Keywords: air quality guidelines, PM10, monitoring, traffic, urban pollution, NOx, NO2, health effects, exposure response, cardiovascular problems, respiratory problems, hospital admissions, nitrogen oxides, air pollution, Athens, Greece, mortality
Characteristics and expected health implications of annual PM10 concentrations in Athens, Greece
Several characteristics of the annual PM10 concentrations in the Athens conurbation, together with the expected health implications, are investigated using data from the Athens network of monitoring stations. Annual PM10 concentrations show a decreasing trend; however, concentration levels are still high, exceeding the current EU air quality standard at four monitoring stations and the Air Quality Guideline (AQG) suggested by WHO at all eight stations. PM10 concentrations correlate well with those of NOx and NO2, while the results suggest that approximately 54% of the PM10 fraction is attributable to road traffic. An analysis of the health implications of the observed PM10 levels, based on a dose?response relationship, is coupled with available health-related data from the Athens area. This analysis suggests that if PM10 concentrations were reduced to the levels of the AQGs, then a significant decrease in respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions and mortality would be observed.