Enve-X Solutions

Research Projects

NEUROSOME - Exploring the neurological exposome (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks) - - Budget 3,493,845€ / (PI) (2017 – 2021)

The main objective of NEUROSOME is to develop an integrative biology-based framework starting from human biomonitoring data to unravel causal associations among the genetic predisposition, cumulative exposure to multiple environmental chemicals and neurological disorders. The project brings together beyond- the-state-of-the-art advances in human biomonitoring and systems biology, exposure monitoring and toxicological testing technologies and advanced tools for computational analyses of the exposure-to-health effect continuum following an exposome paradigm. The NEUROSOME methodology will be applied in population studies across different exposure settings to neurotoxicants (metals and persistent organics) in Europe. This will improve scientific knowledge on cause andeffect relations between environmental stressors and neurodevelopmental disorders taking into account exposure and health effect modification due to intrinsic (e.g. genetic susceptibility) and extrinsic (e.g. diet and socioeconomicstatus) factors. New standards for human biomonitoring data interpretation in conjunction with environmental and exposure information will be developed for ready use in chemical mixture risk assessment. The training goal is to produce a new generation of exposome researchers, trained in academia, applied research and industry, with transdisciplinary skills (environmental end exposure modelling, human biomonitoring, -omics technologies, high dimensional bioinformatics and environmental epidemiology,) and understanding of fundamental science and its direct application to environmental health challenges. To this aim NEUROSOME will focus on the provision of trans-disciplinary research training to young researchers through a combination of network-wide training programs and individual personalised training-through-research projects to deliver to the EU and the world a new cohort of researchers trained in cutting edge transdisciplinary environmental health sciences.

HBM4EU Human Biomonitoring Initiative (Horizon 2020) - - Budget 70,000,000 € / (PI) (2016 – 2021)

The European Human Biomonitoring Initiative (EHBMI) will establish and implement an ambitious European Joint Programme (EJP) and will provide policy makers with comparable and validated chemical exposure and health data at EU level. This will be done by integrating and building on previous and ongoing EU initiatives, national HBM programmes and studies (including cohorts, epidemiological studies and health surveys).

In contrast to former projects, the proposed programme will involve national programme owners  and/or the national managers  of those programmes, and include policy makers at national level. This inclusive approach, combined with the integration of HBM and environmental health research, will strengthen the EJP, enhance the sustainability of the initiative and amplify the impacts of the results.

In order to ensure that the knowledge we generate is targeted, timely and fit for purpose, we will establish a sustained dialogue with EU policy makers responsible for assessing and managing the risks to human health from chemical exposure via the environment, diet, consumer products and occupational exposure. Through effective communication and dissemination to policy makers, we will actively promote the exploitation of our results by policy makers in such a way as to impact positively on human health.

The overarching objectives will be achieved via the following specific goals, to be accomplished during the 5 year programme:

  • Objective 1: Laying the foundations for a pan-European HBM platform that builds on national hubs and existing expertise;
  • Objective 2: Developing a common methodology for the interpretation and use of HBM data in policy-making;
  • Objective 3: Harmonising and optimising the practices of national HBM programmes, including sample collection, quality assurance and data management;
  • Objective 4: Identifying gaps where further data are needed to inform current policy questions and design new, targeted studies to address these knowledge gaps;
  • Objective 5: Including new HBM data and, where possible, existing HBM data in the European Commission´s Information Platform for Chemical Monitoring (IPCheM)[i];
  • Objective 6: Linking external to internal exposure in order to improve exposure models for risk assessment;
  • Objective 7: Developing, validating, and applying exposure and effect biomarkers to improve our understanding of the health risks associated with aggregate exposures;
  • Objective 8: Identifying chemicals of concern through novel methods for the holistic analysis of HBM samples and improving the use of HBM data in assessing exposure to and the risks of chemical mixtures;
  • Objective 9: Enhancing our understanding of the causal association between chemical exposure and adverse health outcomes by combining mechanistic studies with existing cohort data;
  • Objective 10: Promoting capacity building at national level through training and exchange programmes;

Objective 11: Engaging with stakeholders, including the general public, throughout the programme to ensure the credibility, accountability and legitimacy of activities and results.

