EU study supports tighter PM2.5 standards

Strengthening controls on fine particulate (PM2.5) pollution would raise life expectancy in cities

An EU-funded study has concluded that strengthening controls on fine particulate (PM2.5) pollution would raise life expectancy in cities and save billions of euros in health costs.1

Released on 2 March, the report by the pan-European Aphekom project assessed the benefits of meeting the World Health Organization’s guideline standard of ten micrograms per cubic metre in 25 European cities. Levels can reach almost four times that amount in Bucharest, although London and Dublin almost meet it.

The authors conclude 19,000 deaths a year in the cities studied could be avoided by meeting the standard, saving €31.5bn in health costs.

The 2008 EU ambient air quality directive sets a standard of 25ug/m3 to be met by 2015, and of 20ug/m3 by 2020. The report strengthens the case for setting a tighter limit for 2020.

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