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WHO: New limits on particle pollution will save billions

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  • Todd Edelman
    Particle pollution limits will save billions Environment Daily 1861, 18/04/05 European countries will gain very large health and associated financial
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 18, 2005
      Particle pollution limits "will save billions"

      Environment Daily 1861, 18/04/05

      European countries will gain very large health and
      associated financial benefits by controlling fine
      particle air pollution in line with limits set in a
      1999 EU directive, the World Health Organisation (WHO)
      said on 14 April.

      According to the UN body, particle pollution -
      especially the finest 2.5 micron fraction - reduces
      life expectancy across the EU by an average of 8.6
      months. Implementing the EU limit on particles up to
      10 microns (PM10) that entered full effect in January
      will save 2.3 months of life, it calculates.

      "This is the equivalent of preventing 80,000 premature
      deaths and saving over 1m years of life in the EU",
      Who said. It put the financial benefits of decreased
      mortality at beweeen €58bn and €161bn per year,
      plus €29bn for reduced diseases (sorry about bad
      formatting, see sources below for correct figures)

      The agency's intervention comes amid increasing signs
      that some EU countries are struggling to comply with
      the directive. In Germany, PM10 several cities are
      already in breach of obligations, fuelling a furious
      political debate (ED 01/04/05).

      Appropriately, in these circumstances, Who launched
      its findings in Berlin. In Germany, it said,
      implementing the EU limit will save 2.7 months of life
      for the German population, preventing 17,000 premature
      deaths (with financial benefits of EURO 13-34bn) and
      over 240,000 years of life (saving EURO 6bn through
      lower disease costs).

      The agency is to repeat this first national
      "elaboration" of the EU-wide health and cost estimates
      for other countries in due course, a spokesperson told
      Environment Daily. Figures for Italy should be
      published in May, she said.

      This is not the first time Who has costed the impacts
      of fine particle pollution, or even of the EU
      directive. In 2002 it estimated that implementing the
      2005 limit would prevent nine premature deaths per
      100,000 population annually (ED 04/11/02). Last year
      it attributed up to 6.4% of all child deaths in Europe
      to fine particle pollution (ED 21/06/04).

      Who Europe office

      press release:

      Fact sheet:

      Particle Free Network

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