[i] https://IPCheM.jrc.ec.europ.eu/RDSIdiscovery/IPCheM/index.html

DOREMI (DOse Response of MIxtures) (CEFIC LRI) - - Budget 350,000 € / Coordinator (2018 – 2020)

The DOREMI study (DOse Response of MIxtures) proposes the development of a framework for the incorporation of exposure biology that combines human biomarkers and laboratory experiments into cell cultures to identify and characterize neurodevelopmental disturbance pathways. The purpose of the study is to understand the mechanism by which the combined exposure to chemical mixtures to which we daily come into contact in our everyday life, including potential neurotoxic substances such as heavy metals (mainly lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic) and plasticizers (such as phthalates esters and phenols). A more specific goal of the study is to extract dose / response levels of the combined exposure of these compounds to children’s neurodevelopment. Towards this aim, multi-omics analysis will be applied in both cohort biosamples and in vitro extracts aiming at the identification of the molecular mechanisms that associate co-exposure to plasticisers and heavy metals to neurodevelopmental disorders.

GRIN - GReen INfrastructures for disaster risk reduction protection: evidence, policy instruments and marketability - DG ECHO) - Budget: 681,153 € (PI on Human exposure and Health effects)

The damage and losses caused by natural hazards in Europe over the period 1980‐2013 amounted

to 480 billion Euros in 2013 prices. More than 80% of the losses, 393 billion Euros, were caused by extreme weather events (i.e., on average 11.6 billion Euros per year). Without concerted action and long‐term adaptation planning, future risks are likely to be amplified by ongoing human‐induced climate change and socio‐economic change. To improve the resilience of society, both structural and non‐structural measures and grey and green infrastructure will be needed. In particular, a greater deployment of nature‐based solutions such as green infrastructures (GIs) is being increasingly advocated by European institutions NGO’s, governments  and financing bodies as a part of flexible, effective and efficient, and no‐regret measures for

disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change. Although there is plenty of research indicating the potential benefits of GI, demonstration of its practical value for DRR and role in both adaptation planning and sustainable development is lagging behind compared to other solutions and take up has been slow. This is primarily due to lack of actual applications, experience and coherence in the evidence base showing the direct and indirect benefits of GI solutions. In particular there is a lack of experience and coherence in

implementation (including financing) and monitoring of GI solutions, including a lack of tools and

methods supporting these processes.  GREEN addresses these shortcomings and provides the necessary innovation in methods, tools, and solutions to appropriately promote the role of GI for DRR, climate change adaptation (CCA) and sustainable. In doing so, GREEN responds to the challenge transversally giving a proper value to ecosystem services will drive towards smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

ICARUS Integrated Climate forcing and Air pollution Reduction in Urban Systems (HORIZON 2020) - - Budget: 6,472,015 € / Coordinator (PI) (2016 – 2020)

The ICARUS main objective is to develop integrated tools and strategies for urban impact assessment in support of air quality and climate change governance in EU Member States leading to the design and implementation of appropriate abatement strategies to improve the air quality and reduce the carbon footprint in European cities. We will develop detailed policies and measures for air pollution and climate control for the short and medium term (until ca. 2030). For the long term perspective (2050 and beyond) we will develop visions of green cities and explore pathways on how to start realizing these visions. The specific project objectives are to:

– quantitatively assess the impact of current and alternative national and local policies on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improving air quality through a full chain approach and evaluate the future public health and well-being impacts of these policies in European cities.

– evaluate (using source apportionment and atmospheric modelling) the current contributions of the different pollution sources linked to urban activities including heat and power use in the urban building stock, urban traffic and transportation needs, energy production, industrial activities including energy production, agriculture and trans-boundary pollution with respect to GHG-emissions, air quality loading, public health and well-being of the population.

– propose measures of technological (i.e. measures that will lead to a reduction of emissions at the source) and non-technological (i.e. measures that induce behavioural changes) nature to reduce both carbon footprint and air quality burden (win-win solutions). Techno-economic analysis of possible scenarios for the introduction of such measures will result in the definition of cost-effective environmental and climate protection and air quality management plans adapted to the specific needs of different EU cities and regions. The effect of these measures will be evaluated jointly taking into account the socioeconomic drivers related to the existing and projected scenarios.

– develop visions of green cities with clean air, close to zero or negative carbon footprint and maximal wellbeing

– develop a pathway for the realization of these visions in the next 50 years and propose first steps down that road in the form of a concrete plan towards achieving these visions in the participating cities.

– raise awareness of the citizens about the impacts on public health and climate change caused by their activities or with changes in their activities.

BlueHealth - Linking Up Environment, Health and Climate for Inter-sector Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in a Rapidly Changing Environment (HORIZON 2020) - - Budget: 5,998,671 € / (PI) (2016 – 2020)

The BlueHealth Consortium brings together a multi-disciplinary team of experts reaching across all 28 European Union countries and beyond. BlueHealth takes an international, interdisciplinary and multi-sector approach to health promotion and disease prevention by investigating interactions between EU’s extensive ‘blue infrastructure,’ and the health and well-being of its citizens. Blue Infrastructure refers to the network of natural and man-made aquatic environments providing a range of multi-sectoral services (e.g. transportation, fresh water provision). There has been no prior systematic attempt to detail the potential impacts of our blue infrastructure on health promotion and disease (especially prevention relative to 21st Century public health challenges), nor to develop guidelines on how health should be considered when developing blue infrastructure interventions, particularly across sectors. BlueHealth will address this gap.

