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EXPAH - "Population Exposure to PAH" is a project funded by the EU Life+ program.[1]

LIFE09 ENV/IT/000082

Contact details:

  • Project Manager : Francesco FORASTIERE
  • Tel: +39 06 83060484
  • Fax: +39 06 83060374
  • Email: forastiere (at) asplazio.it

Project description:


Among persistent organic pollutants (POPs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a class of complex organic chemicals of increasing concern. They are ubiquitous in ambient air and some have been identified as suspected carcinogens. PAHs and their derivatives are produced by the incomplete combustion of organic material. In highly urbanised areas domestic heating and motor vehicles are the largest contributors of PAHs. As a consequence populations living in these areas are exposed to pollutants that have potential negative health effects (e.g. lung, skin, and bladder cancer, DNA damage and increased risks of cardiopulmonary mortality). The EU Directive 2004/107/EC sets annual average target values for particulate matter. Furthermore, this directive requires each Member State to monitor various relevant PAHs. Italy has placed PAHs on the 2009 national annual priority list, with the aim of developing a database able to support related policy actions. Rome, one of the most urbanised cities of the Mediterranean area, suffers air pollution from two large airports, a large landfill for municipal solid waste, two waste incinerators and an oil refinery located within the city suburbs. Particulate matter (PM10) levels in the city are above the legal limit, and the new 2010 air quality limit values are unlikely to be met. Health problems related to increased air pollution in the city will continue.


The project aims to address the environmental and health problems caused by the emission, dispersion and transformation of PAH compounds. Its overall goal is to identify and to quantify exposure among children and elderly people to PAH content in particulate matter in the city of Rome 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 modelling techniques, will be used. The project will build a prototype assessment method to provide basic knowledge on concentrations of PAHs in the city and their health impact. Analyses will be carried out to evaluate the effectiveness of possible reduction measures. The work will contribute to the development, assessment, monitoring and evaluation of environmental policies at local and national levels. The obtained results will also provide a valuable support to EU legislation concerning PAHs.

Expected results:

The project is expected to produce the following results:

  • A full emission inventory of air pollutants with PAHs for Rome;
  • Datasets of indoor-outdoor PM2.5 and speciated PAHs as well as elemental and organic carbon particulate matter levels in dwellings during summer and winter;
  • A dataset of personal exposure to PM2.5 and PAHs;
  • An infiltration and exposure model with software prototypes;
  • Annual and seasonal exposure maps to PM2.5 and speciated PAHs for children and elderly people; and

A database for health assessment with prototype software.


public health‚ air pollution‚ environmental assessment‚


  • Coordinator: Azienda Sanitaria Locale Roma E - Dipartimento di Epidemiologia
    • Type of organisation Research institutions
    • Description The Department of Epidemiology in the ASL-RE (Rome E Local Health Authority) is a public health and research institution in charge of regional epidemiologic monitoring.
  • Partners Istituto superiore per la Prevenzione e la Sicurezza sul Lavoro (Rome), Italy CNR-Istituto Inquinamento Atmosferico (Rome), Italy CNR-Istituto di Scienza dell’Atmosfera e del Clima (Rome), Italy THL–National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland Arianet S.r.l (Milan), Italy Agenzia per la Protezione Ambientale Lazio (Rieti), Italy

Administrative data:

  • Project reference LIFE09 ENV/IT/000082
  • Duration 01-OCT-2010 to 31-DEC -2013
  • Total budget 2,037,749.00 €
  • EU contribution 978,202.00 €
  • Project location Lazio