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Objectives

The Expah project addresses the environmental and health problems induced by emission, dispersion and transformation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) compounds.

The overall goal of the project is to identify and to quantify population exposure among children and elderly people to PAHs content in particulate matter in highly urbanized areas and to assess the impact on human health, in order to support environmental policy and regulation in this field.
An integrated approach, based on measurements and modeling techniques, will be used to estimate the spatial distribution of population exposure to PAHs, to identify key determinants of high exposures including time-activity and locations in relation to the sources and to estimate potential health effects on the target population.

Expah project will build a prototype assessment method capable to provide basic knowledge on PAHs concentrations and health impact over urbanized regions and to perform scenarios analyses to evaluate the effectiveness of possible reduction measures effectiveness.

It will contribute to development, assessment, monitoring and evaluation of environmental policies at local and national levels.

The obtained results will also provide a valuable support to EC legislation concerning PAHs.
The proposed methodology will be applied to the city of Rome.

More specifically the Expah objectives are:

Objective 1: To develop a state-of-the-art PAHs emission inventories for the test city and to upgrade related speciation profiles for specific sources.
Objective 2: To improve and integrate air pollution models from the regional down to the local scale to describe the emissions, diffusion, atmospheric transformations, and removal of transport-related pollutants with particular relevance to PAHs.
Objective 3: To estimate the actual concentration of particulate matter and PAHs in different areas of the city, using existing monitoring network and field studies, to assess the actual human exposure in different living places (microenvironments).
Objective 4: To develop an outdoor-indoor infiltration model able to estimate the amount of both particles and PAHs of ambient origin present in each predefined indoor microenvironment.
Objective 5: To estimate the mean exposure of the target populations (children and elderly) to particles and of PAHs using data from the air pollution model, infiltration models and population time-activity patterns through an exposure model.
Objective 6: To estimate the short-term and long-term health impact of particles of different sizes and PAHs on mortality and morbidity using actual and model estimated exposures levels and taking into account the effect of several potential confounding factors.
Objective 7: To improve our understanding of the human health effects and the corresponding exposure-response relationships of PAHs in order to evaluate the impact of different threshold values of air pollutants concentration, with special attention on organic compounds.
Objective 8: To evaluate the health impact in view of existing, planned as well as alternative future EU policies in order to provide recommendations for adaption and mitigation strategies.