Mortality burden of particulate air pollution

Estimating the mortality burden of particulate air pollution at the local level


The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) announces the publication of its statement “Estimating the mortality burden of particulate air pollution at the local level.”




This statement recommends simplified methods for estimating the mortality effects of particulate air pollution on a local scale. These estimates should be useful in communicating the importance of the effects of air pollution on public health.

The statement follows on from COMEAP’s 2010 report: The mortality effects of long-term exposure to particulate air pollution in the UK, PDF580.98 KB. This report included estimates of the national mortality burden associated with the levels of particulate air pollution in 2008.

We recommend simplified methods for carrying out local calculations which strike an appropriate balance between accuracy and the likely availability of data and specialist expertise, whilst recognising that more accurate estimates could be obtained, by those with appropriate expertise, using more complex approaches (such as lifetables).


Further guidance and information

Public heallth England ( PHE, formerly the Health Protection Agency) intends to produce more detailed guidance on the use of COMEAP’s recommended methods. This will include information on how to obtain and handle the data required. PHE will also arrange the development of estimates of mortality burdens of particulate air pollution for  Local Authority areas.


Department of Health’s Public Health Outcomes Indicator

The Committee’s opinion that mortality burden estimates could be calculated at the Local Authority level informed the Department of Health’s decision to include the mortality effect associated with particulate air pollution as an indicator  in its Public Health Outcomes Framework for England. The indicator reflects mortality associated with particulate air pollution (as PM2.5) in all upper tier Local Authorities in England, visit:

Public health Outcomes Framework [external link]

and search for indicator 3.01 - Fraction of mortality attributable to particulate air pollution


Updated September 2013