Air pollution costing lives in EU, conference warns

Air pollution costing lives in EU, conference warns

Air pollution comes fourth only to smoking, malnourishment and high blood pressure in shaving years off people’s lives and is responsible for at least 400,000 premature deaths in the European Union every year, the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology Conference, which ended in Athens on Wednesday, heard. 

“One of the latest findings is that air pollution is also linked to neurological disease, dementia and other mental disorders,” conference co-president Klea Katsouyanni, a professor of public health at Imperial College London, told some 1,600 delegates.

The question, she said, is what the EU is planning to do about meeting the World Health Organization’s latest recommendations on air quality. The question was put to Thomas Henrichs, the Commission’s deputy director-general for environment, who said that steps are being considered to comply with stricter WHO standards.

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