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Heimtsa (Health and environment integrated methodology and toolbox for scenario assessment) is a EU-funded research project in the Sixth Framework programme of Research ([1]), Priority 6.3 (Global Change and Ecosystems) with a €5M contribution from the European Commission (GOCE-CT-2006-036913-2). The HEIMTSA Consortium comprises 21 partners from many of the leading research and user organisations in Europe. The participant list can be found on the project website.

It has the following main aims: (i) Development of a methodology for health impact and cost benefit analysis, so that overall environment and health impacts caused by releases of substances into the environment from all relevant human activities can be evaluated at the European level, as reliably as practicable given current knowledge; (ii)Development of a related modular integrated assessment system (IAS) for implementing the methodology Europe-wide; (iii) Application of the methodology for health impact and cost-benefit assessment of realistic policy scenarios at the European level on the basis of results from using the IAS; (iv)Development of health impact assessment/cost-benefit analysis capability in Europe.

The project started in 2007 and will end in 2011.

Project summary

HEIMTSA brings together an international team of scientists in the areas of epidemiology, environmental science and biosciences, to collaborate on developing and applying new, integrated approaches to the assessment of environmental health risks and consequences, in support of European policy in transport, energy, agriculture, industry, household and waste treatment and disposal.


HEIMTSA aims to support the Environment and Health Action Plan (EHAP) by extending health impact assessment (HIA) and cost benefit analysis (CBA) methods and tools so that environment and health impacts of policy scenarios in key sectors can be evaluated reliably at the European level.

Drawing on past HIA/CBA studies (e.g. the EXTERNE project series), HEIMTSA uses the full chain (impact pathway) approach.

  1. Emissions to environmental media (‘stressor identification’) are derived from sector scenarios in transport, energy, agriculture, industry, households and waste treatment and disposal, that are combined and harmonized to result in consistent scenarios for all relevant stressors for the whole of Europe.
  2. Human exposures (e.g. outdoor and indoor air pollution, water, noise, odour, metals, dioxins) by multiple routes are estimated, using new methods (exposure scenarios and probabilistic modelling), including consumer exposure to facilitate applications of the full-chain approach.
  3. Health risk functions are derived, with new methods for: effects of combined exposures; estimating background rates; and mapping health impacts, to aid in communication of results.
  4. Monetary valuation includes review of methods for valuating children’s health, developing values for relevant health endpoints, extending the valuation paradigm to include altruism, and new primary studies of pain and suffering.
  5. New approaches to estimating and representing uncertainty are developed, and will be applied integrally throughout.
  6. A decentralised modular system for integrated assessment of environmental health impacts will be developed, and the entire HIA and valuation methodology applied to baseline and new policy-relevant scenarios in the key sectors, including some effects of climate change.
  7. Results will be reported and presented in innovative ways including the generation of maps that describe the spatial distribution of health impacts and the presentation of the distribution of impacts on different groups of the population.
  8. Close links will be maintained with other similar projects, especially Intarese. Training and dissemination needs are addressed. There is a strong focus on scientific integration across an experienced expert consortium.

Benefits include new integrated methods and tools, applications to policy-relevant Europe-wide scenarios, new knowledge about which environment and health impacts really matter, and priorities for further method development.

Project information

  • The project web page is located at www.heimtsa.eu.
  • The chief contacts for the project are:

See also

Related files