The main goal of the project is to estimate the health effects of  air  pollution, noise and meteorological parameters on the Italian general population, with a focus on: a) risks of hospitalization and mortality in Italy and in the main Italian metropolitan areas, b) risks of occupational injuries in sub-populations of workers in relation to environmental risk factors, and risks of commuting accidents in relation to the mobility of population and to climatic events. In this regard, the project takes advantage of potentiality and connectivity of "big data", related to: land use, satellite data, mobile data, model estimates, mortality data, hospitalizations, work injuries and commuting accidents.

The project is in synergy with the INAIL Discretionary Research Plan 2016-2018 (Program P1, Objective 2); indeed a specific operating unit is appointed to carry out the related activities. In particular, these activities concern the use of mobile phone data, pollution data in metropolitan areas and air temperature data; such data will be used for studies on urban mobility, estimates of population dynamic exposure, assessment of the risk of work injuries, and relationship between mobile phone use and the risk of road accidents, with special focus on those while commuting (during normal commuter travel to and from work).

The project lasts two years, and consists of four Specific Objectives (SO) characterized by different spatial domains (national, regional, metropolitan, sub-urban). Consequently, the estimated risk functions (mortality, hospital admissions, morbidity, road accidents, etc.) refer to progressively increased resolution units. 

The project focuses on mortality and hospitalization outcomes for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, on which there is more literature evidence about the plausibility of causal relationship. However, for research purposes, data will also be collected for other diseases, such as neurological, renal, metabolic and mental ones.

Another objective (SO5) concerns monitoring, control and training activities, and dissemination of the project results.

Specific objectives

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE 1: Environmental exposures and health effects on general population and workers at national level. SO1 aims to evaluate the exposure of the Italian population to different environmental factors(air pollutants, extreme temperatures) and the health effects, in terms of risk of hospitalization or work injury, at national level.

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE 2: Environmental exposures and health effects on general populations at regional level. SO2 aims to assess the risk of natural and cardio-respiratory mortality due to environmental exposures (air pollutants and extreme temperatures) for five Italian regions: Piedmont, Emilia Romagna, Lazio, Puglia and Sicily.

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE 3: Environmental exposures and health effects on general populations and workers at metropolitan level. SO3 aims to assess the cause-specific mortality risk in general populations and the risk of work injury due to environmental exposure (air pollutants and extreme temperatures) for six metropolitan areas: Milan, Turin, Bologna, Rome, Bari and Palermo.

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE 4: Environmental exposures and health effects on general populations and workers at sub-urban level. SO4 aims to assess the risk of mortality and incidence of specific diseases in general populations, and the risk ofoccupational injury among workers, due to environmental exposure (air pollutants and meteorological variables) defined at very high spatial resolution within the metropolitan area of Rome and the urban area of Pisa.

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE 5: Monitoring, control and administrative, training and project results dissemination activities. SO5 has several crossover objectives with respect to the whole project, as detailed in the activity categories indicated below. Briefly, SO5 aims to: a) ensure a constant monitoring of scientific and administrative activities within the project, through the definition of a Steering Committee and a Project Committee, and organization of periodical meetings; b) maximizing the technical and scientific importance of the expected outputs, through the establishment of two panels, an international and a national panel, of experts in the field; c) ensure an adequate communication of the project results to different stakeholders, through the organization of public dissemination events, participation in national and international conferences (in particular on Environmental Epidemiology topics, such as the International Society of Environmental Epidemiology, ISEE), the periodical distribution of newsletters to a widerange of national stakeholders, and the development of a web platform for dissemination of the data and the main results of the project.