Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 35 n°185

Posts Tagged ‘effects’

Welcome to our weekly newsletter highlighting the best of The Economist’s coverage of the pandemic and its effects

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 27 febbraio 2022

Hong Kong’s refusal to live with covid-19 is causing chaos. Having managed to keep the virus at bay for two years, the territory—which is attempting to replicate the Chinese mainland’s “zero-covid” approach—has seen a surge of infections. Mass testing of all its 7.4m people is planned throughout March.In England, meanwhile, coronavirus regulations are no more. Many public-health advisers fear they may have been scrapped too soon. But covid in England is no longer the same disease that shut down the country in 2020 and 2021.Nearly a year has passed since Congress approved the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), promising spending of $1.9trn, equivalent to 9% of GDP. Many, including The Economist, worried that such federal largesse looked excessive. These fears have been borne out. In the United States section, we examine how states are using, and misusing, funds from ARPA. Governors are benefiting politically today, but they are creating liabilities for tomorrow.Are some countries faking their covid death counts? A study casts doubt on some abnormally neat numbers. It finds the variance in reported death tolls to be suspiciously low in several countries—almost exclusively without a functioning democracy or a free press.Cities have often bounced back from crises—from pandemics and earthquakes to floods and fires. But with the mass return to office work still uncertain, the pandemic has sharpened debate about what the future holds for commercial hubs. Zanny Minton Beddoes Editor-In-Chief The Economist

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Welcome to our weekly newsletter highlighting the best of The Economist’s coverage of the pandemic and its effects

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 29 agosto 2021

This week, even more than last, chaos and misery in Afghanistan have nosed covid-19 out of the headlines. But the virus continues to spread. As Americans prepare to send their children back to school, our weekly polling with YouGov shows that most parents have either had their kids jabbed or plan to, and most back mask mandates.Early in the pandemic, Australia appeared a shining success story. By closing its borders, tracing contacts and rigidly enforcing quarantine restrictions, its “covid zero” strategy seemed to be working. (Geography helped, too: it is easier to keep a virus at bay on a remote island than in a country with long land borders.) The Delta variant has ended that strategy. As one doctor in Melbourne noted, even if contact-tracers find an infected person within 30 hours, that person’s contacts would already have passed the virus down several chains of transmission. The country is now putting its hopes in vaccines, and will allow cases to rise as long as hospitals can cope.China, where covid began, has been anxious about the World Health Organisation’s investigation into the disease’s origins. It vehemently rejects any suggestion that covid-19 escaped from a lab, but globally, infections acquired in labs are disturbingly common. China is coping with another sort of outbreak: African swine fever, which is harmless to people but is decimating the country’s immense pig population. The pandemic has sparked social and economic experimentation, as well as public-health innovations. It was long an article of faith, at least among right-leaning economists, that increasing the amount people receive from unemployment insurance (UI) would depress jobs. America’s experience during the pandemic suggests that is not true: states that restricted UI saw rises in hardship, but not employment. Adam Tooze, a historian, has written an “instant history” of the pandemic’s sizeable economic costs. And our Bartleby columnist ponders why women seem more eager than men for remote work to end and office life to resume. Zanny Minton Beddoes.Editor-In-Chief The Economist

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IFAD and Guinea to help rural populations recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 4 luglio 2021

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide the Republic of Guinea with a grant to improve the resilience of more than 2,123 poor farming households trying to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, by ensuring rapid access to inputs, information, markets and cash.Despite its rich natural resources, Guinea is among the poorest countries in Africa. Low agricultural productivity, lack of wage employment, lack of access to financial services and poor rural infrastructure are all factors. Guinea has significant undeveloped agricultural potential. Soil and weather conditions are highly favourable to agriculture and just 25 per cent of potential arable land is being cultivated. Guinean agriculture consists mainly of family farming focusing on food crops, mainly cereals (rice and maize), tubers and palm oil. The agriculture sector accounts for 20 per cent of GDP. Growing demand for food is sustained by demographic growth (2.5 per cent in 2016) and urbanization (38 per cent of the population in 2016 versus 33 per cent in 2006).IFAD’s Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF) will allocate US$ 530,840 to Guinea to support activities of rural producers by supporting production and value chains and market access. The project will provide beneficiaries with agricultural inputs, basic agricultural equipment for food production and processing, technical assistance and training for increased productivity. The target beneficiaries will also receive production kits consisting of seeds (rice, maize and vegetables), fertilisers and plant protection products.