PEC - Post-Emergency, multi-hazard health risk assessment in Chemical Disasters (Civil Protection mechanism of the EC - DG ECHO) - Budget: 788,803 € (PI on Human exposure and Health effects)

A consolidated methodology for risk assessment of chemical mixtures and combined natural and technological NaTech hazards is currently not available. In this project an integrated multi‐hazard risk assessment toolkit will be developed and the validity of this model will be evaluated on a case study (sample area) by considering the effects on plant structures and infrastructures of hypothetic natural and manmade disasters, such as earthquake, flood or terroristic attack leading to accidental release of large amounts of toxic chemicals into the environment. Immediate and long‐term population health impacts of the toxic chemicals absorbed either individually of in combination will be determined and quantified according to (i) characteristics (type and intensity) of the initial disaster, (ii) degree of vulnerability of buildings and infrastructures, (iii) quantity of chemicals stored/handled in the plants, magnitude of their dispersion into the environment and levels of chemical contamination in the disaster area. The key receptors considered in simulations will include employees present in the affected plants during the incident, emergency responders, and the local population. A risk prioritisation matrix based upon damage level attainable in the infrastructures and potential public health risks will be developed to provide strategic risk information for public health planning.

HEALS - Health and Environment-wide Associations based on Large population Surveys (7th FP - Large scale project)- Budget: 14,866,648 € / Co-Coordinator (PI)

HEALS is the largest multi-center project on the exposome in the world currently. Its overall aim is the refinement of an integrated methodology and the application of the corresponding analytical and computational tools for performing environment-wide association studies (EWAS) in support of Europe-wide environment and health assessments.

HEALS is organized in a series of interlinked streams of activity focusing on the different aspects of individual assessment of exposure to conventional and emerging environmental stressors and on the prediction of the associated health outcomes. These streams bring together state-of-the-art advances in human biomonitoring and systems biology towards the development of an exposure biology paradigm, exposure monitoring technologies and advanced tools for computational analyses of the exposure-to-effect continuum. In fact, HEALS proposes the functional integration of -omics derived data and biochemical biomonitoring (high dimensional biology) to create the internal exposome at the individual level. These data will be exploited using advanced bioinformatics tools for both descriptive and predictive data mining. HEALS will propose a novel bioinformatics strategy focusing on biomarker fusion, and direct coupling of physiology-based biokinetic models to metabolic regulatory networks derived from -omics analyses. In this way, the internal dose of environmental stressors will be coupled to the alterations they bring about to gene expression, protein-protein interactions and metabolic regulation and plausible hypotheses on the respective pathways of toxicity can be established.

The main focus of the project is on susceptibility windows during growth (including pregnancy) and on vulnerable population such as young, elderly, socio-economically disadvantaged, gender and ethnic minorities. The overall approach will be verified and refined in a series of population studies across Europe including twin cohorts. The overall population size involved in these studies is up to ca. 335,000 individuals tackling different levels of environmental exposure, age windows of exposure, and socio-economic and genetic variability. The approach developed will be applied in a pilot environment and health examination survey of children including singletons and sets of twins with matched singletons covering ten EU Member States (the EXHES Study). The lessons learned will be translated into scientific advice towards the development of protocols and guidelines for the setting up of a European environment and health examination survey.

ERNCIP – European Reference Network for Critical Infrastructure Protection. Thematic Group “Detection of Indoor Airborne Chemical-Biological Agents” / Joint Research Center – European Commission. Coordinator (PI) (2015-2016)

The overall aim this thematic group is to investigate issues that can be addressed in the EU level regarding Detection, Identification and Monitoring (DIM) of airborne, chemical and biological threats in enclosed spaces. Towards this aim, three main activities have been foreseen during the next 8 months for accomplishing the TG objectives. In order to evaluate the applicability of the current sensor technologies and what has to be done, it is critical to evaluate what are the actual needs that have to be addressed i.e. what do we expect from the sensors against CB threats in enclosed spaces. Thus, a critical starting point of the overall approach will be the definition of relevant scenarios of indoor airborne threats (chemical and biological) in critical infrastructures. The specific needs that have to be addressed will set up the criteria for performing a critical review on the existing sensors available in the EU and used either for chemical or for biological agents. Computational simulations will provide the spatial and temporal gradients contamination within indoor critical infrastructures. Finally, evaluation of capabilities of existing sensors based on the capability to perform early warning, will allow the TG to identify the gaps and to define requirements for next generation detectors in the EU.

