What do air quality objectives mean for my health?

UK air quality objectives and European Union limit values are based on information regarding the health effects of air pollution. This health information has been provided by the World Heath Organisation and also by the UK expert committees.

The health based information was combined with other assessments including technical feasibility and cost benefit analysis. The air quality objectives set out acceptable pollution concentrations, and give dates for when these should be attained.

There seems to be little evidence for thresholds below which there are no adverse effects from air pollution in the population. It is not a simple case that locations that fail air quality objectives and limit values are dangerous for health, and locations that meet them are safe. Instead it appears that the more of a pollutant you are exposed to the greater your risk of a health problem. Longer term policy is starting to reflect with this with a move away from absolute limits towards reducing exposure for the whole population.

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