Air quality guidelines for Europe
WHO Regional Publications, European Series, No. 91
2000, x + 273 pages
ISBN 92 890 1358 3
This publication is only available online.
Air quality quidelines for Europe - CD ROM
ISBN 92 890 1082 7
In developing countries: CHF 64.40
Order no. 1990014
The first edition of the WHO Air quality guidelines for Europe was published in 1987. Since then new data have emerged and new developments in risk assessment methodology have taken place, necessitating the updating and revision of the existing guidelines. The Bilthoven Division of the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health undertook this process in close cooperation with the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) and the European Commission.
It is the aim of these guidelines to provide a basis for protecting public health from adverse effects of air pollutants and to eliminate or reduce exposure to those pollutants that are known or likely to be hazardous to human health or wellbeing. The guidelines are intended to provide background information and guidance to (inter)national and local authorities in making risk assessment and risk management decisions. In establishing pollutant levels below which exposure - for life or for a given period of time - does not constitute a significant public health risk, the guidelines provide a basis for setting standards or limit values for air pollutants.
It is a policy issue to decide which specific groups at risk should be protected by the standards and what degree of risk is considered to be acceptable. These decisions are influenced by differences in risk perception among the general population and the various stakeholders in the process, but also by differences in social situations in different countries, and by the way the risks associated with air pollution are compared with risks from other environmental exposures or human activities. Therefore, national standards may differ from country to country and may be above or below the respective WHO guideline value.
This publication includes an introduction on the nature of the guidelines and the methodology used to establish guideline values for a number of air pollutants. In addition, it describes the various aspects that need to be considered by national or local authorities when guidelines are transformed into legally binding standards. For the pollutants addressed, the sections on "Health risk evaluation" and "Guidelines" describe the most relevant considerations that have led to the recommended guideline values. For detailed information on exposure and on the potential health effects of the reviewed pollutants, the reader is referred to the Regional Office's web site, where the background documents on the individual air pollutants can be accessed.
The CD-ROM of Air quality guidelines for Europe introduces the nature of the guidelines and the methodology used to establish guideline values for a number of air pollutants. It describes the various aspects that need to be considered by national or local authorities when guidelines are transformed into legally binding standards, and includes all background information on exposure and on the potential health effects of pollutants. For the pollutants addressed, the sections on “Health risk evaluation” and “Guidelines” describe the most relevant considerations that have led to the recommended guideline values.