Focus on exposure to air pollution and related health impacts
Outdoor and indoor air pollution was recently identified as a key contributor to the environmental burden of disease in European countries (EBoDE Working Group 2011). Due to the time-activity profiles of contemporary lifestyles, most human exposure to both indoor and ambient air pollutants takes place indoors. Buildings partly protect occupants, but nevertheless outdoor air pollution penetrates enough to result in sustained and sometimes high daily exposures to certain air pollutants. Indoor air pollution sources, e.g. domestic heating, cigarette smoking and cooking devices, can also contribute significantly to the total personal exposure to gases and fine particles. These exposures are in addition to short-term exposures to pollutants generated in traffic and other more polluted microenvironments. The role of the indoor environment is highlighted, e.g. by the recent publication of WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality (WHO 2010), and roughly half of the burden of disease caused by poor indoor air quality in European countries was associated with pollutants originating from outdoor air (de Oliveira Fernandes et al. 2009).