International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 57, Issue 5, pp 757–768 | Cite as

Air pollution interventions and their impact on public health

  • Susann HenschelEmail author
  • Richard Atkinson
  • Ariana Zeka
  • Alain Le Tertre
  • Antonis Analitis
  • Klea Katsouyanni
  • Olivier Chanel
  • Mathilde Pascal
  • Bertil Forsberg
  • Sylvia Medina
  • Patrick G. Goodman



Numerous epidemiological studies have found a link between air pollution and health. We are reviewing a collection of published intervention studies with particular focus on studies assessing both improvements in air quality and associated health effects.


Interventions, defined as events aimed at reducing air pollution or where reductions occurred as a side effect, e.g. strikes, German reunification, from the 1960s onwards were considered for inclusion. This review is not a complete record of all existing air pollution interventions. In total, 28 studies published in English were selected based on a systematic search of internet databases.


Overall air pollution interventions have succeeded at improving air quality. Consistently published evidence suggests that most of these interventions have been associated with health benefits, mainly by the way of reduced cardiovascular and/or respiratory mortality and/or morbidity. The decrease in mortality from the majority of the reviewed interventions has been estimated to exceed the expected predicted figures based on the estimates from time-series studies.


There is consistent evidence that decreased air pollution levels following an intervention resulted in health benefits for the assessed population.


Air pollution Intervention study Public health 



The Aphekom project was funded jointly by the European Commission’s Programme on Community Action in the Field of Public Health (2003–2008) under Grant Agreement No. 2007105 (54.39 %), and by the many institutions that have dedicated resources to the fulfilment of this city-based project (45.61 %). This project could not have been possible without the invaluable contribution of the Aphekom collaborative network.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

38_2012_369_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (226 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 225 kb)


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susann Henschel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard Atkinson
    • 2
  • Ariana Zeka
    • 3
  • Alain Le Tertre
    • 4
  • Antonis Analitis
    • 5
  • Klea Katsouyanni
    • 5
  • Olivier Chanel
    • 6
  • Mathilde Pascal
    • 4
  • Bertil Forsberg
    • 7
  • Sylvia Medina
    • 4
  • Patrick G. Goodman
    • 1
  1. 1.Dublin Institute of TechnologyDublinIreland
  2. 2.St. George’s, University of LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Brunel UniversityLondonUK
  4. 4.French Institute for Public Health Surveillance, InVSParisFrance
  5. 5.Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, Medical SchoolUniversity of AthensAthensGreece
  6. 6.National Center for Scientific Research, GREQAM and IDEPMarseilleFrance
  7. 7.Umeå UniversityUmeåSweden

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