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Predict’Air, a new air quality indicator

Confirming the relevance of another health exposure indicator, the Oxidative Potential of atmospheric particles.

Atmospheric pollution by particles is a major public health concern. The current indicators PM10 and PM2.5, based on the weight of particles, do not thoroughly describe the short-term health impact. Gaëlle Uzu, IRD Research associate at the Institut des Géosciences de l'Environnement (Institute of Environmental Geosciences) at Grenoble Alpes University, offers an additional indicator.

Particle pollution

Epidemiological studies have established that the majority of chronic diseases resulting from air pollution are due to particles. Regulations currently in force in Europe use the mass concentration of particulate matter (PM) as an indicator and a tool for health warnings and does not include the major determinants of the toxicity of particles (make-up, size, solubility, specific surface, speciation). The majority of the mass of ambient particles is made up of low-toxicity components and harmful substances account for a very low proportion of the mass. Don't we need a health impact indicator to keep us informed?

An additional health metric

The Predict’air program will take part in the research aiming to demonstrate the relevance of the Oxidative Potential (OP) of aerosols as a new health exposure indicator.
In vitro studies of the process have shown that the oxidative species (metals and organic molecules) carried mainly by atmospheric particles lead to pulmonary inflammation.
Gaëlle Uzu, IRD1 Research associate at the Institut des Géosciences de l'Environnement de Grenoble, is developing her research work around three areas:

  • The link between the Oxidative Potential and atmospheric geochemistry in order to understand the inter-analysis variability of the various OP quantification methods and the links with atmospheric contaminants and their sources
  • The identification of a clear link between the OP measurements and the health data (collaboration with the epidemiology team); compare its predictive nature with that of the metric currently used (mass concentration of PMs)
  • The conditions allowing transition to operational state and use of the OP as a measure in addition to mass concentration for European regulation.
Unlike other types of pollution, we can regulate atmospheric pollution using ambitious measures from States and cities. The solution is a collective one and every party has to act at the individual level. Gaëlle Uzu.

The Grenoble Alpes University2 Foundation allows the pooling of data and resources from the Ice Memory project.

1IRD: French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development

2Unité mixte de recherche de l'Université Grenoble Alpes, du CNRS, de Grenoble-INP et de l'Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) 

How the Air Liquide Foundation is participating

The Air Liquide Foundation is contributing 150,000 euros for salaries of a research engineer and a post-doc as well as to help purchase analysis equipment.


  • Project initiator: Grenoble Alpes University Foundation
  • Location: France and Bolivia
  • Year of support: 2019-2022
  • Air Liquide Sponsor: Air Liquide R&D Manager: Anne-Laure Lesort, group manager, Analytical Sciences, Innovation Paris campus