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Air Pollution Exposure model (AirPEX): development and model description

Blootstellingsmodel AirPEX (Air Pollution Exposure model): ontwikkeling en modelbeschrijving


All people living in areas with polluted air are exposed to air pollutants, which may lead to an impaired health status. The causal chain from air quality through exposure to health effects, describes the succession of events which may result in health effects. All elements of this chain contribute to the resulting health risk of a population. The quantitative assessment of population exposure is an essential part of the quantitative assessment of population health risks. Exposure modelling is identified as an appropriate method for assessing the actual exposure of a population, and to evaluate the effects of policy options and trends in air quality. The existing (U.S.) exposure models were developed for rather specific purposes. They are not fully appropriate for use in the Dutch and European situation. This report describes the development of the AirPEX (Air Pollution Exposure) model in which the basal components of the above mentioned causal chain are incorporated, with the focus on exposure. The models aims to quantify the actual exposure to air pollutants of (part of) the population and to evaluate the effects of policy options and trends in air quality on the population exposure. The requirements of the model are defined by its intended use in risk assessments. The model should be independent of air pollutant and geographic area. The model should be able to provide several exposure output parameters that are relevant to a specific compound or to a specific health risk demand. Identification of different population groups or groups at increased health risk in the modelled population exposure is an important requirement. The model should contribute to providing insight into the relative importance of the different factors and into the effectivity of risk reduction measures. The AirPEX model calculates time series of exposure profiles for each individual in a defined population from demographic data, air quality data, and activity patterns of the population. Distributions of population exposure are calculated from these individual profiles. To illustrate the use of the model an application for ozone is given. Compound specific parameters and the available input data are described followed by the result of a test simulation of the exposure of the Dutch population to ozone on a day with increased photochemical air pollution. The implemented model meets the requirements as stated above. The model is independent of air pollutant and geographical area. It offers a variety of output parameters and many possibilities for defining input parameters and functions. Furthermore, a module for the application of dose-response relationships can be corporated easily providing for assessments of health effects. AirPEX is developed as a versatile and flexible information system, valuable for health risk assessments of air pollutants, for the evaluation of policy measures and air quality trends and in more effectively directing research in this area.

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