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Air pollution among the major environmental threats to humans: WHO

When the World Health Organization released new air quality guidelines on Wednesday for the first time since its last global update in 2005, it said air pollution was one of the greatest environmental threats to human health, along with climate change. rice field.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the new Air Quality Guidelines (AQG) are aimed at saving millions of lives from air pollution.

“The new World Health Organization’s Global Air Quality Guidelines provide clear evidence of the damage that air pollution can do to human health at even lower concentrations than previously understood,” the statement said.

The guidelines recommend new air quality levels to protect the health of the population by lowering the levels of major air pollutants. Some of them also contribute to climate change.

AQG is an annual average concentration guideline for particulate matter and other pollutants.

“Since the last global update of WHO in 2005, there has been a significant increase in evidence of how air pollution affects various aspects of health, so a systematic review of accumulated evidence. After that, WHO lowered almost all AQG levels and warned that exceeding the new air quality guideline levels would carry significant health risks, “WHO said.

WHO’s new guidelines set air quality levels for six pollutants: particulate matter (PM) 2.5 and PM 10, ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and carbon monoxide (CO). Recommended.

The 2021 guidelines stipulate that PM10 should not exceed an average of 15 µg / m3 per year (micrograms per cubic meter of air) or an average of 45 µg / m3 for 24 hours. According to the 2005 guidelines, the limit was an average of 20 µg / m3 per year for PM10 or an average of 50 µg / m3 for 24 hours.

They recommend that PM2.5 do not exceed an average of 5 µg / m3 per year, or an average of 15 µg / m3 for 24 hours. According to the 2005 guidelines, the limit was an average of 10 µg / m3 per year or a 24-hour average of 25 µg / m3 for PM2.5.

According to the 2005 guidelines, the AQG level of another pollutant, nitrogen dioxide, averaged 40 µg / m3 per year, but is now being changed by WHO to 10 µg / m3.

“Health risks associated with particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5, respectively) smaller than 10 and 2.5 microns (µm) in diameter are particularly relevant to public health. Both PM2.5 and PM10 are deep in the lungs. Although it can penetrate, PM2.5 can also enter the bloodstream, with predominantly cardiovascular and respiratory effects, as well as other organs.

“PM is primarily produced by fuel combustion in a variety of areas, including transportation, energy, homes, industry and agriculture,” says WHO.

He emphasized that adhering to these guidelines can save millions of lives.

“Every year, exposure to air pollution is estimated to cause 7 million premature deaths and the loss of healthy life expectancy for millions. In children, this is lung growth and dysfunction, respiratory infections. , May include exacerbation of asthma.

“In adults, ischemic heart disease and stroke are the most common causes of premature death due to outdoor air pollution, and there is evidence of other effects such as diabetes and neurodegenerative conditions,” he added. ..

According to WHO, this equates the burden of illness due to air pollution with other major global health risks such as unhealthy diet and smoking.

“Air pollution, along with climate change, is one of the greatest environmental threats to human health. Improving air quality can strengthen climate change mitigation efforts while reducing emissions. Can improve the quality of the air. “

The World Health Organization added that by striving to achieve these guideline levels, countries will protect their health and at the same time mitigate global climate change.

In 2013, outdoor air pollution and particulate matter were classified as carcinogenic by the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

The guidelines also include specific types of particulate matter (eg, black carbon / elemental carbon, ultrafine particles, sandstorms and particles from sandstorms) for which quantitative evidence for setting air quality guideline levels is currently inadequate. Emphasizes good management practices. Said the health group.

“Air pollution is a health threat in all countries, but it has the greatest impact on people in low- and middle-income countries,” said WHO Secretary-General Tedros Adanom Gebreyes.

“WHO’s new Air Quality Guidelines are evidence-based, practical tools for improving the quality of air that all life depends on. I fought to protect all nations and our environment. We urge all nations to use them to reduce suffering and save lives, “he said.

The goal of the guideline is to achieve the recommended air quality levels for all countries, WHO said.

Recognizing that this can be a daunting task for many countries and regions suffering from high levels of air pollution, health agencies promote gradual improvements in air quality, thereby meaning gradual but gradual for the population. Proposed interim goals to promote certain health benefits.

According to a rapid scenario analysis conducted by WHO, “If the current air pollution level drops to the level suggested in the updated guidelines, nearly 80% of PM 2.5-related deaths can be avoided.”

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Air pollution among the major environmental threats to humans: WHO

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