The three paradoxes of air quality

Air pollution is a silent killer, especially the smallest dust particles which may take years and years of chronic exposure to show their deadly effects on human health. But this is just one of the three paradoxes of air quality.

Article by: Myriam Tryjefaczka – Camfil Farr Corporate Sustainability Manager

This article was  first published by Euractiv – November 2011

Indoor air quality and pollution

The Clean Air for Europe programme was a fundamental step for evaluating the effects of ambient air pollution and developing a European policy to deal with it. It revealed that 310,000 Europeans were dying prematurely from the negative health effects of air pollution.

On average, air pollution reduces life expectancy by nine months and could cost the European community €80 billion per year. These figures could be even higher today since new Eastern European countries, known to have serious air quality problems, have joined the EU.

The report “Air Quality in Europe 2011“, published on 9 November 2011, shows that levels of SOX, NOX heavy metals and coarse particles have decreased, but PM 10 concentrations (particle matter above 10 micrometers in diameter) and ozone levels remain alarming.

As a result, 20% of the EU urban population was living in areas where the 24-hour limit value for PM 10 concentrations was exceeded in 2009. However, 80-90% of the EU urban population was also exposed to levels of PM 10 that exceeded the more stringent air quality guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO). The situation does not seem to be improving, reports the European Environmental Agency.

This situation points to three paradoxes about air quality.

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Hot off the press! Airmail from Camfil Farr

We have published the latest issue of Airmail, our company magazine. This month, it focusses on the Campaign for Clean Air in London and also includes the following features:

  • Clean air enters the European political arena
  • Mastering the ABCs of AMC
  • Major biotech order in Australia
  • Italy’s first hospital energy certification
  • New for nuclear: coating and catalogue

If you are interested in reading more, download it here:

We are highlighting the issues surrounding indoor air quality, air pollution and its effect on human health.  Please have a look around, subscribe to our feed or subscribe to the IAQ blog by email and comment on any posts that you find interesting!  We would love to hear your thoughts.

Air Pollution: Are the public being protected at work from airborne toxic particles?

A review of the House of Commons Report from the Environmental Audit Committee by Peter Dyment, Energy Consultant Camfil Farr

Camfil Clean Air Solutions

The previous report in March 2010 clearly identified PM2.5 as being the major risk to public health. It shows they are 3 times more damaging to health than passive smoking and cause 5 times more loss of life than traffic accidents.  It is a concern that this latest report, released on 14th November 2011 has said that:

the Government is still failing to get to grips with this issue of Air Pollution

PM2.5 are fine combustion particulates 2.5 microns and below in size. They are very toxic and because they are so small they can be inhaled and make deep lung penetration and migrate into the blood stream causing damage to lungs, hearts and even the brain.

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