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Welcome to NordicWelfAir

 - a large interdisciplinary Nordic project funded by NordForsk

The expected overall results from this highly interdisciplinary project will be new knowledge about health effects of air pollution. Focus is on what kind of air pollution with respect to chemical composition and sources that causes the impacts from air pollution on human health for different target/population groups and on assessing the effects on the well-being and welfare.

The obtained results will form the basis for exploring the impacts on the distribution of welfare in the Nordic countries at population group level, for whole populations at national scale and between the Nordic countries.

Furthermore, new knowledge on the challenges this will have for the Nordic welfare systems is expected resulting in development of policy options proposing solutions to the public health and welfare challenges.

The overall aim of NordicWelfAir is:

  • to further understand the link between air pollution levels, the chemical composition of the pollution and the related health effects,
  • and to investigate and assess the effects of air pollution on the distribution of related health impacts, socio-economics and welfare in the Nordic countries.

The research collaboration will run for five years and has 16 partners from the Nordic countries.

The project is coordinated by Prof. Jørgen Brandt (jbr@envs.au.dk) and Senior Scientist Camilla Geels (cag@envs.au.dk), Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University.



The project: Understanding the link between Air pollution and Distribution of related Health Impacts and Welfare in the Nordic countries – NordicWelfAir – is funded through NordForsk’s Nordic Programme on Health and Welfare.

The project will run for five years and has been granted funding of NOK 30 million.

How do we regulate air pollution in an optimal way?

Air pollution has serious impacts on human health, wellbeing and welfare. The main challenge is to understand how to regulate air pollution in an optimal way both on global and local scales.

Linking the detailed information of the spatio-temporal distribution of air pollution levels and the chemical composition of the atmospheric particles with register data for mortality and morbidity, we have a unique opportunity in the Nordic countries to gain new understanding of the various health impacts from different kinds of air pollution from different kind of sources.

This will provide the basic understanding needed for policy making of strategies to optimally reduce the air pollution challenge and to assess the related impacts on the distribution of health impacts and related societal costs and welfare.

The results from the project will be used in both a Nordic as well as global perspective to improve the health and welfare by finding the optimal solutions to societal and public health challenges from air pollution through high-quality research.

The results from the research in this project have the potential to act as new international standards in our understanding of health impacts from air pollution for different population groups due to the possibility to integrate the unique data and knowledge of air pollution, register, health, socio-economics, and welfare research in the Nordic countries in a highly interdisciplinary project.

The study will provide a Nordic contribution to international research on the topics of environmental equality and justice within the area of air quality related risks, amenities and wellbeing.



New study on air pollution and mortality published

Based on national population data and an exposure assessment made for Denmark in the NordicWelfAir project, Raaschou-Nielsen  et al. has a new study published in the Lancet EClinicalMedicine:

Raaschou-Nielsen, O., E. Thorsteinson, S. Antonsen, G. J Holst, A. Tjønneland,  M. Ketzel, T. Sigsgaard, C. Geels, J. Brandt, C. B Pedersen, U. A. Hvidtfeldt, 2020 Long-term exposure to air pollution and mortality in the Danish - a nationwide study. The Lancet EClinicalMedicine. Vol. 28, 100605, 11.2020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100605

New air pollution health assessment for the Nordic countries published

The aim of this work is to quantify the deaths attributable to ambient air pollution in Nordic countries applying selected assessment tools and approaches, and to identify the main disparities:

Lehtomaki, H., Geels, C., Brandt, J., Rao, S., Yaramenka, K., Astrom, S., Andersen, M. S., Frohn, L. M., Im, U., and Hanninen, O.: Deaths Attributable to Air Pollution in Nordic Countries: Disparities in the Estimates, 2020, Atmosphere-Basel, 11, ARTN 467, https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11050467

Analysis of the influence of Residential wood combustion on ambient air quality in Nordic cities published

It is well-known that Residential wood combustion (RWC) is an important contributor to air quality in numerous regions. This study is the first extensive evaluation of the influence of RWC on ambient air quality in several Nordic cities:

Kukkonen, J., López-Aparicio, S., Segersson, D., Geels, C., Kangas, L., Kauhaniemi, M., Maragkidou, A., Jensen, A., Assmuth, T., Karppinen, A., Sofiev, M., Hellen, H., Riikonen, K., Nikmo, J., Kousa, A., Niemi, J. V., Karvosenoja, N., Santos, G. S., Sundvor, I., Im, U., Christensen, J. H., Nielsen, O.-K., Plejdrup, M. S., Nøjgaard, J. K., Omstedt, G., Andersson, C., Forsberg, B., and Brandt, J., 2020: The influence of residential wood combustion on the concentrations of PM2.5 in four Nordic cities, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 20, 4333–4365, 2020. https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-20-4333-2020