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Long term effects of air pollution in Europe
  1. K Katsouyanni
  1. Correspondence to:
 Associate Prof. K Katsouyanni
 Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, University of Athens Medical School, 75 Mikras Asias Street, 115 27 Athens, Greece;

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Commentary on the paper by Filleul et al (see page 453)

There is an extensive documentation in Europe and North America about the short term effects of air pollution (especially particulate pollution) on health and a general consensus about their order of magnitude.1 In contrast, long term effects, which are potentially very important, have been addressed in only a few cohort studies. This is mainly due to the problems of designing and executing large and expensive studies of long duration. Three studies have reported results from the USA,2–4 and only one from a Dutch cohort in Europe.5 In this issue, results from another European cohort study performed in France are reported.6

The long term effects of particulate air pollution reported so far, exceed those of short term exposures and have a larger impact in terms of years of life lost.7,8 The effect estimates from cohort studies, especially the ACS study,3 have been applied in various health impact assessment (HIA) …

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  • Competing interests: none declared

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