Cutting PM pollution saves lives and money

Further reductions in pollutant emissions to levels that achieve the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) annual air quality guideline for fine particles (PM2.5) of 10 micrograms/cubic metre in 25 large European cities could add up to 22 months of life expectancy for persons 30 years of age and older, according to the Aphekom research programme. Moreover, the monetary health benefits from complying with the WHO guideline would amount to some 31.5 billion euro annually, including savings on health expenditures, absenteeism and intangible costs such as well-being, life expectancy and quality of life.

Current EU legislation sets a limit value for PM2.5 of 25 µg/m3 to be met by January 2015, and an indicative limit value of 20 µg/m3 from January 2020, subject to a review in 2013. The Aphekom findings will strengthen the case for the 2020 limit to be tightened.

Source: Aphekom press release, 2 March 2011.

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