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Air quality policy update - February 2010

Air Quality and health Policy developments - An overview of policy developments in the EU. For more information please contact Anne Stauffer

The EU Commission has rejected 11 out of 12 requests by Italy to have more time to comply with air quality targets for Particulate Matter PM10. Only the region of Campania is allowed a time extension. The firm stance of the EU Commission is good news for all those suffering from high air pollution levels.

Seven new substances were recently added to the Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) to the UNECE Convention on Long-range transboundary Air Pollution. The Protocol on POPs was signed in 1998 and entered into force in 2003 to curtail and eliminate POPs. Three of the substances which now fall under the Protocol are to be phased out in the 29 countries which have signed the Protocol. However, 20 countries need to ratify the changes for them to enter into force.

The US Environmental Protection Agency EPA has introduced a new national one-hour Air Quality Standard for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2). The new standard is designed to prevent short-term exposures in high risk NO2 zones like urban communities and areas near roadways, to protect from NO2 exposures which are linked to respiratory illnesses. Compared to the EU, the new one-hour standard is stricter. The deadline for monitoring the new standard is 2013.

HEAL and HEAL members’ action on air quality and health

- HEAL featured in the Parliament Magazine

A breath of fresh air? Strong progress in the treatment and management of allergic conditions should not cause us to overlook possibilities for prevention. Read the full article

European Launch of the Year of the Lung 2010 held in Marseille on February 1st by HEAL member, the European Respiratory Society. Hundreds of millions of people suffer every day from lung diseases, and they cause almost 20% of all deaths in the world. Increased awareness about lung diseases is vital, because they are killing more and more people every year and account for a socioeconomic burden of €102 billion due to health care costs and lost working days in Europe alone. The ‘Big Five’ lung disorders are lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, tuberculosis (TB) and asthma. Read the press release here. Join the Year of the Lung initiative

More information and articles on air quality and health:

Report: "Coal’s Assault on Human Health"

Report: Toxic effects of brake wear particles on epithelial lung cells in vitro

The dirty dozen: The most heavily polluting European power plant emits as much sulphur as ten European countries combined

Book: BIOLOGIE AM BAU by Ralph Baden. The book acts as a guide to ecological building. It is available in German.

Workshop on Addressing Black Carbon and Ozone as Short-Lived Climate Forcers hosted by U.S. EPA in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. March 3-4, 2010



Written on 8 February 2010.

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Resources on this issue:

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Find your local respiratory health forecasts

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Contact person at HEAL:

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Damp and Mould Directory and Brochure

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Science Update - A service by the European Lung Foundation

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