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Abstracts: ISEE 21st Annual Conference, Dublin, Ireland, August 25–29, 2009: Symposium Abstracts: Symposia Presentations

Deriving and Communicating Risks: Strengths, Needs, Opportunities

Künzli, Nino*†

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doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000362808.05378.98
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The use of information from toxicology and epidemiology to estimate the total public health risk of environmental hazards has a long tradition in many areas, including air pollution research and the related policy making. Such health impact assessments are particularly useful to translate current knowledge of the association between air pollution and health into an estimate of the health burden attributable to pollution and of the possible future benefits of clean air regulations. The wide use of these tools on the local, regional, national, multi-national and the global scale strongly enhanced fruitful debates and communication between researchers, policy makers, interest groups, and the public.

The progress made in the assessment of acute and in particular of long-term effects of air pollution on morbidity and mortality, and the identification of traffic corridors as a particularly polluted space raised new methodological issues and limitations with unsettled implications on risk assessment procedures and communications. The conceptual and quantitative implications of pollution affecting chronic pathologies as well as morbidities that develop on the grounds of these pathologies will be discussed. The challenges in risk assessment in dealing with proximity to traffic corridors will be highlighted. Similarities, discrepancies, strengths and limitations of ‘attributable deaths' and ‘attributable years of life lost' (or gained) will be addressed. The presentation provides inputs into the discussion on how to move forward.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.