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Results obtained by the Expah Project are illustrated in the following documents:

  • Final Report of the Expah Project, covering all project activities from 01/10/2010 to 30/06/2014.
  • PAHs environmental and health effects analysis, methodology employed, and its level of portability in other EU areas: a brief description of the methodologies employed in the Expah project to estimate Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) population exposure, health effects, and the level of portability of the methods used.
  • Recommendations for adaptation and mitigation strategies: after a brief description of the state of art of PAHs, in terms of regulation, sources, known exposure, health effects and recent results from literature, evidence from the Expah project and recommendations for EU policy on PAHs and possible adaptation and mitigation strategies at different levels to reduce the population exposure are illustrated.

Above listed documents can be found in the Publications Section – Technical reports.

The Expah webGis page gives access to a set of interactive maps showing a geo-spatial view of the Expah project results.


A summary of results achieved by Actions undertaken under the Expah project is provided in the following list. Reports containing a detailed description of Project activities can be found in the Publications Section – Technical reports.

Action 3.1. Estimation of time activity data and analysis
The action 3.1 (Estimation of time activity data and analysis) of the Expah project aimed to collect and analyze time activity data of population groups to get information of which kind of environment (home, school, car bus, outdoor, etc.) are attended during a weekday and a public holiday.
Such data will be used to estimate the PAH exposure experienced by population during its typical day, evaluated as a weighted exposure of the different pollutants levels of the most visited micro-environments.
The city of Rome was selected of this study and both children and elderly people were interviewed by questionnaire to collect time activity data on a seasonal basis. As for the children, parents from a total of 483 subjects were interviewed. The results show that home is the most frequent micro-environment (47-71% of time depending on season, type of day and gender). School is the second most visited place with about 28% of time. As for elderly people, a total of 707 subjects were interviewed. The results indicate an increase in time spent at home (65-81% depending on season, type of day and gender).  Other outdoor activities follow with about 3-14% depending season and type of the day.

Action 3.2, 3.3. Inter-Intra comparison of PAHs measurements
The reliability of analytical procedures as well as the homogeneity and comparability of data have be investigated “on the field” through a preliminary 2x7-day campaigns conducted at three living/working buildings.
The inter/intra laboratory variations on PAHs sampling and analysis have been evaluated, as well as the differences between low and high volume sampling of PM2.5. In the frame of action 3.2 of Expah project, a preliminary field campaign has been carried out collecting data of chemical composition of PM2.5, PAHs and VOCs, in both indoor and outdoor environments of two schools and one office, comparing them with correspondent data collected at the urban stations of the Regional Environmental Network.

Action 3.2. Instructions, information and remarks for the regular in-field campaigns of the Expah Project
A list of recommendations for PM2.5, PAHs and VOC sampling and analysis has been compiled to achieve reliable results and products from the different participating laboratories during the in-field experiments.

Action 3.3. Field campaigns of particulate PAH (indoor, outdoor and personal exposure evaluations and data analysis), and ancillary measurements concerning gaseous toxicants and the PM2.5 chemical components including EC/OC
The aim of action 3.3 was to measure several air pollutants (PAHs, PM2.5 mass and PM2.5 chemical composition and ancillary gaseous toxicants data) in different living/working microenvironments to provide data of population exposure and to support modeling studies for a wider urban population exposure.

Action 3.4. Collection of meteorological data in the studied region
The action 3.4 of Expah project carried out a field campaign to collect meteorological data in the urban area of Rome and its surroundings. The aims of the field experiment is to detect the main local circulation patterns and provide data to action 4.5 to reconstruct the meteorological fields by means of a modeling system. Four measurements sites equipped with in situ and ground based remote sensing systems were used.
The field campaign started on December 2010 and ended on June 2012. The 2011 data were preprocessed for validation and averaged on an hourly base. More than 35000 meteorological measurements (4 x 365 x 24) were produced, each of them composed by multi-parameters.
In order to obtain information on the typical behavior of the different parameters, a statistical analysis has been done on 2011 data set.
For the wind we extracted the wind roses at each station, for the whole year and on seasonal bases using both surface and upper air data (100 and 180 m a.g.l.). The prevalent winds were identified. The probability density functions were also calculated to get the occurrences of wind speed and directions on both yearly and seasonal bases. The hourly occurrence of the wind at each station provided information of the daily evolution of wind. Turbulence data were also collected at two sites.

Actions 4.1 - 4.2 - 4.3 - 4.4. Development of a PM2.5, PAHs emission inventory for the Lazio region and the city of Rome
A reference Policyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) emission data set has been constructed on the basis of emission inventories available at national and international level and of supplementary data collected in the frame of action 4.1 and 4.2.
The analysis of the emissions inventory of Lazio Region and Rome metropolitan area confirmed that combustion in residential heating is the main source of PAHs accounting for 73% of emissions in Lazio region, growing to 92% within Rome municipality. Waste treatment contribution is the second main contribution with 22% of emissions over the Region, 9% over the Province and 3% over Rome municipality. Road transport contribution remains in the 3-4% range over the different considered areas.

