Air Pollution and Health

Course content

  After an introduction to atmospheric chemistry then indoor (industrial and non-industrial) and outdoor air pollution will be treated followed by toxicological approaches. Modeling and pollution concepts will be presented and discussed. The student will obtain the underlying knowledge to understand and discuss topics in the field of air pollution and associated health effects, and air pollution epidemiology.

MSc Programme in Chemistry with a minor subject
MSc Programme in Environmental Science


Learning outcome

The student is expected to obtain a general knowledge and overview of the field of air pollution chemistry (outdoor industrial and non-industrial indoor), associated human health effects, toxicological approaches for risk identification, epidemiology, and methods and strategies for air sampling (exposure assessment). The student must have the following knowledge, skills and competences:

General knowledge of pollutant types, sources and dynamics in indoor environments. Detailed knowledge of selected pollutants, source, fate, reactions. 
General overview of types of measurements (direct reading, sampling methods, etc), advantages and disadvantages, sampling strategies, quality control/quality assurance strategies of measurements. 
General knowledge of health effects and how they are evaluated by epidemiological and experimental methods. Be able to evaluate measurement data (exposure assessment).
General knowledge of health effects relevant for indoor and (industrial)occupational environments. General knowledge of methods how to study and evaluate pollutant exposure by experimental methods.
Have a general knowledge of measurement methods in in-door chemistry, material testing and source control.
Be able to describe a) toxicological approaches for the evaluation of air pollutants in different experimental models, b) exposure assessment of air pollution, c) epidemiological assessment of all health effects of (outdoor) air pollution with inclusion of exposure-response functions, susceptibility and importance of sources, composition and international dimensions.

Be able to perform exposure assessment and analyze dose-response-relationships related to air pollution
Be able to explain the principles of formation of particles and their fate in the atmosphere.
Be able to explain major indoor sources of pollution and their dynamics and transformation.
Be able to account for (using graphs) different sizes of particles in the atmosphere, their lifetimes and their most important chemical components
Be able to propose relevant sampling methods and monitoring strategies for given scenarios and pollutants.
Be able to propose methods to identify causality (dose-response relationships).
Be able to carry out exposure assessment.

Discuss indoor pollutants including most important occupational and non-occupational (indoor) pollutants.
Discuss emission and concentration characteristics, source control and labeling strategies.
Be able to identify important pollutants and how they are measured. How to evaluate the quality of measurement data.
Discuss air pollution and health associated effects - mechanisms and causes. Be able to discuss potential health risks of indoor pollution.
Be able to critically evaluate concentration or emission data (exposure assessment).
Be able to discuss health effects and impact assessment of air pollution based on toxicological and epidemiological evaluation and including address of exposure-response functions, susceptibility and importance of sources, composition and international dimensions

Lectures, problem solving, practicals, report writing.

Scientific papers and material produced by the teachers

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 25 min (no preparation)
Type of assessment details
Exam registration requirements

The report from the practical exercise in week 2 must be approved ahead of the oral exam

Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners

Same as the ordinary exam. The report must be approved 3 weeks before the re-exam

Criteria for exam assessment

To obtain the grade 12 the student must fulfill the description of the course goals in the topics touched upon at the exam with no or only insignificants exceptions. The student must demonstrate understanding of physical as well as chemical thinking with respect to air pollution and human health. The student must be able to explain the path from source and emission of natural or anthropogenic compounds to chemistry and physics in the troposphere and stratosphere and evaluate the consequences for human health. The student must possess all the knowledge, skills and competences described above.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 21
  • Preparation
  • 134
  • Theory exercises
  • 21
  • Practical exercises
  • 9
  • Project work
  • 21
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 2
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board of Natural Resources, Environment and Animal Science
Contracting department
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Department of Public Health
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Ole John Nielsen   (3-736e7244676c6971326f7932686f)

Ole John Nielsen og Peter Møller (Health)

Saved on the 28-02-2023

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