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The Economist’s best coverage of the pandemic and its effects

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 20 aprile 2021

Johnson & Johnson’s covid-19 vaccine is the latest to suffer a setback. On April 13th American health authorities paused its use to investigate six cases of unusual blood clots in people who had received the jab, after more than 6m doses were administered. European countries halted the jab too. The jury is still out on whether these blood clots are linked to the Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine but the same rare condition was linked to AstraZeneca’s covid-19 vaccine a week earlier, which suggests that could be the case. Both jabs use a modified adenovirus, though a different one is involved in each.On “The Jab”, our podcast reporting from the sharp end of the vaccination race, we investigate vaccine hesitancy in America. The country is close to delivering jabs to almost all who want them—unfortunately, only seven in ten Americans are interested. In the United States section, we focus on white evangelicals, a community that seems particularly set against the idea of taking covid jabs, and consider the kinds of messaging might be used to persuade the sceptics.Vermont, America’s second-whitest state (after Maine) has made all non-white residents, and those in their households, eligible for the vaccine. The move has raised some legal concerns, but proponents defend it on public-health grounds, since non-white Americans have suffered disproportionately from covid-19. The vaccine roll-out in Hong Kong has become highly politicised. China is pressing Hong Kongers to accept a Chinese vaccine, but many there would prefer a better one. In the Graphic detail section, we delve into the latest clinical and real world trial results for China’s CoronaVac vaccine, developed by Sinovac Biotech. The numbers show that the vaccine underperforms, with efficacy rates that range from 83% to a little over 50%. Not as impressive as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which cut the risk of catching covid-19 by more than 90%. On our science podcast, “Babbage”, we investigate one of the covid-19 pandemic’s most compelling mysteries—where did SARS-CoV-2 virus come from? By Zanny Minton Beddoes Editor-In-Chief font: The Economist

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COVID-19: Stepping up EU’s response to alleviate the effects of the crisis

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 20 aprile 2020

MEPs adopted additional measures so that EU funding can be granted immediately and with exceptional flexibility to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.In Friday’s extraordinary plenary session, the European Parliament endorsed the “Corona Response Investment Initiative Plus” (CRII+) package proposed by the European Commission on 2 April by means of an urgency procedureThe approved proposals are: Specific measures so that EU funds can be used flexibly. The adopted measures will allow member states to transfer resources between the three main cohesion funds (the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund), between the different categories of regions and between the funds’ specific priority areas.Exceptionally, it will be possible to fully finance cohesion policy programmes related to COVID-19 through 100% EU funding during the accounting year starting on 1 July 2020 and ending on 30 June 2021. The measures also simplify programme approval to speed up implementation, make financial instruments easier to use and simplify audits.New rules will allow farmers to benefit from loans or guarantees at favourable conditions to cover their operational costs of up to €200.000. They will also free unused agriculture-related rural development funding to fight COVID-19.The proposal was adopted with 689 votes in favour, 6 against and one abstention.Specific measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak in the fishery and aquaculture sector. Measures include supporting fishers that have to temporarily stop operating, financial aid for aquaculture producers when production is suspended or reduced, support to producer organisations for temporary storage, as well as a more flexible reallocation of national operational funds.MEPs also approved, following informal agreement with the Council, a series of improvements that will allow support to be given to new fishers and fishers on foot (i.e. those fishing without a boat). These improvements will also adapt provisions for outermost regions to deal with the crisis, as well as providing budgetary flexibility to help countries that have exhausted all allocated funding. The amended proposal was adopted with 671 votes in favour, 10 against and 15 abstentions.Specific measures to guarantee the continued functioning of the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD). Measures include the possibility to finance the provision of protective equipment for workers and volunteers, the temporary 100% co-financing from the EU budget and lighter reporting and audit measures during the COVID-19-crisis.Following informal agreement with the Council, MEPs also approved changes that allow for aid to be delivered using new methods, such as through electronic or paper vouchers, to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the operations and to reach the most vulnerable and excluded. The approved measures aim to protect the most vulnerable people from falling victim to COVID-19 and to ensure that food aid and basic material assistance still reaches them, while respecting social distancing and personal protection. The amended proposal was adopted with 686 votes in favour, 7 against and 3 abstentions.
The Council has to formally approve Parliament’s position. The adopted measures will enter into force once published in the Official Journal of the European Union in the coming days.

