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The effects of ozone on human health


Ozone is a highly reactive, oxidative gas associated with adverse health outcome, including mortality and morbidity. Data from monitoring sites worldwide show levels of ozone often exceeding EU legislation threshold and the more restrictive WHO guidelines for the protection of human health. Well-established evidence has been produced for short-term effects, especially on respiratory and cardiovascular systems, associated to ozone exposure. Less conclusive is the evidence for long-term effects, reporting suggestive associations with respiratory mortality, new-onset asthma in children and increased respiratory symptom effects in asthmatics. The growing epidemiological evidence and the increasing availability of routinely collected data on air pollutant concentrations and health statistics allow to produce robust estimates in health impact assessment routine. Most recent estimates indicate that in 2013 in EU-28, 16,000 premature deaths, equivalent to 192,000 years of life lost, are attributable to ozone exposure. Italy shows very high health impact estimates among EU countries, reporting 3380 premature deaths and 61 years of life lost (per 100,000 inhabitants) attributable to ozone exposure.

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    1 ppb = 1.96 μg/m3 at standard temperature and pressure


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Correspondence to Daniela Nuvolone.

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Nuvolone, D., Petri, D. & Voller, F. The effects of ozone on human health. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 8074–8088 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-9239-3

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  • Air pollution
  • Oxidative stress
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Health impact assessment
  • Mortality
  • Morbidity
  • Susceptible groups