Air quality

The air we breathe contains emissions from motor vehicles, industry, heating and commercial sources, as well as tobacco smoke and household fuels. Air pollution harms human health, particularly in those already vulnerable because of their age or existing health problems.

Read more

Top story

Poor indoor environments at school

Many children are exposed to poor indoor environments in schools, with issues including stuffy air, dampness and mould, uncomfortable temperatures and poorly functioning toilets. A new WHO report on environment and health conditions in European schools and kindergartens will contribute to discussions at the mid-term review of the European Environment and Health Process in Haifa, Israel, on 28–30 April 2015.

WHO air quality guidelines

The WHO air quality guidelines for outdoor air pollution represent the most widely accepted and up-to-date assessment of health effects of air pollution, recommending targets for air quality at which health risks are significantly reduced.

Air quality guidelines. Global update 2005. Particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide

Data and statistics

One year of life expectancy is lost for every person in the WHO European Region due to exposure to particulate matter (PM). This is mostly due to the increased risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and lung cancer.

More information

Key policy resources

Parma Declaration

Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, Parma, Italy, 2010

More policy resources