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Goldfinch Bio Presents Methods to Mitigate Batch Effects in Whole Genome Sequencing

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 24 ottobre 2019

Goldfinch Bio, a U.S.-based, clinical stage biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing precision medicines for the treatment of kidney diseases, announced a novel computational approach applied to its proprietary Kidney Genome Atlas (KGA) to enable a well-calibrated dataset for case-controlled genomic-wide association studies (GWAS) in focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). These methods were described in an oral presentation on October 19th at the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 2019 Annual Meeting in Houston, TX.Researchers utilized the KGA, which currently contains whole genome sequencing (WGS) on 23,000 de-identified individual patients, including 2,000 cases of FSGS and other proteinuric disorders, to discover loci associated with FSGS, a disease that causes scarring of the kidney which can lead to kidney failure. The researchers sourced cases and controls from five clinical sites and 21 publicly-available cohort studies. The heterogeneity in sample acquisition presented challenges for downstream analysis, as evidenced by massive inflation in test statistics when standard filtering and quality control methods were applied. Notably, the data revealed a batch effect confounded with case/control status.Researchers then implemented a three-pronged data-driven approach to further determine and control for batch effects: identifying clusters of similar sequencing technologies by conducting a principal component analysis on depth of coverage; implementing a novel use of silhouette scores and permutations to quantify case-control dissimilarity at the dataset-level; and iteratively removing controls with high dissimilarity from cases to achieve a better-calibrated dataset for case-control GWAS.
A preliminary, proof-of-principle analysis in a subset of individuals showed that inflation was well controlled. After confirming the statistical associations, researchers will link the signals to specific genes to identify putative targets for therapeutic intervention.

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Statin side effects are strongest predictor of failure to meet cholesterol targets

