendously over the past decade. Rigouros comparisons of how these different methods perform has rarely been done. This study compare methods using Denmark as an example, and gives an update on mortality caused by fine particulate matter air pollution.

This work was funded by the DCE – National Centre for Environment and Energy project ”Health impacts and external costs from air pollution in Denmark over 25 years” and by NordForsk under the Nordic Programme on Health and Welfare project “Understanding the link between air pollution and distribution of related health impacts and welfare in the Nordic countries (NordicWelfAir)”.

Hoek G, Krishnan RM, Beelen R, Peters A, Ostro B, Brunekreef B, et al. (2013). Long-term air pollution exposure and cardio- respiratory mortality: a review. Environ Health, 12, 43.
Raaschou-Nielsen O, Palmgren F, Jensen S, Wåhlin P, Berkowicz R, Hertel O, et al. (2002). Helbredseffekter af partikulær luftforurening i Danmark - et forsøg på kvantificering. Ugeskrift for Læger, 164, 3959–63.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year2016
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventNOSA 2016: proceedings - Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 4 Apr 2016 → …


ConferenceNOSA 2016
Period04/04/2016 → …

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