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Medicina is published by MDPI from Volume 54 Issue 1 (2018). Articles in this Issue were published by another publisher in Open Access under a CC-BY (or CC-BY-NC-ND) licence. Articles are hosted by MDPI on mdpi.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Lithuanian Medical Association, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, and Vilnius University.
Open AccessArticle

Particulate Air Pollution and Its Impact on Health in Vilnius and Kaunas

1
Department of Public Health, University of Tartu, Estonia
2
Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umea University, Sweden
3
Centre for Health Education and Disease Prevention, Lithuania
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Medicina 2012, 48(9), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina48090070
Received: 9 January 2012 / Accepted: 30 September 2012 / Published: 5 October 2012
Particulate matter in outdoor air has a significant impact on health. Small particles, composed of a variety of organic and inorganic compounds, are inhaled deep into the respiratory tract. The mechanisms and outcomes are manifold, resulting mainly in cardiopulmonary diseases. The current study aimed to quantify the health effects of particulate pollutants in Vilnius and Kaunas.
Material and Methods
. For risk estimation, the methodology of health impact assessment was employed. The exposure was defined as annual PM2.5 levels for long-term exposure effects and daily PM10 averages for short-term exposure effects. The baseline mortality/morbidity data were retrieved from health registers and exposure-response relationships from previous epidemiological studies. For health impact calculations, the WHO-developed tool AirQ was also applied.
Results. The annual average concentration of PM2.5 was 11 μg/m3 in Vilnius and 17.5 μg/m3 in Kaunas. The exposure above the natural background corresponded annually to 263 (95% CI, 68– 464) and 338 (95% CI, 86–605) premature deaths in Vilnius and Kaunas. This resulted in 3438 (95% CI, 905–5952) and 3693 (95% CI, 983–6322) years of life lost and in an average decrease in life expectancy of 0.43 (95% CI, 0.11–0.74) and 0.69 (95% CI, 0.18–1.19) years, respectively. In addition, 143 (95% CI, 86–200) and 129 (95% CI, 78–179) respiratory and 297 (95% CI, 188–377) and 267 (95% CI, 169–338) cardiovascular hospitalizations per year could be expected in Vilnius and Kaunas, respectively.
Conclusions
. There is substantial exposure to particulate matter in the main Lithuanian cities, which causes considerable adverse health effects. Traffic and domestic heating are considered locally the most important contributing factors to the degradation of air quality.
Keywords: environmental health; air pollution; exposure; cardiovascular; respiratory environmental health; air pollution; exposure; cardiovascular; respiratory
MDPI and ACS Style

Orru, H.; Laukaitienė, A.; Zurlytė, I. Particulate Air Pollution and Its Impact on Health in Vilnius and Kaunas. Medicina 2012, 48, 70.

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