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 18 febbraio 2017

cardiologiaSophia Antipolis. Statin side effects are the strongest predictor of failure to meet low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol targets, according to research published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.1 Other predictors were statin non-adherence and use of weaker statins.“The beneficial effect of reducing LDL cholesterol on slowing the progression of coronary heart disease is overwhelmingly documented today in epidemiologic and randomised controlled studies,” said lead author Dr John Munkhaugen, a cardiology trainee and post-doctoral researcher at Drammen Hospital, Norway.“European guidelines2 recommend a blood LDL cholesterol goal of less than 1.8 mmol/l but just one in five cardiac patients taking lipid-lowering drugs achieve this,”3 he added.The NORwegian COR (NOR-COR) prevention project originates from the Department of Medicine at Drammen Hospital and is a collaboration between Drammen and Vestfold hospitals, and the Department of Behavioural Sciences in Medicine and Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo. It is investigating why patients fail to control risk factors including lipids and blood pressure after they have a cardiovascular event. This analysis examined the reasons why cardiac patients do not achieve the LDL cholesterol target.The study included 1,095 patients hospitalised with a first or recurrent coronary event or treatment (heart attack, coronary artery bypass graft, or coronary stent) who were identified from medical records at two Norwegian hospitals (Drammen and Vestfold). Sociodemographic, medical and psychosocial information was collected from medical records, an interdisciplinary self-report questionnaire, clinical examinations, and blood samples while patients were in hospital and at follow-up after two to 36 months.
The researchers found that 57% of patients were not meeting the LDL target of 1.8 mmol/l at follow-up. Statin specific side effects (mainly muscle complaints), low statin adherence, and moderate- or low-intensity statin therapy were the main reasons for failing to meet the target.Patients with side effects were more than three times more likely to miss the cholesterol target than those without side effects. Those who did not take their statins were three times more likely to miss the target than patients who did take them. Patients prescribed moderate- or low-intensity statins were 62% more likely to miss the target than those prescribed high-intensity statins.“We found the same three reasons for not meeting the target when LDL was analysed as a dichotomous or continous variable which confirms the strength of the associations,” said Dr Munkhaugen. “Surprisingly, low socioeconomic status and psychosocial factors did not predict failure to control LDL cholesterol.” “The findings show that the focus for interventions to improve LDL cholesterol control are statin side effects, and adherence to and prescription of sufficiently potent statins,” he continued.Dr Munkhaugen said more research was needed on why side effects of statins had such a big effect on meeting cholesterol goals. “Patients who experience side effects are probably more likely to reduce or terminate statin use, or their doctor may prescribe a weaker drug or take them off statins altogether,” he said. “Individual variations in how the body reacts to and uses the drug may also play a role.”The links between non-adherence and intensity of statin therapy on LDL cholesterol are likely explained by the pharmacological effects of the drug. “Not taking the prescribed amount of statins or being prescribed a weaker statin means there is less drug in the body to act and lower LDL,” said Dr Munkhaugen.“The reasons for statin non-adherence are a complex interaction between factors related to the patient and the healthcare system,” he added. “Interventions aiming to improve statin adherence have been a priority in recent years, but the success has been modest and short-lived.”
The study found that the use of high-intensity statins was significantly more frequent in patients who achieved the cholesterol target. But Dr Munkhaugen said: “The relationship with adherence and side effects needs to be clarified before advice can be given about the potency of statins that should be prescribed. Our findings point to the need for more research on ways to ensure adherence and prescription of sufficiently potent statins, while at the same time addressing side effects.”

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Fundamental rights: MEPs highlight effects of deterring migrants and austerity

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 9 settembre 2015

European CommissionThe fundamental rights of asylum seekers in the EU could be infringed by reception centre conditions, “hot returns”, barbed wire and other deterrence measures, say MEPs in a non-binding resolution voted Tuesday. The text also states concerns about the impact of austerity measures on EU citizens’ economic, civil, social and cultural rights and calls on the European Commission to set up a “scoreboard” to monitor democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in EU member states.The non-legislative resolution, approved by 360 votes to 291, with 58 abstentions, addresses the fundamental rights situation in the EU in 2013-2014.
The EU and its member states should put solidarity and respect for fundamental rights of migrants and asylum seekers at the core of EU migration policies, MEPs say. The EU and its member states should take “energetic and compulsory measures to prevent further tragedies at sea”, they add, also calling for “the establishment of an effective and harmonised EU asylum system for the fair distribution of asylum seekers among member states”.MEPs express concern about “hot return” procedures, migrant reception and detention centres in member states and negative stereotypes and misinformation about migrants. The resolution also condemns security measures at EU borders “which now sometimes even take the form of walls and barbed wire”, and calls for “fundamental rights-sensitive border controls”.
MEPs deplore the way in which the financial, economic and sovereign debt crisis along with budgetary restrictions has “negatively affected economic, civil, social and cultural rights”.When deciding and implementing corrective measures and budget cuts, the EU institutions and member states should do fundamental rights impact assessments and guarantee that sufficient resources are made available to safeguard fundamental rights, MEPs say. They add that “minimum essential levels of civil economic, cultural and social rights”, in particular for the most vulnerable and socially disadvantaged groups, must be ensured.
The Commission should set up a scoreboard using “common and objective” indicators by which “democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights will be measured”, says the text. . This scoreboard should provide the basis for constant monitoring and a “system of annual country assessment”, it adds.“We see basic violations of these fundamental rights across the face of Europe on a daily basis”, said lead MEP Laura Ferrara (EFDD, IT), in Monday’s plenary debate, adding that “we have to know what is happening in EU member states, because that would mean that the European institutions could take the necessary steps to protect those fundamental rights”.

