Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 4555–4569 | Cite as

Environmental exposure and health effects in a highly polluted area of Northern Italy: a narrative review

  • Carlotta AliasEmail author
  • Laura Benassi
  • Luca Bertazzi
  • Sabrina Sorlini
  • Marialuisa Volta
  • Umberto Gelatti
Review Article


Human health and well-being are strongly linked to the state of the environment. The high industrial pressure present in the Province of Brescia, located in Northern Italy, produced strong environmental and health concerns. This narrative review of the literature aims at identifying the studies focused on the association between exposure to environmental pollutants and health effects in the population living in this area. Thirteen papers fitted the inclusion criteria: five were focused on the connection among pollutants present in air matrix and health effects, seven on both air and soil, and one on soil. No study investigated the relationship with water pollution. The great variability in the analyzed end-points made it difficult to draw precise conclusions, but the fact that, in almost all the studies, the investigated health effects have a positive association with the exposure to different kinds of pollutants, allows us to hypothesize that the considered population is living in an area where the “environmental pressure” could produce significant health effects in the future.


Environmental pollution Environmental exposure Environmental pressure Health effects High-polluted area Public health 



Acute coronary syndrome


Atrial fibrillation


Acute hear failure


Aspartate transaminase/alanine transaminase




Bergamo city


Brescia city


Blood-oxygen-level dependent


Cognitive function and behavior


Cutaneous malignant melanoma


Cardiovascular disease


Degree of freedom


Deep vein thrombosis


Functional magnetic resonance imaging


Idiopathic Parkinson disease


Intelligent quotient




Malignant ventricular arrhythmia


Neurobehavioral function


Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma


Olfactory function


Odds ratio


Polychlorinated biphenyls


Parkinsonian disorders


Respiratory disease


Relative risk


Standard deviation


standardized morbidity ratio


Thyroid hormones


Unified Parkinson’s disease rating scale



This work was supported by the “Health and Wealth Strategic Programme” of the University of Brescia.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.B+LabNet - Environmental Sustainability LabUniversity of BresciaBresciaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Economics and ManagementUniversity of BresciaBresciaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Civil, Environmental, Architectural Engineering and MathematicsUniversity of BresciaBresciaItaly
  4. 4.Department of Mechanical and Industrial EngineeringUniversity of BresciaBresciaItaly
  5. 5.Department of Medical and Surgical Specialties, Radiological Sciences, and Public HealthUniversity of BresciaBresciaItaly

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