Previous Project

HEI Erfurt II: "Improved air quality and its influences on short-term health effects in Erfurt, Eastern Germany" (2003 - 2009)

Study objectives:
One objective of the study was to quantify the association between the five criteria pollutants, i.e. particulate matter (PM10, PM2.5), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and ozone (O3), with daily mortality from 1991 to 2002 in Erfurt, Eastern Germany. A second objective was to characterize the change in particle size distributions in six size-fractions from 0.01 to 2.5 µm including ultrafine particles and its effect on mortality.

Specific aims:

  • to relate ambient levels of (a) the criteria pollutants SO2, NO2, CO and O3 to the daily mortality for the time period between October 1991 and March 2002, and (b) to relate PM10, PM2.5 and the particle size distribution to the daily mortality for the time period between October 1991 and March 1992 and between September 1995 and March 2002,
  • to test whether the relative risks for daily mortality in association with (a) the criteria pollutants SO2, NO2, CO, O3, with (b) PM10, PM2.5, and with the size distribution of particles remained unchanged over the respective time periods, and
  • to test whether changes in (a) concentrations of the gaseous criteria pollutants and (b) in emissions affected the relative risks for PM10, PM2.5 and ultrafine particles.

Study design:
Population based time-series mortality study on acute exposure of air pollutants

Study population:
Residents of Erfurt, Germany

Study area:
Erfurt, Germany

Study methods:

Exposure Assessment: Monitoring of daily fine and ultrafine particle counts in six size classes (1995-2001)
Measurement of gaseous components: SO2, NO2, CO, O3
Impactor measurements: PM10, PM2.5
Collection of data on influenza epidemics
Measurement of meteorological parameters
Health outcome:  Concurrent collection of death certificates
Statistical Methods:   Generalized additive models, Distributed lag models, Time-varying coefficient models

Study period:
October 1991 to March 2002

Current status:

Helmholtz Zentrum München - Institute of Epidemiology II: Annette Peters (Principal investigator), Matthias Stölzel (statistical analyses, until 2006), Susanne Breitner (development of statistical methods, statistical analyses), Josef Cyrys (coordination of exposure assessment), Mike Pitz (exposure assessment), Gabi Wölke (management of fieldwork), Sabine Kött (fieldwork), Joachim Heinrich (senior supervision), H.-Erich Wichmann (senior supervision).


  • Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Institute of Statistics: Helmut Küchenhoff
  • Helmholtz Zentrum München - Comprehensive Pneumology Center: Wolfgang Kreyling

Health Effects Institute (HEI), Boston, Massachusetts, USA (2003-2006)

Related publications

  • Peters A, Breitner S, Cyrys J, Stölzel M, Pitz M, Wölke G, Heinrich J, Kreyling W, Küchenhoff H, Wichmann HE. 2009. The influence of improved air quality on mortality risks in Erfurt, Germany. Res Rep Health Eff Inst (137):5-77; discussion 79-90.
  • Breitner S, Stölzel M, Cyrys J, Pitz M, Wölke G, Kreyling W, Küchenhoff H, Heinrich J, Wichmann HE, Peters A. 2009. Short-term mortality rates during a decade of improved air quality in Erfurt, Germany. Environmental Health Perspectives 117(3):448-454.
  • Stölzel M, Breitner S, Cyrys J, Pitz M, Wölke G, Kreyling W, Heinrich J, Wichmann HE, Peters A. 2007.
    Daily mortality and particulate matter in different size classes in Erfurt, Germany. Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology 17(5): 458-67.
  • Kreyling WG, Tuch T, Peters A, Pitz M, Heinrich J, Stölzel M, Cyrys J, Heyder J, Wichmann HE. 2003. Diverging long-term trends in ambient urban particle mass and number concentrations associated with emission changes caused by the German unification. Atmospheric Environment 37: 3841-3848.
  • Ebelt S, Brauer M, Cyrys J, Tuch T, Kreyling WG, Wichmann HE, Heinrich J. 2001.
    Air quality in postunification Erfurt, East Germany: associating changes in pollutant concentrations with changes in emissions. Environmental Health Perspectives 109(4): 325-333.
  • Wichmann HE, Spix C, Tuch T, Wölke G, Peters A, Heinrich J, Kreyling W, Heyder J. 2000. Daily mortality and fine and ultrafine particles in Erfurt, Germany. Part I, Role of particle number and particle mass. Research Report 98, Health Effects Institute, Cambridge, MA.

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