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Faster and accurate identification of drugs causing allergic reactions: a great relief for patients

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 19 settembre 2014

A new diagnostic set to become the regular method for the diagnosis of cutaneous adverse drug reactions is faster, safe and easy to perform Allergic skin diseases are among the most frequently misunderstood diseases that allergists have to deal with
Experts confirm that better and faster diagnosis will help improve the quality of life of patients with allergic skin diseases
Krakow (Poland), Medication is a major pillar in the management of many diseases. But for some patients, their use can have detrimental effects including cutaneous adverse drug reactions (CADR), a common form of allergic skin disease, what can seriously impact on their quality of life. For allergists, CADR can prove time-consuming, especially with regard to diagnosis, since they often require the use of more than one analytic system to find the drug causing the allergy.Until recently, no universal method has been available, despite allergic reactionsintensive research in this field over the preceding decades. However, the diagnosis of CADR could now improve significantly thanks to a new method developed by a group of researchers led by Dr Grzegorz Porebski, Jagiellonian University, Department of Clinical and Environmental Allergology (Krakow, Poland). Faster, safer, more accurate and widely availableThe new technique is faster and more accurate than existing methods as it allows the accurate identification of the drug causing the reaction:“People usually take more than one drug together and it’s impossible to withdraw all this medication immediately. Patients would like to know which drug they can continue using and which one not, and this is a big challenge. Now they have a new tool that can improve the causality diagnosis to exclude the drug which has caused the allergy and it can be used in quite a large group of people affected by these reactions,” explains Dr Porebski.In addition, the method is safer because it doesn’t require exposure of the patient to the drug, as it is performed in vitro with a blood sample. Another advantage is that the technique is easy to perform and could be easily available in health centres, as opposed to other methods which are more expensive and therefore not accessible to all patients.This new diagnostic method has been studied in a drug whose use is widespread among Europeans – carbamazepine – which is prescribed in cases of epilepsy, psychiatric disorders or neurophatic pain. However, the study is also to confirm the method’s efficiency in the use of antibiotics and new phases will be extended to other drugs.Dr Porebski will present the implications of this new method at the Third Skin Allergy Meeting (SAM) organised by the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI). The meeting is being held in Krakow, Poland, starting today until Saturday. Europe’s leading researchers and clinicians in the field of skin allergy are gathering at SAM to share their expertise with participants on a wide range of topics from contact dermatitis, atopic eczema, urticaria and angioedema, to mastocytosis and anaphylaxis, drug and food allergies and the skin, diagnostics in skin allergy and hand eczema.
Allergies can be seen in almost every organ. Most commonly, however, it is the skin and the mucous membranes that are involved since they represent the frontier between the individual and their environment. Despite being so common, allergic skin diseases are among the least understood, and most frequently misunderstood, diseases the allergists have to deal with.The umbrella term for a local inflammation of the skin should be dermatitis. What is generally known as “atopic eczema/dermatitis” is not one, single disease but rather an aggregation of several diseases with certain characteristics in common.According to Professor Radoslaw Spiewak, Professor and Head of the Department of Experimental Dermatology and Cosmetology of the Jagiellonian University Medical College and President of the Local Organising Committee for the EAACI SAM, one of the common mistakes that allergists make is to consider all forms of eczema as atopic dermatitis. Another frequent error is to blame food allergy as the major cause of allergic skin diseases. Moreover, various types of eczema may co-exist in a patient, overlapping, and being replaced by one another. Sometimes, this situation occurs without being noticed by patient or doctor. Despite a similar appearance, the diversity of mechanisms underlying allergic skin diseases requires diverse and complex approaches.

