A 10-year assessment of ambient fine particles and related health endpoints in a large Mediterranean city

Yusef Omidi Khaniabadi, Pierre Sicard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fine particles i.e., with an aerodynamic diameter lower than 2.5 μm (PM ) have potentially the most significant effects on human health compared to other air pollutants. The main objectives of this study were to i) investigate the temporal variations of ambient PM in Marseille (Southern France), where air pollution is again a major public health issue, and ii) estimate their short-term health effects and annual trend (Mann-Kendall test) over a 10-year period from 2010 to 2019. In Marseille, the main sources of PM could be related to road traffic, industrial complexes, and oil refineries surrounded the city. The number of premature deaths and hospital admissions attributable to ambient PM exposure for non-accidental causes, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases were estimated by using in-situ air quality data, city-specific relative risk values and baseline incidence. Despite significant reduction of PM (- 0.80 μg m year ), Marseille citizens were exposed to PM levels exceeding the World Health Organization (WHO) Air Quality Guideline for human health protection (10 μg m ) during entire study period. Exposure to ambient PM substantially contributed to mortality and hospital admissions: 871 deaths for non-accidental causes, 515 deaths for cardiovascular diseases, 47 deaths for respiratory diseases, as well as 1034 hospital admissions for cardiovascular diseases and 834 for respiratory diseases were reported between 2010 and 2019. Compliance with WHO annual limit values can result in substantial socio-economic benefits by preventing premature deaths and hospital admissions. For instance, based on the value of a statistical life and average cost of a hospital admission, the associated benefit for healthcare would have been €131 million in 2019. Between 2010 and 2019, the number of PM -related non-accidental deaths decreased by 1.15 per 10 inhabitants annually. Compared to 2010–2019, the restrictive measures associated to COVID-19 pandemic led to a reduction in PM of 11% in Marseille, with 2.6 PM -related deaths averted in 2020. 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 −3 −1 −3 5
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2021

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