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Air Pollution

Ambient air quality in Europe has improved in several respects during the last decades of the 20th century, however, current levels of air pollution still affect public health. Air pollution can cause respiratory diseases and reduce life expectancy.

See also Chemical substances.

Three air pollutants reviewed by the WHO

Nitrogen Dioxide

In Europe, Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) pollutes the air mainly as a result of road traffic and energy production. Apart from giving rise to acid rain and other air pollutants, current levels of NO2 may affect our health. How and to what extent? More...

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Ozone

In the high layers of the atmosphere, Ozone acts as a protective sunscreen that shields us from the high levels of UV radiation coming from the sun. At ground-level, however, it can be harmful to plants, animals, and humans. How are we exposed to ozone and how harmful can it be? More...

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Particulate Matter

Air can be contaminated by particles such as dust, pollen, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets. Many of them can harm our health, especially very small particles that can enter deep into the lungs. What is known about the different health effects of particles? More...

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Other related assessments:

Indoor Air Quality

Much progress has been made in Europe in improving outdoor air quality and limit values have been set for several pollutants. However, indoor air quality also requires attention because this is where we spend most of our time.

Which indoor air pollutants raise concern? How can indoor air quality be determined? More...

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Respiratory Diseases

Asthma and allergies are increasing in many European countries. Can genetic and environmental factors affect a child's likelihood to develop such diseases? More...

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr