Commission launches project on air pollution and health

On 17 September, the Commission announced the PEOPLE (Population Exposure to Air Pollutants in Europe) project designed to measure personal exposure to air pollution in European cities. The project aims to help the public make informed choices on personal health.

The dual goal of the PEOPLE project is to equip citizens with the necessary awareness to make decisions on personal health as well as to help decision makers shape future traffic and transport policies. The PEOPLE project aims to measure the impact of air pollution on human health, focusing on transportation and smoking. Benzine, a substance found in gasoline, has been selected as the first carcinogenic pollutant to be measured as exposure to it can increase the risk of the development of leukaemia.

In each participating city 200 volunteers will be selected based on whether they work or stay at home during the day, and if they work, what means of transport they use (car, public transportation, by bike, or on foot). The study will include smoker as well as non-smoker groups. Each volunteer will carry a measurement device on their body for 12 hours whose results will be compared with environmental data, gathered from busy road junctions as well as tranquil parks.

The first sampling day will take place on 22 October 2002 in Brussels and Lisbon. This will be followed by campaigns in other cities (including Bucharest, Budapest, Dublin, Helsinki, Krakow, Ljubljana, Madrid, Paris and Rome) in 2003 and 2004.

The PEOPLE project is being promoted by the Institute for Environment and Sustainability of the Joint Research Centre / European Commission.


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