Unit | Environmental Exposures and Health

Measurement of Mobile Phone Radiation and Concentration

Our continuous interaction with the environment affects our health in both positive and negative ways. Researchers in the Environmental Exposures and Health unit develop and integrate novel tools and methods to investigate the health effects of a wide range of environmental exposures. These include transportation noise, ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, ambient and indoor air pollution, environmental tobacco exposure, pesticides and climate change including heat waves.

From Exposure Assessment to Effective Public Health

The unit conducts epidemiological studies in children, adolescents and adults. Current studies are dealing with health-related quality of life, behaviour, respiratory diseases, childhood tumours, cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative diseases. The unit also conducts health risk assessments, including meta-analyses and systematic reviews and contributes to the development of guidelines and regulatory limits in the field of environmental health.

Martin Röösli

Martin Röösli, Associate Professor, PhD


Almost 20% of the Swiss population suffer from a pollen allergy, a dramatic increase from 100 years ago when it was less than 1%. At the same time, the amount of pollen in the air has increased. There is more to pollen allergies than bothersome sneezing: The EPOCHAL study will investigate how different concentrations of pollen from trees, grasses and weeds affect the heart, lungs, brain, sleep and quality of life. We aim to understand these health effects in both pollen-allergic and non-allergic people. Read more and find out how to participate in the EPOCHAL study here.



PoCHAS: Pollen and Cardiorespiratory Health and Allergic Symptoms

The PoCHAS project aims to model the ambient exposure to airborne pollen retrospectively using spatiotemporal models. This allows us to investigate how short-term exposure to pollen is related to respiratory and cardiovascular events. We will study mortality and hospitalization. Moreover, in light of increasing allergy prevalence and changing pollen season, we aim to study how the relationship between pollen and health has developed in the last decades, and which subpopulations might be most at risk. Moreover, combined exposure to pollen, air pollution and weather conditions may have synergistic effects, which alter the allergenicity of pollen - a research area which has been hardly explored. Read more about the project


The SPUTNIC study investigates the possible correlations between mobile radiation and human health. Fieldwork for the study has now finished, and we are analyzing exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields from mobile phone use in relation to cognitive function and health-related quality of life. Using sound level meters and fitness trackers, we have also been measuring environmental nighttime noise, physical activity and sleep duration and quality. Read more about the project

Evaluation of Heat Wave Related Mortality and Adaption Measures in Switzerland

Heat is a stressor for the body and it is well proven that heat causes excess mortality. The aim of this project is to obtain a better understanding how heat waves affect mortality and morbidity in Switzerland. Further, a tool box is derived on potential adaption measures that can be taken by various stakeholders to prevent heat related health effects. A further objective of the project is to evaluate the effectiveness of these adaption measures. Read more

Joint South Africa & Swiss Chair in Global Environmental Health

This chair in Cape Town university addresses emerging environmental health problems in South Africa. The collaboration consists of four projects: (i) a cohort study on agricultural pesticides effects on the development and respiratory health effects among rural children; (ii) a cohort study on the effects of ambient air pollutants on childhood asthma; (iii) an ecosystem approach on the health risks associated with chemical pollution and bio contamination of water sources and soils; and (iv) a health risk assessment on the impact of climate change on ecosystems, water and chemical usages. Further information about the project

TraNQuIL: Transportation Noise: Quantitative Methods for Investigating Acute and Long Term Health Effects

Noise from road, railway and aircraft traffic is one of the most widespread sources of environmental stress and discomfort in everyday life. However, previous research has been fragmented, in particular in children and adolescents. As a consequence little is known about the relevance of exposure duration, noise characteristics and the effects in adolescents.
The overall aim of the project is to obtain a thorough understanding on how transportation noise affects human health. Read more

Chen J et al. Long-term exposure to fine particle elemental components and natural and cause-specific mortality-a pooled analysis of eight European cohorts within the ELAPSE project. Environ Health Perspect. 2021;129(4):47009. DOI: 10.1289/EHP8368

Glick S, Gehrig R, Eeftens M. Multi-decade changes in pollen season onset, duration, and intensity: a concern for public health?. Sci Total Environ. 2021;781:146382. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.146382

Raess M et al. LAND use regression modelling of community noise in São Paulo, Brazil. Environ Res. 2021;199:111231. DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2021.111231

Saucy A et al. The role of extreme temperature in cause-specific acute cardiovascular mortality in Switzerland: a case-crossover study. Sci Total Environ. 2021;790:147958. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.147958

Vicedo-Cabrera A.M et al. The burden of heat-related mortality attributable to recent human-induced climate change. Nat Clim Chang. 2021(in press). DOI: 10.1038/s41558-021-01058-x