Air pollution exposure higher for Dutch with migration background

10 January 2024

Air pollution is harmful to health. Recent research shows that residents of the Netherlands with a migration background are more often exposed to higher concentrations of air pollution than residents without a migration background. This is the conclusion reached by researchers from UMC Utrecht from their analysis of air pollution concentrations at all residential addresses in the Netherlands.

The medical science journal The Lancet Planetary Health published the study results today.

Residents of the Netherlands with a migration background are exposed to up to 44% higher concentrations of air pollution than Dutch citizens without a migration background, according to a national study conducted by physician-researcher Lieke van den Brekel. The researchers linked information on particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and soot at each residential address to data on residents in the Netherlands from Statistics Netherlands to determine differences in exposure. The air is most unhealthy for Dutch people of Turkish, Moroccan, Surinamese or Indian background living in urban areas. Even when income is taken into account, these differences remain.

Follow-up research on health disparities

Air pollution particles enter the body through breathing and cause damage there. To what extent the differences in exposure to air pollution contribute to the existing health differences between people with and without a migration background within the Netherlands will be investigated in follow-up research.

Decoding the exposome

Decoding the exposome

The environment we live in has a dominant impact on our health. It explains an estimated seventy percent of the chronic disease burden. Where we live, what we eat, how much we exercise, the air we breathe and whom we associate with; all of these environmental factors play a role. The combination of these factors over the life course is called the exposome. There is general (scientific) consensus that understanding more about the exposome will help explain the current burden of disease and that it provides entry points for prevention and ...

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