Annoyance due to air pollution in Europe

Bénédicte Jacquemin*, Jordi Sunyer, Bertil Forsberg, Thomas Götschi, Lucy Bayer-Oglesby, Ursula Ackermann-Liebrich, Roberto de Marco, Joachim Heinrich, Deborah Jarvis, Kjell Torén, Nino Künzli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Annoyance due to air pollution is a subjective score of air quality, which has been incorporated into the National Environmental monitoring of some countries. The objectives of this study are to describe the variations in annoyance due to air pollution in Europe and its individual and environmental determinants. Methods: This study took place in the context of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey II (ECRHS II) that was conducted during 1999-2001. It included 25 centres in 12 countries and 7867 randomly selected adults from the general population. Annoyance due to air pollution was self-reported on an 11-point scale. Annual mean mass concentration of fine particles (PM2.5) and its sulphur (S) content were measured in 21 centres as a surrogate of urban air pollution. Results: Forty-three per cent of participants reported moderate annoyance (1-5 on the scale) and 14% high annoyance (≥6) with large differences across centres (2-40% of high annoyance). Participants in the Northern European countries reported less annoyance. Female gender, nocturnal dyspnoea, phlegm and rhinitis, self-reported car and heavy vehicle traffic in front of the home, high education, non-smoking and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke were associated with higher annoyance levels. At the centre level, adjusted means of annoyance scores were moderately associated with sulphur urban levels (slope 1.43 μg m-3, standard error 0.40, r = 0.61). Conclusions: Annoyance due to air pollution is frequent in Europe. Individuals' annoyance may be a useful measure of perceived ambient quality and could be considered a complementary tool for health surveillance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809-820
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Volume36
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Foundation; Turin: ASL 4 Regione Piemonte (Italy), AO CTO/ ICORMA Regione Piemonte (Italy), Ministero dell’Università e della Ricerca Scientifica (Italy), Glaxo Wellcome spa (Verona, Italy); Umeå: Swedish Heart Lung Foundation, Swedish Foundation for Health Care Sciences & Allergy Research, Swedish Asthma & Allergy Foundation, Swedish Cancer & Allergy Foundation; Uppsala: Swedish Heart Lung Foundation, Swedish Foundation for Health Care Sciences & Allergy Research, Swedish Asthma & Allergy Foundation, Swedish Cancer & Allergy Foundation; Verona: University of Verona; Italian Ministry of University and Scientific and Technological Research (MURST); Glaxo-SmithKline Italy.

Funding Information:
The co-ordination of ECRHS II was supported by the European Commission, as part of their Quality of Life programme. The following bodies funded the local studies in ECRHS II included in this article: Albacete: Fondo de Investigaciones Sanitarias (FIS) (grant code: 97/0035-01, 99/0034-01 and 99/0034-02), Hospital Universitario de Albacete, Consejería de Sanidad; Antwerp: FWO (Fund for Scientific Research)-Flanders Belgium (grant code: G.0402.00), University of Antwerp, Flemish Health Ministry; Barcelona: SEPAR, Public Health Service (grant code: R01 HL62633-01), Fondo de Investigaciones Santarias (FIS) (grant code: 97/0035-01, 99/0034-01 and 99/0034-02) CIRIT (grant code: 1999SGR 00241) ‘Instituto de Salud Carlos III’ Red de Centros RCESP, C03/09 and Red RESPIRA, C03/011; Basel: Swiss National Science Foundation, Swiss Federal Office for Education & Science, Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund (SUVA); Bergen: Norwegian Research Council, Norwegian Asthma & Allergy Association (NAAF), Glaxo Wellcome AS, Norway Research Fund; Bordeaux: Institut Pneumologique d’Aquitaine; Erfurt: GSF-National Research Centre for Environment & Health, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) (grant code FR 1526/1-1); Galdakao: Basque Health Dept; Göteborg: Swedish Heart Lung Foundation, Swedish Foundation for Health Care Sciences & Allergy Research, Swedish Asthma & Allergy Foundation, Swedish Cancer & Allergy Foundation; Grenoble: Programme Hospitalier de Recherche Clinique-DRC de Grenoble 2000 no. 2610, Ministry of Health, Direction de la Recherche Clinique, Ministère de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité, Direction Générale de la Santé, CHU de Grenoble, Comite des Maladies Respiratoires de l’Isère; Hamburg: GSF-National Research Centre for Environment & Health, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) (grant code MA 711/4-1); Ipswich and Norwich: National Asthma Campaign (UK); Huelva: Fondo de Investigaciones Sanitarias (FIS) (grant code: 97/0035-01, 99/0034-01 and 99/0034-02); Montpellier: Programme Hospitalier de Recherche Clinique-DRC de Grenoble 2000 no. 2610, Ministry of Health, Direction de la Recherche Clinique, CHU de Grenoble, Ministère de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité, Direction Générale de la Santé, Aventis (France), Direction Régionale des Affaires Sanitaires et Sociales Languedoc-Roussillon; Oviedo: Fondo de Investigaciones Santarias (FIS) (grant code: 97/0035-01, 99/0034-01 and 99/ 0034-02); Paris: Ministère de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité, Direction Générale de la Santé, UCB-Pharma (France), Aventis (France), Glaxo France, Programme Hospitalier de Recherche Clinique-DRC de Grenoble 2000 no. 2610, Ministry of Health, Direction de la Recherche Clinique, CHU de Grenoble; Pavia: Glaxo-SmithKline Italy, Italian Ministry of University and Scientific and Technological Research (MURST), Local University Funding for research 1998 & 1999 (Pavia, Italy); Reykjavik: Icelandic Research Council, Icelandic University Hospital Fund; Tartu: Estonian Science

Keywords

  • Air pollution
  • Annoyance
  • Respiratory symptoms

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