520,000 premature deaths resulted from air pollution exposure in Europe in 2014, according to a new report on Air quality in Europe published by the European Environment Agency (EEA). This estimate includes 428,000 premature deaths attributed to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure, 78,000 premature deaths attributed to nitrogen dioxide or NO2, exposure and 14,400 premature deaths attributed to ozone or O3 exposure.
The report published in October 2017 is the most recent in a series of regular assessments of Europe’s air pollutant emissions, concentrations and their associated impacts on health and the environment from the EEA. This most recent report provides data on air pollutant emissions and concentrations and urban population exposure to air pollution for 2015, but the assessments on health impacts of air quality are for the year 2014.
Regarding PM 2.5, 7 % of the urban population in Europe was exposed to levels above the EU limit value, and approximately 82 % was exposed to concentrations exceeding the stricter WHO AQG value 2015.
The highest numbers of premature deaths on a per capita basis from PM 2.5 were in the central and eastern European countries, where the highest pollutant concentrations were also observed. These were in Bulgaria, Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Poland and Hungary. The lowest relative impacts were found in those countries at the northern and north-western edges of Europe in Iceland, Norway, Ireland, Sweden and Finland.
The largest health impacts attributable to NO2 exposure on a per capita basis were in Italy, the United Kingdom, Serbia, Belgium and Germany. Regarding O3, the countries with the largest health impacts were Italy, Germany, France, Spain and Poland, and the countries with the highest per capita rates were Greece, Italy, Malta, