Impacts of particulates on health assessed

EU could avoid 12,000 premature deaths per year by meeting 2010 limits set in 1999 law

An EU-funded research programme has released the first results of what researchers claim is the most thorough study of the impacts on health of fine particulate pollution. Coordinated by the World health organisation's European environment unit and the EU's joint research centre, the Apheis project measures pollution and its effects on 32m people in 26 EU cities.

In a new report Apheis says that meeting an EU legislative target to cut ambient concentrations of particles under ten microns in diameter (PM10) to 20 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3) by 2010 would prevent almost 12,000 premature deaths annually in the cities. This equates to 43 per 100,000 of population. Current average PM10 concentrations range from 14 to 73 ug/m3 in the study cities.

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