Quantification of health effects of exposure to air pollution



Quantifying the impact of air pollution on the public's health has become an increasingly critical component in policy discussion. Those responsible for any health impact assessment must address important methodological issues related to both its design and conduct. A WHO Working Group examined several of these issues as they applied specifically to assessments of air pollution. The Group concluded that the most complete estimates of both attributable numbers of deaths and average reductions in life-span associated with exposure to air pollution are those based on cohort studies. Time-series studies would continue to contribute to scientific understanding of exposure-response relationships. The Group identified sensitivity analysis as an intrinsic part of impact estimation that is critical for quantifying the uncertainty of the estimates. Such analysis should consider
deviations of the conditions in the target population from those in the assessed population, which would plausibly affect estimated pollution effects.