Key points

  • A large proportion of the European population lives in areas with unhealthy outdoor air quality, and is thus unable to avoid exposure to the harmful effects of pollution.
  • The health effects of outdoor air pollution are the result of a mixture of gaseous and particulate pollutants, acting independently and in concert.
  • The acute and chronic effects of outdoor air pollution are distinct from each other and must be studied independently.
  • Daily variations in outdoor air pollution cause daily variations in mortality and respiratory symptoms.
  • In the long term, outdoor air pollution can reduce life expectancy, affect lung development, increase asthma incidence and lead to other chronic respiratory diseases.

See the entire Outdoor environment Chapter