CROME - Cross-Mediterranean Environment and Health Network (LIFE+ European Commission/DG Environment) - Budget: 1,760,190 € / Coordinator (PI)

CROME-LIFE aims to demonstrate a technically feasible integrated methodology for interpretation of human biomonitoring data that will allow to quantitatively assess the impact on human health due to acute/chronic exposure to chemicals acting as neurodevelopmental and neurological toxicants and/or human carcinogens such as toxic and organic substances (PCB’s and PBDEs, organochlorine and organobromine compounds). The health endpoints investigated are cancer (for organic carcinogens such as PCBs) and neurotoxicity (for metals and organic compounds). The methodology applied will couple environmental monitoring data with human biomonitoring and epidemiological observations through the use of physiologically-based toxicokinetic (PBTK) and toxicodynamic (PBTD) models. These models would allow us to mechanistically associate the observed concentrations of contaminants in environmental media (air, water and soil) with human biomonitoring data already existing within the consortium and collected through targeted field campaigns. Via reverse modelling human exposure to the chemical substances will be reconstructed. These estimates will be used as indices of population exposure and of the environmental health burden due to the anthropogenic pollution in the project demonstration sites. The CROME-LIFE approach will aim at showing the feasibility of environment-wide association studies by interoperably linking environmental, biomonitoring and health status data. Causal associations between the observed health outcomes and the measured/estimated markers of exposure will be derived by means of advanced statistical models and causal diagrams. The CROME-LIFE methodology and tools will be applied in four countries in southern Europe (Greece, Slovenia, Italy and Spain) tackling different levels of environmental exposure, age windows of exposure, and socio-economic and genetic variability.

CheRRIE - Chemical and Radiological Risk in the Indoor Environment (European Territorial Cooperation Programme Greece- Bulgaria 2007-2013 INTERREG IV)- Budget: 1,420,569 € / Scientific Coordinator and PI

CheRRIE aims at addressing the increase in respiratory health problems and allergies as well as lung/thyroid cancer incidence has been observed over the last fifteen years in South-eastern Europe including Central-South Bulgaria and Northern Greece. Much of this increase has been attributed to environmental hazards. The large amount (80%) of time the population spends indoors may have a compounding effect on this problem. This project performs a thorough assessment of the current chemical and radiological risks of building materials and will set up a comprehensive database of building material properties that would affect the respective attributable risk.Quantitative health impact related to the use of building materials will be quantitatively assessed calculating the final radiological and toxic burden of the population from exposure to ionizing radiation of radionuclides and toxicants in different places both in Greece and Bulgaria. The final results expressed as an annual dose rate (external gamma-radiation, radon, VOCs, formaldehyde and other carcinogens and allergens indoors), illustrating the final whole body burden of the population compared to the international standard of radiological protection (in the case of radiological hazards) and reference doses or their biomonitoring equivalents (in the case of chemical hazards). The system for human exposure to indoor physical and chemical stressors/ health impact assessment and management will be largely based on already existing computational and data reception/management platform (INTERA) developed by EnvE-Lab in the frame of the CEFIC-LRI funded project INTERA.

Industrially Contaminated Sites and Health Network (ICSHNet) – Budget 1,500,000 € / co-PI (member of the Management Committee)

In Europe, earlier industrialization and poor environmental management practices have left a legacy of thousands of contaminated sites: past and current activities can cause local and diffuse contaminations to such an extent that they might threaten human health and the environment. Moreover, health, environment and social aspects related to contaminated sites are strongly interconnected and local communities are often alarmed.

The aim of this COST action is to establish and consolidate a European Network of experts and institutions involved in environmental health issues in industrially contaminated sites, and develop a common framework for research and response through expert networking, conferences, workshops, training and dissemination activities. The network will:

  • Clarify needs and priorities
  • Support collection of relevant information, methods and data
  • Promote shared initiatives and develop guidance and resources on risk assessment, management and communication across Europe.
INTEGRA - Ιntegrated External and Internal Exposure Modelling Platform (CEFIC-LRI) - Budget: 300,000 € / Coordinator (PI)

The objective of INTEGRA is to bring together all available information within a coherent methodological framework for assessing the source-to-dose continuum for the entire life cycle of substances covering an extensive chemical space. Hence, the major component of INTEGRA is a unified computational platform that integrates dynamically in time:

– environmental fate through multimedia environmental modelling across different geographical scales

– multi-pathway and multi-route exposure modelling

– internal dose through the use of detailed Physiology based toxicokinetic (PBTK) modelling.

