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.

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Air pollution costs European economies US$ 1.6 trillion a year in diseases and deaths, new WHO study says

A staggering US$ 1.6 trillion is the economic cost of the approximate 600 000 premature deaths and of the diseases caused by air pollution in the WHO European Region in 2010, according to the first-ever study of these costs conducted for the Region. The amount is nearly equivalent to one tenth of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the entire European Union in 2013.

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.

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Key policy resources

Parma Declaration

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

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