Most deaths attributable to ground-level ozone in European countries are associated with ozone from outside their borders

Research with Spanish participation concludes that, in European countries, tropospheric ozone pollution from beyond national borders was associated with 88% of ozone-attributable deaths, and only 12% were due to domestic sources. The authors, whose research is published in Nature Medicine, used epidemiological and air quality modelling to quantify the burden of mortality in Europe associated with ozone pollution from various geographical sources. This included more than six million deaths in 813 regions in 35 European countries - including Spain - in the 2015-2017 warm seasons. 

03/06/2024 - 17:15 CEST
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Isidro Pérez - contaminación ozono importado EN

Isidro A. Pérez

Professor in the Department of Applied Physics and coordinator of the Atmospheric Pollution research group at the University of Valladolid

Science Media Centre Spain

This article presents the relationship between ozone concentrations and mortality. Key points, which determine the publication of the analysis, are the continental scope of the study, as it includes almost all European countries, and also the impact of ozone transport. This is a point that the article stresses, as ozone can be transported and impact in places far away from the source sites. Indeed, one of the most striking results is that the highest levels of mortality do not occur in the areas of highest concentrations.  

Weaknesses include the period analysed, 2015-2017, which may not correspond to the current situation, and the uncertainty associated with the data, especially deaths, in the sense of whether the numbers actually correspond to deaths whose only origin is high ozone concentrations or whether additional causes are present. In general, the results are presented according to administrative geographical boundaries, which can be very uneven, so this is an article aimed at pollution managers or the general public. Finally, the analysis suggests the need to control ozone precursor emissions and the need for international collaboration to achieve satisfactory results. 

The author has declared they have no conflicts of interest
Geographic sources of ozone air pollution and mortality burden in Europe
  • Research article
  • Peer reviewed
  • Modelling
Nature Medicine
Publication date

Hicham Achebak et al.

Study types:
  • Research article
  • Peer reviewed
  • Modelling
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