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Improving Knowledge and Communication for Decision Making on Air Pollution and Health in Europe (Aphekom)

Moshammer, Hanns*; Forsberg, Bertil; Künzli, Nino; Medina, Sylvia§¶

doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000362779.45281.f8
Abstracts: ISEE 21st Annual Conference, Dublin, Ireland, August 25–29, 2009: Symposium Abstracts: Symposia Presentations

*Medical University, Vienna, Austria; †Umea University, Umea, Sweden; ‡CREAL, Bracelona, Spain; §InVS, Paris, France; and ¶for the, Aphekom Team, Austria.

Abstracts published in Epidemiology have been reviewed by the organizations of Epidemiology. Affliate Societies at whose meetings the abstracts have been accepted for presentation. These abstracts have not undergone review by the Editorial Board of Epidemiology.


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The health impact of current levels of air pollution (AP) is well established through epidemiological studies from all over the world and supported by mechanistic studies conducted in laboratories.

Short-term effects have been consistently shown in time-series and panel studies. Effect estimates are usually small but because exposure is widespread and concerned health endpoints are rather frequent, even these small effects pose a major threat to population's health. Long-term effects, studied mostly in cohort studies and underpinned by cross-sectional studies are stronger, although in Europe, robust studies are not numerous.

To encourage sound policy, reliable easy-to-understand information for decision makers, health professionals and the general public is vital, albeit not easy to achieve. Communication should neither evoke unreasonable fears nor should it neglect real risks, thus uncertainties on all levels should clearly be explained.

The EU-sponsored Aphekom project (Public Health Program EC Grant Agreement No.2007105) develops and delivers new information and tools so decision makers can set more effective local and European policies, health professionals can better advise vulnerable groups, and individuals can make better-informed decisions.

In specific, during the project's 2.5 years, Aphekom's more than 40 scientists in 25 European cities will develop health-impact indicators, and will report on health impacts and related costs. They will evaluate strategies designed to reduce AP. They will stimulate dialog between stakeholders. And they will provide guidance to health professionals on helping patients reduce their exposure to AP.

For Aphekom the ISEE conference is a welcomed opportunity to interact with the research community. This poster intends to stimulate this interaction through a short questionnaire asking the participants their opinion about AP, its relative importance for health, a rating of the most relevant pollution sources, and best approaches for community action. The questionnaire's answers will be collected during the conference and through the Aphekom Website.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.