New report shows many European still exposed to high level of air pollutants

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Almost a third of Europe’s city dwellers are exposed to excessive concentrations of airborne particulate matter (PM), according to a new report.
Compiled by the European Environment Agency (EEA), the report shows that despite progress made by the EU in tackling pollution, many parts of Europe have persistent problems with ground level ozone and PM, one of the most dangerous pollutants to human health as it can penetrate sensitive parts of the respiratory system.

The report estimates that in 2010, 21 % of the European urban population was exposed to concentrations of PM higher than the daily EU limit value, which was designed to safeguard health.

17% of the urban population were exposed to ozone concentrations above the lower EU target value. In 2009, 22% of arable land in Europe was exposed to damaging concentrations of ozone, leading to agricultural losses.

EEA Executive Director, Professor Jacqueline McGlade, said: “European Union policy has reduced emissions of many pollutants over the last decade, but we can go further. In many countries, air pollutant concentrations are still above the legal and recommended limits that are set to protect the health of European citizens. In fact, air pollution reduces human life expectancy by around two years in the most polluted cities and regions.”

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