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MAPEC logoUNIPI Team Leader: Prof.ssa Anna Laura Carducci, Dipartimento di Biologia

Several epidemiological studies have demonstrated the association between exposure to air pollution and mortality and morbidity in humans. In 2005, an estimated 5 million years of life were lost due to fine particle pollution in 32 European countries (European Environment Agency Technical report no. 12/2011, Air quality in Europe). Urban pollution, caused by traffic, factories, heating systems and energy generation, is a complex and variable mixture of several compounds, some of which cause genetic damage. 

MAPEC_LIFE will evaluate the links between pollutants such as PM and nitrogen oxides, and PAHs and nitroPAHs (nitro-polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), and their early effects. The project will then build a model for estimating the risk to children from air pollutants and other factors.

The specific objectives are: 

  • To assess the concentrations of certain organic compounds (PAHs and nitroPAHs) in the air in some Italian towns;
  • To assess air mutagenicity and toxicity in the same areas, through in-vitro tests on very fine particles (PM0.5);
  • To study the relationship between the concentration of air pollutants and air mutagenicity and toxicity;
  • To investigate children’s exposure to other indoor and outdoor airborne pollutants, via a questionnaire filled in by the children’s parents;
  • To assess early effect biomarkers in oral mucosa cells from the children;
  • To carry out a risk analysis of carcinogenic effects based on environmental data;
  • To compare the results of the risk-analysis model (“expected”) with the early effect biomarkers actually found in the children (“observed”).



Università degli Studi di Brescia (Coordinator), Italy



  • CSMT Gestione s.c.a.r.l., Italy
  • University of Perugia, Italy
  • University of Pisa - Department of Biology, Italy
  • University of Salento - Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, Italy
  • University of Torino, Italy


Start date 01/01/2014

End date 31/12/2016

Total cost: € 2.246.502,00
EU contribution: € 1.112.189,00

UNIPI Role: partner

Project website: 

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