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Sci Total Environ. 2014 Aug 1;488-489:297-315. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.04.096. Epub 2014 May 15.

Particulate matter and gaseous pollutants in the Mediterranean Basin: results from the MED-PARTICLES project.

Author information

  • 1Institute for Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA), Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address: angeliki.karanasiou@idaea.csic.es.
  • 2Institute for Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA), Barcelona, Spain.
  • 3National Research Council - Institute for Atmospheric Pollution Research, Rome, Italy.
  • 4Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, Regional Environmental Protection Agency, Piedmont, Italy.
  • 5Centro Tematico Regionale Aree Urbane Arpa Emilia-Romagna, Italy.
  • 6University of Huelva, Spain.
  • 7Unité Air Eau et Climat, Département Santé Environnement Institut de Veille Sanitaire, Saint-Maurice Cedex, France.
  • 8Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, Medical School, University of Athens, 75 Mikras Asias Str, 115 27 Athens, Greece.
  • 9Municipality of Thessaloniki, Department of Environment, Thessaloniki, Greece.
  • 10Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain.
  • 11Department of Epidemiology Lazio Region, Rome, Italy.


Previous studies reported significant variability of air pollutants across Europe with the lowest concentrations generally found in Northern Europe and the highest in Southern European countries. Within the MED-PARTICLES project the spatial and temporal variations of long-term PM and gaseous pollutants data were investigated in traffic and urban background sites across Southern Europe. The highest PM levels were observed in Greece and Italy (Athens, Thessaloniki, Turin and Rome) while all traffic sites showed high NO2 levels, frequently exceeding the established limit value. High PM2.5/PM10 ratios were calculated indicating that fine particles comprise a large fraction of PM10, with the highest values found in the urban background sites. It seems that although in traffic sites the concentrations of both PM2.5 and PM10 are significantly higher than those registered in urban background sites, the coarse fraction PM2.5-10 is more important at the traffic sites. This fact is probably due to the high levels of resuspended road dust in sites highly affected by traffic, a phenomenon particularly relevant for Mediterranean countries. The long-term trends of air pollutants revealed a significant decrease of the concentration levels for PM, SO2 and CO while for NO2 no clear trend or slightly increasing trends were observed. This reduction could be attributed to the effectiveness of abatement measures and strategies and also to meteorological conditions and to the economic crisis that affected Southern Europe.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Aerosol; Air pollution; PM trends; PM(10); PM(2.5); Southern Europe

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