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Redefining the Impact of Air Pollution on Public Health: A Call for Advanced Assessment Method

This Perspective underscores the urgent need for a broader approach to assessing the disease burden from air pollution


In a recent Perspective published in Science on April 4, 2024, Professor Torben Sigsgaard, the Director of BERTHA - Big Data Centre for Environment and Health, alongside co-author Barbara Hoffmann, calls for a comprehensive reassessment of the disease burden attributed to air pollution. Highlighting the critical role of pollutants like nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter in exacerbating a wide range of diseases—from cardiovascular and respiratory conditions to neurological disorders—the article underscores the inadequacy of current disease burden assessments. By leveraging recent WHO guidelines and evidence from large-scale cohort studies, Sigsgaard and Hoffmann advocate for the integration of supralinear exposure-response relationships into health impact assessments. Through this approach, they argue, will not only reveal the true extent of air pollution's impact on health, especially in low-exposure regions but also strengthen the effectiveness of clean air policies and prevention strategies. Their work marks a important step towards redefining acceptable air quality levels and shaping future environmental regulations to better protect public health.
Link to Article: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abo3801