EU: Air pollution could reduce life by almost two years

March 2, 2011
A massive traffic jam on Elisabeth bridge on Danube River in Budapest, 2003. An EU-funded study said that curbing air pollution in major European cities could save 19,000 lives per year, add almost two years to local life expectancy and save 31.5 billion euros (43.4 billion dollars) in health costs and work absenteeism.

Curbing air pollution in major European cities could save 19,000 lives per year, add almost two years to local life expectancy and save 31.5 billion euros (43.4 billion dollars) in health costs and work absenteeism, an EU-funded study said on Wednesday.

The nearly three-year probe, called Aphekom, looked at 25 cities in 12 (EU) countries, encompassing nearly 39 million inhabitants.

Only Stockholm was below the threshold of fine particulate pollution of 10 micrograms per cubic metre recommended by the UN's World Health Organisation (WHO), it found.

At the other end of the scale, Bucharest notched up 38.2 micrograms, Budapest 33.7 micrograms and Barcelona 27 micrograms per cubic metre.

Among other cities, pollution in Rome was 21.4 micrograms per cubic metre, while in Paris and London it was 16.4 and 13.1 micrograms per cubic metre respectively.

Fine particulates are tiny airborne grains that can be drawn deep into the lungs, with the potential to cause respiratory and .

The pollution comes from traffic exhausts, which means that it is particularly pronounced near major roads.

In a sub-set of 10 cities studied by Aphekom, scientists estimated that between 15 and 30 percent of cases of childhood asthma could attributed to living close to busy roads.

Explore further: Record air pollution above the Arctic

Related Stories

Record air pollution above the Arctic

May 11, 2006

Last week Scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research observed the highest air pollution on record since measurements began in Ny-Ålesund on Svalbard. Monitoring instruments displayed significantly ...

Diesel exhaust fumes affect people with asthma, study finds

December 6, 2007

Diesel exhaust fumes on polluted streets have a measurable effect on people with asthma, according to the first study looking at exhausts and asthma in a real-life setting, published on 6 December in the New England Journal ...

Study: Cleaner air adds 5 months to US life span

January 21, 2009

A new study by researchers at Brigham Young University and Harvard School of Public Health shows that average life expectancy in 51 U.S. cities increased nearly three years over recent decades, and approximately five months ...

Indoor air pollution increases asthma symptoms

February 19, 2009

A study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University found an association between increasing levels of indoor particulate matter pollution and the severity of asthma symptoms among children. The study, which followed a ...

Recommended for you

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

Quantum Theory May Explain Wishful Thinking

April 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Humans don’t always make the most rational decisions. As studies have shown, even when logic and reasoning point in one direction, sometimes we chose the opposite route, motivated by personal bias or simply ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.