The ICAARUS project has found a plausible connection between the low air quality in north-east Romania and the elevated number of patients with lung health problems in the region. The contamination could be caused by air masses from neighbouring countries, such as Ukraine, Belorussia, Russia, Bulgaria, Greece or Turkey.
Researchers have measured the concentration of pollution particles suspended in the atmosphere, and have studied their chemical composition. The data was collected in Iaşi, close to the Moldavian border. The team found that the aerosol contamination exceeded the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations by 100%, which poses health risks.
The project coordinator, Cecilia Arsene, believes this explains the high rate of pulmonary diseases frequently detected in the region, such as pneumonia, asthma, and bronchiectasis.
Scientists hope policy-makers will now take these pioneering findings into account when designing future policies related to air quality and health.
Factsheet by the European Commission / 28 October 2013