In this way, the platform is able to differentiate between biomonitoring data corresponding to steady exposure patterns as opposed to acute, one-off exposures. The platform is at tne moment largely validated using human biomonitoring data from Europe and the USA.

The detailed generic PBTK model incorporates life stage changes and physiological and metabolic efficiency change over an individual’s lifetime (from conception till 80 years of age). The model also covers perinatal exposure including exposure routes such as lactation, being practically a mother-fetus interaction model. Assessment of biologically effective dose in the target tissue under realistic exposure scenarios, allows the use of internal dose metrics for risk characterization. In this way high throughput system data such as the ones generated by Tox21 in vitro testing can be used (e.g. the use of Biological Pathway Altering Dose (BPAD)), towards the nowadays need of “exposure based risk assessment”.

In addition, the combined exposure assessment – internal dosimetry modelling framework allows the use of inverse modeling for exposure reconstruction and HBM data assimilation.

The applicability domain of the platform to a large chemical space is expanded through the use of advanced QSAR models for industrial chemicals.

URGENCHE - Urban Reduction of GHG Emissions in China and Europe (7th FP - Large scale project) - Budget: 4,652,549 €

The project objective is to develop a modelling platform and a related database for urban impact assessment. The platform will be robust, easily transportable to new cities, and can be used for draft or detailed assessment depending on the availability of data. The topics covered were

-urban energy generation and use, and GHG and other pollution release;

-urban spatial data including the urban spatial plan, building stock, transportation, and population;

-socio-economic, demographic, exposure, health and well-being of the population.

The main practical project objectives for each participating city were to:

  • Evaluate the current contributions of the heat and power use in the urban building stock, urban traffic and transportation needs, and the overall spatial plan of the city with respect to GHG-emissions, other environmental stressors, environment quality, public health and well-being of the population.
  • Evaluate the future public health and well-being impacts of the local
  • implementation of alternative GHG-policies, which would meet the locally applicable national, EU and/or international GHG-reduction targets specifically in each city.
  • Based on the above, develop and assess an optimised – i.e. maximum net public health and wellbeing benefits – GHG-mitigation policy package for each city.

Prepare for each participating city a roadmap to this optimised GHG-policy future.

TAGS - Tiered Aggregate Exposure assessment of Chemical Substances (CEFIC-LRI) Budget: 400,000 € / Coordinator (PI)

The objective of the project was the development of a tiered approach to aggregate exposure assessment and the compilation of a computational platform, able to perform quantitative aggregate exposure assessments for environmental and consumer products following a full chain approach (including emission-migration, media concentrations, exposure and internal dosimetry). The use of biomarkers to verify model predictions, to reconstruct population exposure and allocate to apportion exposure to sources (reverse modeling) constituted a part of the tiered approach and the accompanying guidance. The tiered approach guided the user through the preparation of the exposure assessment.

INTERA - Integrated Exposure for Risk Assessment in Indoor Environments (CEFIC-LRI) - Budget: 400,000 € / Coordinator (PI)

The main objective of the project was to define optimal methodologies for predicting indoor exposure to chemical and non-chemical contaminants and their inter-relationships. The work will include the following elements as specified in the call:

  • The characterisation and justification of a framework capable of being applied to indoor exposure data/information and covering parameters relevant to their wider interpretation.
  • The development/incorporation of appropriate databases of quality assured source data.
  • The development/incorporation of suitable models and statistical methodologies for the characterization and treatment of such data.
  • The application of suitable models and/or statistical methods that serve to either fill gaps or offer refined exposure assessment where uncertainties are considered unacceptable.

The ability to display exposure predictions in a number of formats in order that they can be better applied within the context of both research and policy development.

GENESIS - GENeric European Sustainable Information Space for environment (7th FP - Large scale project) - Budget: € 5 million

GENESIS was an ICT project aiming at the development of a methodology and framework for seamlessly integrating different environment and health information systems across Europe. The role of the JRC-IHCP is to provide analysis of the institutional exploitation of the GENESIS system and advice on the system development including on users requirements.

HEREPLUS - Health Risk of Environmental Pollution Levels in Urban Systems (7th FP - Concerted action) - Budget: € 2 million (Scientific Coordinator – PI)

HEREPLUS aimed at developing a methodology for assessing the spatial relationship between ambient air pollution and human health at the urban setting in Europe and for evaluating the role that urban green can play in mitigating the adverse health effects of urban air pollution. More specifically, HEREPLUS:

