Small Area Studies of Environment & Health


This theme encompasses the work of the Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU), a nationally & internationally recognised institution for research into health & environment, regularly impacting on health policy. SAHSU currently holds over 350 million regularly updated patient records relating to births, deaths, cancer registrations & hospital admissions, which are being used in over twenty projects. 

Theme Leader: Professor Paul Elliott (ICL)

Key Projects

  • The Environment and Health Atlas for England and Wales: provides readers with a detailed set of maps highlighting spatial patterns of 14 health conditions (eg. lung cancer; breast cancer) relevant to environmental exposures eg. air pollution (NO2, PM10) levels; chlorination disinfection by-products in drinking water; radon exposure risk.
  • The Incinerators Study, investigating potential associations between reproductive & infant health & emissions from municipal waste incinerators (MWIs) in England, Scotland and Wales. 
  • Health Impacts of Bioaerosols from Large Scale Biocomposting Waste Facilities, investigating whether people living near large-scale waste composting sites & potentially exposed to bioaerosols have higher rates of adverse health outcomes than the general population.
  • Redeveloping Rapid Inquiry Facility (RIF) software: platform facilitating disease mapping & risk analysis. Co-funding from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Methodology projects, including developing a statistical framework to adjust for missing confounders in SAHSU registry data using propensity scores & data from national cohort & survey data. 
  • TRAFFIC study: Ongoing epidemiological analyses examining birth outcomes in relation to air pollution & road transport noise. One of the largest studies on health effects of air pollution on birth outcomes & one of few to examine the adverse health effects of environmental noise. Includes development of the TRANEX Noise Model
  • Associations between measures of green space and birth outcomes: investigating a link between improved birth outcomes & residential exposure to green space. Exploring impact of variables eg. maternal age, parity & air pollution; area-level socio-economic deprivation & smoking.