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Air quality and health policy update - March 2010

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

The European Commission is pursuing infringement procedures against 5 Member States for failure to comply with the Air Quality Standards on PM10. Final written warnings have been sent to Cyprus, Portugal and Spain, while Slovenia and Sweden have been referred to the European Court of Justice.

HEAL and HEAL members’ action on air quality and health.

- During the Parma WHO 5th ministerial conference on environment and health HEAL coordinated a symposium on behalf of the European Respiratory Society, ERS - 10 March, 10.45-12.15. The title of the symposium was Environmental influences on children’s respiratory health.

The purpose of this workshop was to focus on the key environmental factors that influence children’s respiratory health (environmental factors in outdoor and indoor air: traffic, industrial installations, pollen and other allergens, environmental tobacco smoke etc) and highlight linkages to policy such as the Parma Ministerial Declaration, CEHAPE and the EU Action Plan on Environment and Health. The medical and scientific evidence was presented and also the necessary policy recommendations and responses required to ensure an adequate protection of children’s health. The workshop aimed to focus on the particular situation of children’s lung health in Europe, where morbidity from respiratory conditions is expected to increase if adequate policy responses are not taken.

The meeting was attended by 50 participants, including WHO representatives and decision-makers from national environment or health ministries. It was very successful in giving visibility to the ERS work and activities on air quality. During the meeting, WHO and other stakeholders underlined the importance of ERS bringing its expertise and voice to the political discussions on air quality, and the need to increase this input into policy discussions.

The symposium was part of the wider campaign – The European Launch of the Year of the Lung 2010 launched in Marseille on February 1st by ERS. 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.

- Know You Air For Health website translated into French and Czech. The website, coordinated by HEAL and member organisation, European Federation of Allergy and Airway Diseases Patients Association (EFA). The website provides citizens with information on national and local air pollution in Europe. It also offers useful links and references on how to find information about action aimed at improving air quality at the national level and in your local area. The text is particularly intended to meet the needs of those considered susceptible to air pollution. The new translations will be live on Friday 26th .

More information and articles on air quality and health:

- Greenhouse gas reductions will benefit human health Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will have major direct health benefits, especially in low-income countries.

- Czech minister quits over controversial power plant

- Chronic health conditions increasing in children, study finds

- Billion dollar benefits from new air standards New US air quality standards are estimated to yield health benefits of up to 100 billion dollars.

- Dutch question Euro V benefits in urban areas

- What’s the best School run for the environment?

- Air pollution’s impact on health: a European and N. American analysis

- Pollution: the biggest killer on Britain’s roads

Written on 23 March 2010.



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