Schools Tackling Estarreja's Air Pollution (STEP)
Célia Alves
Teresa Nunes, Ana Vicente, Margarita Evtyugina, Carla Viegas, Nóra Kóvats, Xavier Querol
Project type
Projet OHM
OHM(s) involved
  • OHMI Estarreja
Chimie, Éco-épidémiologie, Génomique, Santé publique
Children are in school for one-third of their normal day where bad indoor air quality (IAQ) emerges as a real problem. As in most countries, schools in Portugal are not subject to regular monitoring of IAQ and its health effects. STEP has Estarreja as a case study, and aims to answer the following 3 main questions: What causes air pollution in and around schools? What are the effects? What are the possible solutions to tackle it? A citizen-science initiative to monitor indoor and outdoor air quality in and around primary and kindergarten school classrooms is proposed, involving multipollutant monitoring and the application, for the first time, of new disciplines, such as analytical toxicology, microbial genomics, and occupational epidemiology. In addition to regulated pollutants and comfort parameters, a bioburden assessment will be done, including the detection of toxigenic fungi and antimicrobial-resistance genes. Dust will be chemically characterised and subject to a toxicological screening to obtain stressor-response patterns. A cross-sectional study in which pupils will be diagnosed by means of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) questionnaire will be conducted to estimate the burden and risk factors of diseases. Multivariate models will be applied to search for associations between air quality, respiratory health, and absenteeism. A dosimetry model will be used for risk assessment and development of occupational exposure limits for inhaled particles. A set of guidelines and good practices will be proposed for effective IAQ management and behavioural changes towards a healthy school environment.


Célia Alves
Célia Alves holds a PhD degree in Environmental Applied Sciences from the University of Aveiro. Since 2005 she is Researcher at CESAM (Centre from Environmental and Marine Studies), one of the Research Units of the University of Aveiro, and leads the Atmospheric Chemistry Group. She is Editor-in-Chief of “Air Quality, Atmosphere and Health”, associate editor of “Atmospheric Research” and Member of the Editorial Board of “Atmosphere”. She has been acting as expert evaluator in several international (e.g., research projects in Austria, Poland, Chile, Finland, UK and Switzerland) funding programmes. Her research interests include:
 Air pollution chemistry;
 Photochemical pollution;
 Aerosols and climate change;
 Carbonaceous aerosols and organic tracers;
 In situ measurements of atmospheric aerosols;
 Aerosol source apportionment;
 Chromatographic techniques applied to aerosols;
 Biomass burning emissions;
 Exhaust and non-exhaust emissions from traffic;
 Toxicology of particulate matter (mutagenicity, cytotoxicity, ecotoxicity)
 Health risk assessment;
 Indoor air quality.
Participation in some research projects:
- Chemical and toxicological SOurce PROfiling of particulate matter in urban air, SOPRO
- ATHEROFIT: Phytochemical-based metabolic immunomodulation to prevent/attenuate particulate matter-mediated atherosclerosis
- AIRUSE - Testing and Development of Air Quality Mitigation Measures in Southern Europe, LIFE11 ENV/ES/000584
- URBE - Source apportionment of URBan Emissions of primary particulate matter
- Investigation of mineral dust at two measurement stations at the northern and southern islands at Cape Verde: harmonization of techniques, data evaluation and intercomparison of results
- Size distribution of carbonaceous aerosol particles at different Iberian locations
- SINPHONIE - Schools Indoor Pollution and Health: Observatory Network in Europe
- BIOEMI - Contribution of biomass...


