Statistics Flanders has reported on updated environmental burden of disease estimates generated by the Flemish Environmental Agency.

In 2019, 134 healthy life years were lost per 10,000 inhabitants in the Flemish Region due to the impact of particulate matter. Translated into the impact on the entire lifespan of the population (with an average life expectancy of 82.3 years), this means that each inhabitant in the Flemish Region is confronted with 1.1 potentially lost healthy life years with lifetime exposure to current pollution levels. This means that the average resident stays healthy for 13 months less due to exposure to particulate matter.

Long-term exposure to PM2.5 in particular has a major health impact: in 2019 this exposure explained almost 84% of the total health impact of particulate matter. The majority is due to premature death, but an increased incidence of asthma and lung cancer also play an important role. The impact from long-term exposure to PM10 was over 15% in 2019. Short-term exposure has a much lower impact. The impact of short-term exposure to PM10 and PM2.5 together account for less than 1% of the total health impact of particulate matter.

More information on these new estimates is available via Statistics Flanders.



ELLIS is funded by the Belgian Federal Science Policy (BELSPO) through the BRAIN-be 2.0 (2018-2023) programme.

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Project coordinator

Prof. dr. Brecht Devleesschauwer

Sciensano, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Service Lifestyle and Chronic Diseases