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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Release of WHO data on air pollution exposure and its health impact by country

The new global report, released today, presents the most detailed outdoor (ambient) air pollution and health impact data by country ever reported by WHO. The model, developed by WHO in collaboration with the University of Bath, United Kingdom, uses satellite-derived data combined with air transport models and ground station monitors from more than 3000 locations worldwide.

Tools for health impact assessment of air quality: the AirQ+ software

Estimating how many diseases or deaths are caused by air pollution in a given population is the starting point to develop or adjust policies and measures that protect people's health. AirQ+ calculates the magnitude of several health effects associated to exposure to the most significant air pollutants.

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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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