Teresa Nunes holds a PhD in Sciences Applied to the Environment from the University of Aveiro since 1997. Currently she is Associated Professor at the Department of Environment, University of Aveiro. She is an integrated member of the Associated Laboratory CESAM (Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies). She participates in the development of course programs, course contents, and teaching in several courses: Bachelor and Master courses in Environmental Engineering; Master’s in marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Environmental Management and Policy; Master’s in environmental management and Policy; European Master in Environment Sciences; PhD in Environmental Sciences and Engineering. Her main research activities related to Environmental Applied Sciences - Atmosphere/biosphere interaction: biogenic emission fluxes of NMHC and Hg; atmospheric pollution; analytical chemistry; inventory of atmospheric pollutants; characterization of biomass combustion emissions; exhaust and...
M. Evtyugina graduated in Chemical Engineering by the Forestry Technical Academy of St. Petersburg (Russia) in 1985 and completed her PhD in Environmental Sciences at the University of Aveiro (UA) in 2004. During her post-doc at both the University of Aveiro and University of Tras-os-Montes and Alto Douro (Portugal) she acquired fundamental knowledge in air pollution, which allowed a wide experience in different sampling and analytical methodologies of gaseous and particulate atmospheric pollutants and modelling. Additional skills in Instrumental Methods of Analyses and Laboratory Management have been gained during her leadership of the Analytical Laboratory at the Associated Laboratory CIIMAR (University of Porto). Later, as auxiliary researcher at CESAM (university of Aveiro), she deepened and expanded the knowledge and practical skills in indoor/outdoor air quality and gaseous/PM emissions from biomass combustion biomass and other sources. She published 2 book chapters and 52...
Ana Vicente holds a Degree in Geology (2001) and a Master in Geosciences with specialisation in Environment and Planning (2005) from the University of Coimbra. Since 2012, she holds a PhD in Environmental Sciences and Engineering from the University of Aveiro. From 2002 to 2009 she was a scholarship holder at the Natural Radioactivity Laboratory (LRN) at the University of Coimbra. From 2013 to 2019 she was a pos-doc scholarship holder at CESAM (Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies), University of Aveiro. Since 2019, also at CESAM, she has been working as Assistant Researcher in the chemical characterisation of emissions from different sources (e.g., biomass burning, domestic activities, etc.). She is team member of 1 ongoing FCT-funded project and was member of 3 concluded projects (2 FCT-funded and another EU-funded). She was author or co-author of 41 papers in WoS journals. Additionally, Ana Vicente was author or co-author of 1 book, 1 book chapter, 4 conference papers and...
Carla Viegas holds a PhD in Public Health (2010), a master’s degree in Safety and Ergonomics (2003) and a Bachelor in Environmental Health (1998). Since 2003 she is Professor at ESTeSL, the Lisbon School of Health Technology, integrated in the Polytechnic Institute of Lisbon. She is Director of the Master in Occupational Health. Since 2010, she has been the coordinator of several projects on fungal contamination assessment in several occupational environments. Example of an ongoing research project under her coordination is “Assessment of fungal contamination from feed production and cork industry through conventional methods and molecular biology”. She has (co)authored more than 100 indexed papers with more than 2500 citation and an H-factor of 30.
ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1545-6479
Nóra Kóvats holds a PhD in Biology (1999) from the University of Debrecen and an Habilitation degree in Environmental Sciences (2019) from the University of Pannonia, Hungary. She is Professor at the Centre for Natural Sciences, University of Pannonia, since 1991, where she has supervised 6 concluded PhD theses. Now she is supervising 2 doctoral students. Her research interests are focused on ecological risk assessment and environmental toxicology. She has published 60 Scopus-indexed papers. Relevant recent projects: “Characteristics of resuspended and respirable road dust and its contribution to urban PM10 concentration”, “Development of a new instrument for real-time monitoring of airborne pollution” and “Bionanotechnological researches: production of bioinspired intelligent nanomaterials, Nanotoxicity module”.

Scopus: 6506939853
Research Professor leads the EGAR group at IDAEA-CSIC. Main focus on atmospheric pollution, waste valorisation and applied geochemistry. Supervisor of 26 PhD Theses. >500 articles in SCI journals. Member of LRTAP-UNECE, WHO and EC committees and working groups advising on air quality and climate directives. 2013 Award “Rey Jaime I” for the Protection of the Environment. Included in the ISI Highly Cited Scientists. More than 58,000 citations; H-factor=123.
ORCID: 0000-0002-6549-9899