Ultrafine Particles and Cause-Specific Mortality in the Ruhr Area

Evidence on health effects of ultrafine particles is scarce. We investigate the association of different air pollution metrics (particle mass, size-fractioned number and surface concentration) with cause-specific (natural, cardiovascular, and respiratory) daily mortality in the Ruhr Area, the largest German urban agglomeration. Data on air pollution metrics, in particular size-fractioned ultrafine particles, have been collected since 2009 at a routine monitoring station in Mülheim.

We participate in several European projects on the health effects of ultrafine particles, investigating the association of short-term exposure to ultrafine particles and particle mass with mortality and hospital admissions, including city-specific analyses as well as a meta-analysis.


  • to investigate short-term associations of size-fractioned UFP and PM with natural-cause and cause-specific mortality.
  • to investigate short short-term associations of size-fractioned UFP and PM with cause-specific hospitalization.
  • to investigate effect modification of short-term associations of size-fractioned UFP with natural-cause and cause-specific mortality by implementation of regulatory actions (Diesel particle filter, environmental zone).

Study design

Time-series study

Study region

Ruhr Area and other regions across Europe (Athens, Augsburg, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Rome, Stockholm).

External collaboratorsMassimo Stafoggia (Rome, Italy) and the UF&HEALTH Study Group, Xavier Querol and Tuuka Petaja and the RI-URBANS consortium.


  • Hennig F, Quass U, Hellack B, Küpper M, Kuhlbusch TA, Stafoggia M. Ultrafine and Fine Particle Number and Surface Area Concentrations and Daily Cause-Specific Mortality in the Ruhr Area, Germany, 2009–2014. Environ Health Perspect. 2018;126(2):1–10.

  • Chen K, Wolf K, Breitner S, Gasparrini A, Stafoggia M, Samoli E, Andersen ZJ, Bero-Bedada G, Bellander T, Hennig F, Jacquemin B, Pekkanen J, Hampel R, Cyrys J, Peters A, Schneider AE. Two-way effect modifications of air pollution and air temperature on total natural and cardiovascular mortality in eight European urban areas.
    Environ. Int. 2018;116:186-196.

  • Samoli E, Andersen ZJ, Katsouyanni K, Hennig F, Kuhlbusch TA, Bellander T, Cattani G, Cyrys J, Forastiere F, Jacquemin B, Kulmala M, Lanki T, Loft S, Massling A, Tobias A, Stafoggia M, UF&HEALTH Study group. Exposure to ultrafine particles and respiratory hospitalisations in five European cities. Eur Respir J. 2016;48(3):674-82. doi: 10.1183/13993003.02108-2015. Epub 2016 Jun 23. Abstract

  • Stafoggia M, Schneider A, Cyrys J, Samoli E, Andersen ZJ, Bedada GB, Bellander T, Cattani G, Eleftheriadis K, Faustini A, Hoffmann B, Jacquemin B, Katsouyanni K, Massling A, Pekkanen J, Perez N, Peters A, Quass U, Yli-Tuomi T, Forastiere F [on behalf of the     UF&HEALTH Study Group]. Association Between Short-term Exposure to Ultrafine Particles and Mortality in Eight European Urban Areas. Epidemiology 2017; 28(2):172-180. doi: 10.1097/EDE.0000000000000599.


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