Estimated health benefits of exhaust free transport in the city of Malmö, Southern Sweden

Ebba Malmqvist, Ebba Lisberg Jensen, Karin Westerberg, Emilie Stroh, Ralf Rittner, Susanna Gustafsson, Mårten Spanne, Henric Nilsson, Anna Oudin

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11 Citations (SciVal)


Air pollution is responsible for one in eight premature deaths worldwide, and thereby a major threat to human health. Health impact assessments of hypothetic changes in air pollution concentrations can be used as a mean of assessing the health impacts of policy, plans and projects, and support decision-makers in choices to prevent disease. The aim of this study was to estimate health impacts attributable to a hypothetical decrease in air pollution concentrations in the city of Malmö in Southern Sweden corresponding to a policy on-road transportations without tail-pipe emissions in the municipality. We used air pollution data modelled for each of the 326,092 inhabitants in Malmö by a Gaussian dispersion model combined with an emission database with >40,000 sources. The dispersion model calculates Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) (later transformed into Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)) and particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter < 2.5 μg/m3 (PM2.5) with high spatial and temporal resolution (85 m and 1 h, respectively). The average individual reduction was 5.1 (ranging from 0.6 to 11.8) μg/m3 in NO2, which would prevent 55 (2% of all deaths) to 93 (4%) deaths annually, depending on dose-response function used. Furthermore, we estimate that the NO2 reduction would result in 21 (6%) fewer cases of incident asthma in children, 95 (10%) fewer children with bronchitis every year, 30 (1%) fewer hospital admissions for respiratory disease, 87(4%) fewer dementia cases, and 11(11%) fewer cases of preeclampsia every year. The average reduction in PM2.5 of 0.6 (ranging from 0.1 till 1.7) μg/m3 would mean that 2729 (0.3%) work days would not be lost due to sick-days and that there would be 16,472 fewer restricted activity days (0.3%) that year had all on-road transportations been without tail-pipe emissions. Even though the estimates are sensitive to the dose-response functions used and to exposure misclassification errors, even the most conservative estimate of the number of prevented deaths is 7 times larger than the annual traffic fatalities in Malmö, indicating a substantial possibility to reduce the health burden attributed to tail-pipe emissions in the study area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-85
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironment International
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sep 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health


  • Air pollution
  • Clean air policy
  • Health effects
  • Health impact assessment
  • HIA


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