ESCAPE (2008-2011)

Effects of long-term exposure to air pollution on health in European cohorts

Study objective:
The proposed study will investigate effects of long-term exposure to air pollution in Europe on human health.  The background is that current estimates of the European health impact of especially fine particles in the air are large. However, these are primarily based on exposure response relationships establised in studies from north America. There is an urgent need to perform studies in Europe on current exposures, and to use refined exposure assessment tools.
Specific aims:

  1. to develop a flexible methodology for assessment of population exposure to air pollution focused primarily on fine particles, particle composition, and nitrogen oxides.
  2. to apply this exposure assessment methodology on existing cohort studies of mortality and chronic disease in Europe that have been selected based on their potential to quantify relationships between exposure and health response.
  3. specifically, to investigate exposure-response relationships for (a) adverse perinatal health outcomes, and development of diseases such as asthma in children;  (b) intermediate respiratory disease endpoints in adults; (c) intermediate cardiovascular disease endpoints in adults; (d) all-cause and cause-specific mortality, and cancer incidence.
  4. to develop a data base for quantitative estimates of the health impacts of air pollution for all of these health endpoints for the European population
  5. to develop recommendations for improvement of the design and implementation of future studies on health effects of long-term exposure to air pollution in Europe.

Study design:
Several cohort studies spread over Europe

Study population:
Cohorts of adults and children cohorts followed from birth on. Helmholtz Zentrum Munich will bring in to ESCAPE the following cohorts: KORA and ECRHS Erfurt as adult cohorts and the Munich birth cohorts GINI and LISA.

Study area:
Most European countries participate in ESCAPE.

Study methods:

Study period:
2008 - 2011.

Current status:
Exposure assessment started.

Bert Brunekreef (project co-ordinator), Partner Helmholtz Zentrum München: Joachim Heinrich (co-investigator), Annette Peters (coordinator cardiovascular disease work package)

Collaboration with 24 partners.


Helmholtz Zentrum München
Institute of Epidemiology
Joachim Heinrich
P.O. Box 1129
D-85758 Neuherberg
Tel. +49-(0)89-3187-4150
Fax +49-(0)89-3187-3380


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