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Expo: Keith Tyson

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 15 settembre 2009

keith tysonLondon until 11/11/2009 Parasol Unit  14 Wharf Road Cloud Choreography and Other Emergent Systems is a new exhibition by the winner of the 2002 Turner Prize, Keith Tyson, which brings together several groups of his works. Set up as an exploration of Tyson’s practice, rather than as a mid-career survey, the exhibition focuses on the systems and processes that inform the creation of his work.  Tyson’s work can be seen as an ongoing investigation into the question of how and why things come into being. Many of them investigate the physical forms and systems found within the natural world; others examine the effects of mankind on the environment, and the ensuing man-made forms and systems. In other works, Tyson questions the creation of the artwork itself, positing it as something which can be randomly generated by systems, but simultaneously making us aware that these systems are generated by the artist. Influenced as much by astrophysics and mathematics, as by observation of and reflection on nature, Tyson’s work presents a unique combination of scientific data with poetic artistry. This urges us to consider the roots of creativity alongside its aesthetic beauty. The works operate on a number of levels: as examples of physical, mathematical or scientific data, or of processes or systems. The breakdown of sophisticated and simple processes and mathematical data into an artistic aesthetic is something which greatly interests Tyson, and in all his works there is a consideration of -beauty’ (whether be it natural or artificial).  The structure of the exhibition at Parasol unit broadly splits into two parts. The first part, in the lower gallery, features works that focus on natural processes and systems, such as the Nature Sculptures, Nature Paintings, and a new series of works entitled Cloud Choreography paintings. In these series of works, we see a transition from observing the natural world in sculptural form, to attempts at recreating elements of it through chemical processes and rendered on large-scale aluminium sheets. In the upper gallery, the second part of the exhibition focuses more on mathematical, man-made and process-driven systems, and includes sculptures from the Fractal Dice series alongside paintings from a new series of work entitled Operator Paintings, which are to be shown as a series for the first time.  This exhibition at Parasol unit is be accompanied by a new publication on Keith Tyson’s work.  Keith Tyson (born 1969 in Ulverston, Cumbria, UK) held his first solo show From the Art Machine at the Anthony Reynolds Gallery in 1996 and since then has exhibited extensively both in the UK and internationally. In 2002, Tyson was awarded the Turner Prize for his show Supercollider at the South London Gallery. (Keith Tyson)

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L’inquinamento dell’aria

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 28 agosto 2009

E’ legato alla mobilità causa ogni anno la morte di decine di migliaia di persone nella Regione Europea dell’OMS. Se da una parte il trasporto costituisce una parte vitale della vita moderna, esso ha un costo per la salute che molta parte della popolazione, incluso chi non utilizza mezzi di trasporto, sta pagando. Le autorità affrontano la difficile sfida di ridurre i rischi per la salute e l’ambiente. Una comprensione adeguata dei rischi relativi all’impatto degli agenti inquinanti sulla salute e dei determinanti dell’esposizione è un prerequisito per affrontarli ed eliminarli o ridurli.  La nuova pubblicazione Effetti sulla salute dell’inquinamento dell’aria da trasporto (Health effects of transport-related air pollution), risultato di un progetto di tre anni dell’ufficio europeo dell’OMS, offre una valutazione delle evidenze disponibili ed un’analisi approfondita dei rischi per la salute dell’inquinamento dell’aria da trasporto. Presentata oggi in occasione del Seminario di Sanità Pubblica a Roma “Le politiche di mobilità urbana per la promozione della salute ed il contenimento delle emissioni nocive”, la pubblicazione propone argomentazioni concrete per un’azione immediata con politiche di trasporto che massimizzino i benefici per la salute e rispettino gli standard di mobilità. Il rapporto individua il trasporto stradale come la fonte più importante di agenti inquinanti pericolosi, quali il particolato fine (PM), il biossido di azoto, il benzene ed altri.  Molte città riportano un’eccedenza nei livelli stabiliti dalla UE per il PM10, biossido di azoto e benzene, la maggior parte emessi da automobili e camion. L’evidenza epidemiologica e tossicologica sugli effetti dell’inquinamento dell’aria da trasporto è aumentata sostanzialmente nelle ultime decadi. Essa prova che l’inquinamento dell’aria da trasporto: contribuisce ad aumentare il rischio di morte, in particolare per cause cardiopolmonari; aumenta il rischio di sintomi respiratori e malattie; può aumentare l’incidenza del cancro ai polmoni in persone con un’esposizione a lungo termine; può influenzare la suscettibilità ad altri fattori che hanno un impatto sulla salute, come gli allergeni presenti nell’aria.

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