Staubkohorte NRW (2002 – 2011)

A German Cohort Study on Mortality & Air Pollution in Women from North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Study objectives:
To investigate the effect of long-term exposure to ambient air pollution on mortality in elderly women.

Long-term exposure to air pollution is associated with an increase in mortality, in particular with an increase in cardiopulmonary mortality.

Study design:
Cohort study.

Study period:

  • Baseline questionnaire: 1985 – 1994
  • Follow-up: 2001 – 2003
  • Extension of follow-up: 2007 – 2008

Funding period:
2001 – 2004; 2007 – 2008; 2009 – 2010.

Study population:
Participants of several cross-sectional studies performed in North Rhine Westphalia from 1985 through 1994. Women aged 55 years (at recruitment) with German nationality.

Study area:
7 cities in North Rhine-Westphalia: Borken, Dortmund, Duelmen, Duisburg, Essen, Gelsenkirchen, and Herne.

Study methods:

  • Vital status (total deaths, cause of death)
  • Residential history
  • Baseline Questionnaire data
  • Exposure assessment (total suspended particulates, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide) using measurement data from monitoring sites and data from Geographic information systems (GIS).

Current status:
Extension of follow-up until 2008 was completed.

Joachim Heinrich (Principal Investigator) and Elisabeth Thiering.


  • Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Institute of Medical Data Management, Biometrics and Epidemiology, Chair of Epidemiology, Munich, Germany (H.-Erich Wichmann);
  • Environmental Health Research Institute (IUF) at the Heinrich-Heine-University of Duesseldorf, Duesseldorf, Germany ( Ursula Krämer, Dorothee Sugirii, Tamara Schikowski.

North Rhine-Westphalia State Environment Agency, Germany (Landesamt für Natur, Umwelt und Verbraucherschutz Nordrhein-Westfalen, LANUV)

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

Relevant publications:

Gehring U, Heinrich J, Kramer U, Grote V, Hochadel M, Sugiri D, Kraft M, Rauchfuss K, Eberwein HG, Wichmann HE (2006).
Long-Term Exposure to Ambient Air Pollution and Cardiopulmonary Mortality in Women.
Epidemiology 2006; 17/5:545-551.

Schikowski T, Sugiri D, Ranft U, Gehring U, Heinrich J, Wichmann HE, Kramer U:
Long-term air pollution exposure and living close to busy roads are associated with COPD in women (2005).
Respir Res. 2005 Dec 22;6:152.


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