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Health impact assessment of urban air pollution: new results for nine French cities and their relevance to public health Volume 2, issue 1, Janvier 2003

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Institut de veille sanitaire, 12, rue du Val d‘Osne, 94415 Saint Maurice Cedex. . Observatoire régional de la santé Nord‐Pas‐de‐Calais, 13, rue Faidherbe, 59046 Lille Cedex.. Observatoire régional de la santé Île‐de‐France, 21‐23, rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15.
  • Key words: air pollution; urban health; population surveillance; risk assessment; environmental exposure.
  • Page(s) : 19-25
  • Published in: 2003

The Institut de veille sanitaire has coordinated since 1997 the 9‐City Air and Health Surveillance Programme (PSAS‐9), intended to assess on an ongoing basis the relations between the population‘s exposure to urban air pollution and various health outcomes. The ultimate purpose of this program is to assess the health impact of air pollution in French urban areas and thus provide information necessary for effective air quality management policies. An example comes from the short‐term health impact assessment conducted in the nine cities, which has revealed that air pollution levels >10 µg\m 3 induce 2,786 overall premature deaths each year, 1,097 from cardiovascular causes and 316 from respiratory causes. If the mean levels of air pollution had been reduced by 50%, the premature deaths would have decreased by 1,834 (705 fewer from cardiovascular causes and 209 fewer from respiratory causes). Health impact assessment based on local health and air quality data is now acknowledged to be an important tool for helping decision makers determine policies to prevent the risks linked to air pollution. It has been endorsed by the WHO and is widely used in Europe. It is also consistent with the French Air and Rational Use of Energy Law (Loi sur l‘Air et l‘Utilisation Rationnelle de l‘Énergie) and the policies implemented in accordance with it to improve air quality management at local and regional levels.