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Journal cover: Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal

Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal

ISSN: 1477-7835
Previously published as: Environmental Management and Health

Online from: 2003

Subject Area: Environmental Management/Environment

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A short survey on air quality indicators: properties, use, and (mis)use


Document Information:
Title:A short survey on air quality indicators: properties, use, and (mis)use
Author(s):F. Franceschini, (Politecnico di Torino, Dipartimento di Sistemi di Produzione ed Economia dell'Azienda, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, Torino, Italy), M. Galetto, (Politecnico di Torino, Dipartimento di Sistemi di Produzione ed Economia dell'Azienda, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, Torino, Italy), D. Maisano, (Politecnico di Torino, Dipartimento di Sistemi di Produzione ed Economia dell'Azienda, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, Torino, Italy)
Citation:F. Franceschini, M. Galetto, D. Maisano, (2005) "A short survey on air quality indicators: properties, use, and (mis)use", Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal, Vol. 16 Iss: 5, pp.490 - 504
Keywords:Air, Health and safety, Risk management
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/14777830510614358 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract:

Purpose – Analysis and comparison of three existing indicators of the air quality: the American air quality index, the French Atmo, and the Italian Indice di Qualità dell'Aria.

Design/methodology/approach – International general and organic regulations to control air quality do not exist yet. Consequently many countries have independently implemented specific indicators to monitor the air pollution and then alert people of resulting health risks. The paper focuses on three of them. Each one is independently presented showing the peculiarities. Therefore, these indicators are compared to identify the features they have in common, as well as those that set them apart, and to figure out which are either restrictive or permissive, and what are their qualities and drawbacks.

Findings – The three mentioned indicators convert the real health risk due to air pollution into numerical information, in different ways. Doing this, they carry out some simplifications or assumptions, which can be questionable. The main difficulty is to understand if the indicators aggregate the different pollutant concentrations consistently with the real effects on human health.

Research limitations/implications – This paper analyses only three specific indicators of the air quality, selected among the existing ones.

Practical implications – Indicators should carefully be analysed to understand if they properly represents the real effects of pollutants on human health. The most critical aspect to consider is the aggregation of the different pollutant concentrations in one information.

Originality/value – This paper analyses the efficacy of representation of some air quality indicators. It discusses if indicators aggregation is consistent with the real effects on human health.



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