Unit | Environmental Exposures and Health

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

HERMES: Health Effects Related to Mobile Phone Use in Adolescents

The aim of this cohort study is to prospectively investigate in adolescents whether exposure to RF-EMF emitted by mobile phones and other wireless communication devices causes behavioural problems, non-specific health disturbances or affects cognitive functions. The study evaluates usage data from around 500 adolescents in school grades 7 and 8 over a period of 12 months, and tests their cognitive ability with standardized computer tests.


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.


Foerster M, Röösli M. A latent class analysis on adolescents media use and associations with health related quality of life. Computers in Human Behavior. 2017;71:266-274. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2017.02.015

Boulieri Areti, Liverani Silvia, de Hoogh Kees, Blangiardo Marta. A space-time multivariate Bayesian model to analyse road traffic accidents by severity. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society). 2017;180(1):119-139. DOI: 10.1111/rssa.12178

Pedersen M et al. Ambient air pollution and primary liver cancer incidence in four European cohorts within the ESCAPE project. Environ Res. 2017;154:226-233. DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2017.01.006

Cai Y et al. Ambient air pollution, traffic noise and adult asthma prevalence: a BioSHaRE approach. Eur Respir J. 2017;49(1). DOI: 10.1183/13993003.02127-2015

Ruttens D et al. An association of particulate air pollution and traffic exposure with mortality after lung transplantation in Europe. Eur Respir J. 2017;49(1):1600484. DOI: 10.1183/13993003.00484-2016

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.

Link to Project

SiRENE: Short and Long Term Effects of Transportation Noise Exposure

The overall goal of this interdisciplinary project with five research groups is to investigate acute, short- and long-term effects of road, railway and aircraft noise exposure on annoyance, sleep disturbances and cardiometabolic risk. The project aims at identifying noise exposure patterns that most strongly affect individuals during sleep and thus may ultimately result in long-term health consequences. In addition, the role of individual characteristics such as age and gender, noise sensitivity and genetic predispositions will be elucidated.

Link to Project


The VEGAS-project aims to determine the distribution of air pollutants in the city Basel. We invite inhabitants of Basel to become part of this study.

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