  • developed risk maps relating human health with pollutant concentrations (O3 and PM) by using the ArcGis approach, taking into account existing and validated epidemiological models in some of the major and more exposed European urban areas, namely Rome, Madrid, Athens and Dresden;
  • improved the knowledge of the potential role of different urban vegetation in order to mitigate PM and O3 pollution levels, by providing best practices regarding the choice of no-VOCs emitting species and through the management of large green areas located in different neighboring urban areas;
  • delivered guidelines for municipal managers, administrators and national and international Environmental Agencies appointed to establish urban-environmental measures, which combine risk maps, urban vegetation as a sink for ozone and PM, and minimize health costs. These guidelines were formalized in an Operational Manual of best practices, recommendations and designs for municipal laws, used as a base-line for municipal administrations and European policies.
  • encouraged coordination among epidemiologists, biostatisticians, environmental scientists, GIS specialists, bringing about a further step towards realizing the full potential of GIS technology in environmental and health research, and leading to innovative solutions. Moreover, given the different institutions involved as partners at a European level (working in the domains of health, environment, statistics, physics and climatology), HEREPLUS contributed to the development of a multidisciplinary network.
  • distributed guidelines and disseminated best practices in Europe through international workshops and a conclusive report.
  • supported the implementation of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) initiative and of the European Environment and Health Action Plan.
TRANSPHORM - Transport related Air Pollution and Health impacts (7th FP - Large scale project) - Budget: € 8,696,697 million (co-PI on Health)

TRANSPHORM aimed at improving the knowledge of transport related airborne particulate matter (PM) and its impact on human health and to develop and implement assessment tools for scales ranging from city to the whole of Europe. As a major output for users and policy makers, it will develop and implement an integrated methodology to assess the health impacts of particulate matter (PM) resulting from transport related air pollution covering the whole chain from emissions to disease burden. This aim will be achieved through enhanced understanding of sources, improved and new emission factors, increased knowledge of particle characteristics and processes, new targeted air quality and exposure campaigns in collaboration with other projects, new concentration response functions (CRF), improvements in modelling of particulate matter and analysis of mitigation and adaptation strategies for policy response.

CAIR4HEALTH - Clean Air for health (6th FP - scientific support action) - Budget: € 1 million

The overall aim of CAIR4HEALTH was to strengthen and exploit research results obtained by European and other projects related to air quality and health impact in relation to key European sustainable development action plans and strategies.

In so doing CAIR4HEALTH aided the review and horizon scanning process for key action plans including the Environment and Health Action Plan. It examined examine the current European research base – through the research and policy-related outputs from clusters, networks, projects and expert groups including those represented by CLEAR and AIRNET – and proposed recommendations to address the key needs of these policy initiatives.

HEIMTSA - Health and Environment Integrated Methodology and Toolbox for Scenario Assessment (6th FP - Integrated project) - Budget: € 5 million

HEIMTSA aimad at supporting the Environment and Health Action Plan (EHAP) by extending health impact assessment (HIA) and cost benefit analysis (CBA) methods and tools so that environment and health impacts of policy scenarios in key sectors can be evaluated reliably at the European level.

  • Drawing on past HIA/CBA studies, HEIMTSA uses the full chain (impact pathway) approach: Emissions to environmental media (‘stressor identification’) are derived from sector scenarios in transport, energy, agriculture, industry, households and waste treatment and
  • disposal, that are combined and harmonized to result in consistent scenarios for all relevant stressors for the whole of Europe.
  • Human exposures (e.g. outdoor and indoor air pollution, water, noise, odour, metals, dioxins) by multiple routes are estimated, using new methods (exposure scenarios and probabilistic modelling), including consumer exposure to facilitate applications of the full-chain approach.
  • Health risk functions are derived, with new methods for: effects of combined exposures; estimating background rates; and mapping health impacts, to aid in communication of results.
  • Monetary valuation includes review of methods for valuating children’s health, developing values for relevant health endpoints, extending the valuation paradigm to include altruism, and new primary studies of pain and suffering.
  • New approaches to estimating and representing uncertainty were developed, and applied integrally throughout.

A decentralised modular system for integrated assessment of environmental health impacts was developed, and the entire HIA and valuation methodology applied to baseline and new policy-relevant scenarios in the key sectors, including some effects of climate change.

Results will be reported and presented in innovative ways including the generation of maps that describe the spatial distribution of health impacts and the presentation of the distribution of impacts on different groups of the population.

2-FUN - Full-chain and UNcertainty Approaches for Assessing Health Risks in Future ENvironmental Scenarios (6th FP - Integrated project) - Budget: € 3 million

2-FUN aimed at developing new methodologies for risk assessment of environmental stressors in the context of assessing future scenarios for the EU-27. The work of the IHCP relates to developing physiology-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) models for mixtures of environmental chemicals that can be found in different environmental media. The specific models developed so far include the quaternary mixture of VOCs, BTEX (benzene-toluene­-ethylbenzene-xylenes), which can be found in the ambient and indoor air, and the mixture of heavy metals and organic pesticides such as arsenic and atrazine, which can be found in drinking water (mainly from surface streams and well water).

