POLISH SMOG STUDY - the first and largest study on the influence of air pollution on human health

The aim of the project is to assess the impact of air pollution in Eastern Poland on regional public health. As the region is characterized by low socioeconomic status, in the cold season the residents’ suboptimal heating choices are in result posing a major anthropogenic threat to air quality in the form of low emissions. Both the poor heating choices as well as the specific geographic location of Eastern Europe, especially at times of frosty Russian weather conditions characterized by high pressure, cold air, and sunshine, favor the formation of the phenomenon known as “Polish smog”. The air pollution, rich in compounds such as PM2.5, PM10, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (benzo(a)pyrene) from low emission associated with household heating with solid fuels (coal, wood, and often also waste), imposes detrimental effects on health and life of the population, in particular in the context of cardiovascular effects.

Our project will be conducted in Eastern Poland – the area characterized by unique natural features, large areas covered by forests, lack of factories, and relatively low industrialization. The vast majority of studies on air pollution were conducted in highly polluted areas, in which patients are exposed to moderate and extreme concentrations of pollutants. Taking into consideration the scarce number of surveys from areas with a low level of pollution we intend to analyze the relationship between air pollution and cardiovascular and renal outcomes in Eastern Poland. The examination of the impact of so-called “Polish smog” on mortality and morbidity in the study area is not without significance. It would be the first major study of the impact of this type of pollution on human health.

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