AirQ+: software tool for health risk assessment of air pollution

AirQ+ users survey
WHO/Europe is interested in gathering information about where and how AirQ+ is used, to improve its assistance.Please share information on your use of AirQ+. We will use the survey data in aggregated form for a general overview and statistical analysis of AirQ+ users.

Quantifying the effects of exposure to air pollution in terms of public health has become a critical component in policy discussion. WHO/Europe's software tool AirQ+ performs calculations that allow quantification of the health effects of exposure to air pollution, including estimates of the reduction in life expectancy. 

AirQ+ estimates:

  • the effects of short-term changes in air pollution (based on risk estimates from time-series studies);
  • the effects of long-term exposures (using life-tables approach and based on risk estimates from cohort studies).

For each type of estimate, separate HELP files explain details of calculation.

Methodology and scientific basis for the risk estimates are summarized in the documents listed below.

AirQ+ download, set up and examples

Current version: AirQ+1.0, 18 May 2016

AirQ+ can be used, with some limitations, for cities, countries or regions to estimate:

  1. How much of a particular health effect is attributable to selected air pollutants?
  2. Compared to the current scenario, what would be the change in health effects if air pollution levels changed in the future? 

Download and set-up information

The AirQ+ files and folders are distributed in a compressed zip folder.

  • It is recommended to create a dedicated folder for AirQ+ on your local hard drive. 
  • All files must be copied to that folder without changing their names or relative location. 
  • Start the program by double-clicking on AirQPlus.jar.

Default and user-required data

AirQ+ enables users to use pre-loaded datasets for: 

  • relative risks (RRs) for selected pollutant health end-points pairs; 
  • conversion factors between PM2.5 and PM10 at the national level; and 
  • worldwide solid fuel use statistics at the national level.

AirQ+ requires users to load their own data for the population studied: 

  • Air quality (e.g., average levels or frequency of days with specific levels)
  • Population (e.g., number of adults aged ≥ 30 years) 
  • Health (e.g., baseline rates of health outcomes)

AirQ+ also enables users to load their own data for pollutants not included in AirQ+ if RRs are available. In this situation, it is highly recommended to use results from a meta-analysis rather than from a single local study.


For each combination of pollutant/health outcome/type of exposure, the AirQ+ documentation provides examples of how to use the software.