NO MIRACLE - NOvel Methods for Integrated Risk Assessment of CumuLative stressors in Europe (6th FP - Integrated project) - Budget: € 6 million

NoMiracle helped increase knowledge on the transfer of pollutants between different environmental compartments, and on the impact of cumulative stressors, including chemical mixtures. This will facilitate human and ecosystem health monitoring by providing the link with information concerning the condition of air, water, soil and the built environment. By developing and using improved assessment tools and novel models, the project quantified and aimed at reducing uncertainty in current risk assessment and screening methodologies, for example by improving the scientific basis for setting safety factors. The new methods take into account geographical, ecological, social and cultural differences across Europe.

HENVINET - Health And Environment Network (6th FP - Thematic Network) - Budget: € 2 million

To protect the health of populations and individuals, policies need to integrate environmental and health issues. The aim of HENVINET was to support such informed policy making. HENVINET reviewed, exploited and disseminated knowledge on environmental health issues based on research and practices, for wider use by relevant stakeholders. Further, it led to validation of tools and results with emphasis on the four priority health diseases of the European Environment and Health Action Plan (EHAP) 2004-2010, and provided structured information overview that was utilised by other actors relevant to Environment and Health Strategy. Building on previous research and policy initiatives such as AirNET, CLEAR, PINCHE, INTARESE and SCALE, HENVINET collected, structured and evaluated material and presented it in a consistent manner, which resulted in transparency and identification of knowledge gaps. HENVINET established an overview of results, activities, projects and tools existing in Europe and promoted stakeholder networking through workshops and annual project meetings. Knowledge, best practices and decision support tools were reviewed to allow wider exploitation by the relevant stakeholders such as policy makers. Recognizing that dissemination of knowledge, best practices and decision support tools is crucial in supporting the implementation of the EHAP, the project defined ways to disseminate information in collaboration with main stakeholders, with emphasis on the needs of users of information, more than of those producing it. To allow for efficient data gathering, information exchanges, and targeted dissemination, the project utilised state-of-the-art Internet solutions and methodologies.

SMAQ - Satellite-assisted management of air quality (LIFE-Environment Programme) - Budget: € 2 million / Coordinator (PI)

SMAQ (satellite-assisted management of air quality) aimed at the development of an integrated system for efficient assessment, monitoring and management of air pollution in the larger area of Western Macedonia in Greece – an area with major lignite-fired power plants. This integrated air quality management system employs state-of-the-art technologies for fusing the necessary environmental and ancillary information to allow for cost-effective air pollution monitoring and assessment. Furthermore, the system will allow the analytical accounting of the main industrial and area emission sources in the area and the creation of a precise and updated emissions inventory. On the basis of the environmental information included in the air pollution management system, alternative emission scenarios corresponding to specific technological options and air quality management policy measures at the local and regional level have been assessed. A comprehensive system of air pollution monitoring combining ground-based measurements from an optimally configured measurement network and air pollution indicators derived from satellite remote sensing will allow the continuous monitoring and assessment of air quality in the area. Finally, a well-designed bio monitoring campaign and epidemiological data relating to effects of airborne pollutants on human health in the area was used to support a comprehensive assessment of the effects of regional air pollution on human health, and, consequently, on the local and regional economy.

ICAROS - Integrated Computational Assessment of air quality via Remote Observation System - Budget: 850,000 € / Coordinator (PI)

The goal of this research program was the development of an innovative methodology for fusion of different environmental information sources including remote sensing data, ground monitors of air quality, and advanced atmospheric chemistry and transport models in order to reduce the uncertainty of decision making concerning air quality and atmospheric pollution control in cities. The computational tool that was developed in the project was applied for the optimization of ground air quality monitoring networks, as well as for the environment-friendly design and construction of urban and industrial infrastructure. In this way, ICAROS has contributed to the effective comparison of environmental quality and the evaluation of environmental management programs at the EU level.

ICAROS NET - Integrated Computational Assessment of Air Quality via Remote Observations Network - Budget: € 2 million / Coordinator (PI)

High resolution satellite sensors can capture the optical signal of atmospheric particulate matter through absorption and scattering with a spatial resolution that serves the requirements of urban and regional applications. To date, satellite remote sensing could not offer an integrated assessment of atmospheric pollution loading with a high enough spatial resolution. Thus, the development of an integrated computational platform, based on satellite data for the fusion of data on the state of the environment and the impacts of environmental pressure on human health is the main objective of this project. This platform allows the minimization of uncertainty of decision making regarding the assessment, control and reduction of atmospheric pollution in urban settings, and enhances the robustness of transboundary air pollution assessment. The ICAROS NET system allows the fusion of distinct environmental information classes comprising satellite data, ground air quality monitoring data and results of advanced atmospheric models. A unique feature of the system is its capacity to distinguish spatially the exposure-response functions of atmospheric pollutants. This is key for the detailed public health risk assessment of fine and ultrafine particles.