Action 4.5. Upgrading of model PAHs transformation processes and simulation of meteorology, emission, dispersion, transformation and deposition of outdoor pollutants
The aim of action 4.5 was to assess, by means of an Air Quality Modelling System (AQMS), the concentrations of PAHs and other aerosol/gaseous pollutants over the target study area of Rome covering a time period of one year.

Actions 5.1-5.3. Infiltration and exposure model with software prototypes
The current report describes the achievements of Actions 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3, led by National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). The aim of these actions is to utilize measurement data from indoor and outdoor environments to develop an infiltration model to quantitatively describe the exposure levels in indoor environments originating from outdoors.
As urban populations spend substantial majority of their time indoors, the modification of exposures by buildings forms an central factor in understanding the formation of the actual exposures when accounting for actual time activities of the population members.
The infiltration model is a necessary component in risk analysis and will be integrated with ambient air quality modelling in Action 5.4.

Actions 5.3 - 5.4. Develop and apply a methodology to estimate the human PAHs and PM2.5 exposure of children and elderly people living in Rome.
This technical report describes the work carried out under action 5.3 and 5.4 of the Population Exposure to PAH (Expah) Life+ project. Air pollution has become one main environmental concern because of its known impact on human health. Every day, an individual is exposed to different concentrations of atmospheric pollutants as he/she moves from and to different outdoor and indoor places (or microenvironments). In addition, the statistical survey carried out for children and elderly people under Action 3.1, demonstrated that indoor microenvironments (e.g. home and school) are the prevalent living ones. Therefore, a more efficient way to assess the health risks of population caused by air pollution should be based on exposure rather than ambient air concentrations estimations. The aim of 5.3 – 5.4 actions is to develop an exposure model which integrates the outdoor PAHs concentrations and PAHs infiltration indoors with population time-activity, including time spent indoors and in traffic to estimate the actual exposure levels generated by the emissions and atmospheric dispersion processes. The model relies on analysis results from Actions 5.1 and 5.2 and therefore also on field campaign data collected in Action 3.3.

Action 5.5. Application of SVMs to estimate PAHs maps in the urban area of Rome
The Support Vector Machine (Svm) method have been used to forecast atmospheric pollution, trying also to improve the results achieved by the Farm deterministic model (Action 4.5). Starting from available experimental data, SVM methods have been applied to build models able to forecast PAHs and BaP exposure. The estimates produced by Farm bc have been used as SVM inputs. This choice has turned out to be crucial for the Svm performance. The obtained SVM models have been validated with a test set. They seem to show excellent results in the reproduction of experimental data and in generalization, improving those achieved by Farm. Since Farm bc outputs have been used as inputs, the SVM models seem also to apply a non-linear correction to Farm bc estimates. The same models have been applied to construct daily PAHs and BaP exposure maps. Since actual measurements were not available for each day and for each pixel of the region, new performance indices have been introduced. They show very promising values. The same SVM models have been applied for the scenario analysis and new daily maps have been built considering new emission factors (from Action 7.1) and, consequently, new FARM outputs.

Actions 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 7.3. Health impact of PAHs in the base case and policy and mitigation scenarios
The objectives of the Expah project were to estimate population exposure to PM2.5, total PAHs, and BaP, and to investigate their short-term and long-term association with morbidity and mortality in Rome, Italy. Different study populations were specifically selected for each outcome. To study the health effects of air pollution on mortality, we selected all subjects deceased in Rome between June 2011 and May 2012 and residing in the city at the time of death. We found evidence of an association of all the exposures with short-term natural and respiratory mortality, both at delayed and prolonged latencies. We found evidence of an association between long-term exposure to all considered pollutants and non-accidental and cardiovascular mortality.

Action 7.1. Evaluation of policy and mitigation scenarios
Expah measurement campaigns and model simulations results allowed to define Rome air pollution conditions with respect to PAHs concentrations, showing that the yearly average limit for B[a]P was respected everywhere, while high PAHs concentrations were recorded during cold months.

Action 7.2. Impact to PAHs and PM2.5 outdoor concentrations and population exposure in the policy and mitigation scenarios
In order to fulfill the objective of EXPAH Project to estimate future PAHs levels and the related population exposure, a 2020 Current Legislation scenario was considered (2020 CLe). Moreover, since measurements campaigns and preliminary simulations evidenced the need to reduce wintertime concentrations, while Cle scenario foresees a growth of PAHs emissions, the substitution of biomass with natural gas for house heating, within Rome municipality, was considered as a further possible future mitigation measure (2020 CLe Scenario with additional measures).

Action 8.1 and 2.3. The Expah web Gis
A set of interactive web maps illustrates data and results of the EXPAH project having a geographic dimension, through an interactive - multi-temporal interface. Web maps are accessible at the EXPAH web Gis page.