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  • About ULTRHAS

Article

About ULTRHAS

ULTRHAS – ULtrafine particles from TRansportation – Health Assessment of Sources, is a project funded under the EU’s Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020, Grant Agreement No. 955390.

Illustration photo: Colourbox.com
Illustration photo: Colourbox.com

ULTRHAS – ULtrafine particles from TRansportation – Health Assessment of Sources, is a project funded under the EU’s Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020, Grant Agreement No. 955390.


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They may be tiny, but ultrafine particles (UFPs) can pose a big health risk. For instance, inhalation of these nano-sized particles has been associated with respiratory diseases. Non-regulated nanoparticle emissions from transport sources belong to this category of high concern. The EU-funded ULTRHAS project will reveal the health threats posed by nanoparticles from different transport sources.

Specifically, it will address the impact of different transport modes, fuel technologies and wear components, including atmospheric ageing processes, on the physicochemical characteristics of particulate and gaseous emissions. To study the harmful effects in the lung, the project will apply emission measurement, exposure, and toxicity-testing approaches under highly controlled laboratory conditions. ULTRHAS will provide enhanced understanding of the health threats posed by UFP-emissions from different transport modes, optimize a framework for toxicity and hazard assessment of aerosols, and provide guidance for policy development to improve air quality and promote health and wellbeing.

ULTRHAS is a 4 year project, starting 1 September 2021 and with scheduled end date 31 August 2025. The consortium behind the project consists of seven partners, all universities and research institutes, from four European countries.

The problem

Current legislative control of particulate matter (PM) based on ambient mass concentrations does not encompass source dependent variation in PM toxicity or the impact of high numbers of nanoparticles (ultrafine particles; UFPs) which contribute little to PM mass. UFPs may pose high risks due to their small size and high number/surface area concentrations and higher propensity to penetrate tissue barriers and reach the circulation and secondary target organs. Non-regulated nanoparticle emissions from transport sources belong to this category of high concern, and the effects of some specific emissions (e.g. particles from wear components or natural gas and jet engines) are either not sufficiently understood or remain undetected by current air quality or certification procedures.

The solution

ULTRHAS will specifically address (i) the impact of different transport modes, fuel technologies and wear components, including atmospheric ageing processes, on the physicochemical characteristics of particulate and gaseous emissions; and how these processes and characteristics affects (ii) the biological responses leading to harmful effects in the lung and beyond by applying state-of-the-art emission measurement, exposure and toxicity-testing approaches under highly controlled laboratory conditions. ULTRHAS will (iii) rank the health hazards of different transport mode emissions and (iv) apply an advanced health impact assessment framework incorporating burden of disease methods to quantify baseline and policy scenario impacts for development and prioritization of mitigation measures; and (v) evaluate the future impact and acceptance of new policies on public health, taking into account social aspects.

The impact

ULTRHAS will provide enhanced understanding of the health threats posed by ultrafine particles from different transport modes, optimize a framework for toxicity and hazard assessment of aerosols, and provide guidance for prioritization of mitigation measures and future legislation on air pollutants.

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