PRQA – Regional Plan for Air Quality in Lombardy. 1999 – 2001 Budget: 90.000€
INSPIRE – Integrated Spatial Potential of Renewable Energy in Europe Budget: 850.000 €

The INSPIRE project aims to develop the methodology for linking two tools; one for economic analysis (RECAP) and one for resource mapping (GIS-Geographic Information Systems). This will provide, at ETSU, the basis for an integrated approach and methodology for resource assessment across the EU; this will initially be for biomass, but there are plans for the other renewables using other economic modelling tools.

RECAP is a versatile computer model of biomass-to-energy systems; in one integrated model, all the costs from biomass production to final energy conversion can be studied. It will be of value to both farmers and potential developers within the renewable energy industry.

The objectives :

  1. Develop a tool for biomass-to-energy, which links economic analysis (provided by RECAP) with resource mapping (geographical area).
  2. Extend the RECAP model to include environmental costs, thereby enabling a partial life-cycle analysis capability.
  3. Review the application of the methodology developed to other key renewable energy sources (wind, biowaste and micro-hydro) and pilot a model for one of these (wind).
  4. Ensure complementarity with other related projects, particularly those sponsored by the JOULE Programme.
AMOEBA – Atlas of European Biomass to Energy Activities Budget: 500.000 €
AD-NET – Anaerobic Digestion Network Budget: 400.000 €

ΑD-Nett regards the development of an efficient information exchange thematic network on anaerobic digestion (AD) of agro-industrial waste and the completion of a comprehensive evaluation of the state-of-the-art in anaerobic digestion in the EU.The JRC is primarily responsible for the assessment of the safety aspects of AD.

Flash Pyrcon – A Novel Approach for the Integration of Biomass Pyrolytic Oils into Existing Markets of Liquid Fuels/Chemicals Budget: 800.000 €

The objective of FLASHPYRCON is to evaluate the penetrability of bio-oils derived via flash pyrolysis into existing and future markets of oils and high-added value chemicals.The JRC performed a system analysis of the technical and economic performance and of the environmental burdel of the technology.

BIOSTIR – Coupling Fast Pyrolysis of Biomass with Stirling engine for CHP Budget: 300.000 €
COMPLEXCITY – Urban dynamics modelling Budget: 125.000 €
ADAGE – Decision Aid for Environmental Management
SIMAGE – Integrated System for Environmental Monitoring and Emergency Management. Budget: 12.000.000 €
CRYOPLANE – Systems Study of Hydrogen Fuelled Aircraft. Budget: 4.500.000 €

Civil aviation has enjoyed fast growth for a long time; some 4% to 5% traffic increase per annum has been predicted for the nextfew decades. As 2/3 of aircraft produced will serve additional traffic and only 1/3 will replace old aircraft, manufacturers (bothof airframes and engines) have a very strong interest in such continuing growth. However, technology improvements are not sufficient to balance traffic growth: fuel consumption and hence CO2 emissions increase by some 2% per annum, in contradiction to the accepted requirements of protecting the atmosphere (Kyoto Protocol). Liquid Hydrogen is the only known fuel suitable for aircraft to be produced from renewable energy and offering extremely low emissions (zero CO2, CO, SO2, UHC, soot; very low NOx). Use of Liquid Hydrogen can eliminate the dependency of aviation upon dwindling crude oil resources. It can eliminate, or at least reduce dramatically, the contribution of aviation to the anthropogenic greenhouse effect. Use of Liquid Hydrogen hence could allow long-term growth of aviation without penalizing the environment. Using hydrogen as an aviation fuel offers obvious advantages but also poses great technical challenges. For reasons of system weight and volume, hydrogen must be stored by aircraft in its liquid state at –253°C (20°K). Even so, fuel volume is 4 times greater than for kerosene, leading to changes of aircraft configuration. Thirty-five partners from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Great Britain, representing Industry, Research Establishments and Universities, had come together for a comprehensive “System Analysis“ of Liquid Hydrogen Fuelled Aircraft (dubbed “CRYOPLANE“). The 2-year project was supported by the European Commission within the 5th Framework Program. The “System Analysis” cover ed all aspects relevant for assessing the technical feasibility, safety, environmental compatibility and economic viability of using Liquid Hydrogen as an aviation fuel. The project helped to lay the foundation for a consistent European long term strategy for the transition to the new fuel in aviation.