Human health-related issues

Air pollution, and in particular air pollution associated to the ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10), is considered the leading environmental health risk factor globally, causing several million deaths per year. Today, we face a public health crisis: for this reason This is a public health crisis today, for which it is necessary to develop significant scientific evidence to support the development of new recommendations, policies, and legislation that have to consider physical, chemical and biological dimensions of air quality and their correlations.

To tackle the problem, this research theme focuses on four major issues. Firstly, it aims at understanding which atmospheric aerosol components are the most toxic to human health, how can these aerosol toxic components be characterised and measured, and which sources and processes are responsible for their increase in both outdoor and indoor environments.

Then, it deals with the exposure science and environmental epidemiology, to identify and characterize correlations between air pollutant exposure patterns and acute or chronic health effects, and effects; the goal is to co-produce environmental epidemiology results caring of gender and environmental justice by means of people engagement.

Another area of study aims to understand how meteorological factors impact the association between air pollution and human health. Special attention is given to the Urban Heat Island (UHI), or the role of summer heat waves in enhancing the UHI effect, and UHI forecasting system for the impact of future climate change scenarios.

Finally, it explores aerobiology, the associations between airborne pollens, bacterial, fungal spores and/or their allergens and related to health effects (in indoor and outdoor) in relation to environmental factors and climate change.