Long-term exposure to ultrafine particles from air traffic can have an effect on the cardiovascular system
Exposure to ultrafine particles from aircraft around Schiphol could potentially lead to adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and the development of the unborn child. There is no evidence that prolonged exposure to ultrafine particles is the cause of respiratory diseases. Existing conditions may be temporarily aggravated by short-term exposure.
There is still insufficient evidence for effects on the nervous system and metabolism (diabetes). There are no indications of effects on total mortality.
Large research program
It is the first time worldwide that such extensive research has been conducted into the possible effects of ultrafine particles on health. In three sub-studies, it was investigated what the concentrations of ultrafine particles from aircraft are around Schiphol, whether higher concentrations have a direct effect on health, and whether long-term exposure to ultrafine particles can lead to harmful effects on health.
In the last sub-study, RIVM assessed whether higher concentrations of ultrafine particles from aircraft could have an effect on the health of residents living near Schiphol. RIVM has linked the concentration of ultrafine particles at the residential address to health data for residents in 30 municipalities around Schiphol. Effects on the cardiovascular system, birth, respiratory system, nervous system, diabetes and general health (eg death) were studied.
Long-term exposure to ultrafine particles from air traffic can have an effect on the cardiovascular system. For example, more people in areas with high concentrations have started taking medication for heart disease than in areas with low concentrations.
Exposure to ultrafine particles in pregnant women can be detrimental to the development of the unborn baby. We are talking about possible because there is too much uncertainty to finally conclude that there is a causal link.
There is insufficient scientific evidence that exposure to ultrafine particles from air traffic has an effect on the nervous system or causes diabetes.
This means that there is not enough information to establish a relationship or that the results of sub-studies are not clear. With the exception of a possible effect on the mortality of cardiac arrhythmias, there is nothing to suggest that humans die earlier if they are exposed to ultrafine particles from air traffic for years.
The results of the research into long-term effects strengthen the Health Council’s previous conclusions and increase insight into possible effects of ultrafine particles on health. Because very little previous research has been done, research is needed at other major (international) airports to further strengthen the conclusions.
Ultrafine particles are very small particles of fine dust in the air (less than 0.1 micrometer). It is released by combustion, for example from emissions from traffic, households and industry. Ultrafine dust is so small that the body cleans it less quickly than larger particles, such as fine dust. As a result, it remains in the lungs longer after inhalation. The small size also makes it easier for the particle to enter the blood via the lungs and thus reach other organs. Ultrafine dust is therefore possibly more harmful to health than larger particles of fine dust.
Report: Health effects of ultrafine particles from air traffic around Schiphol
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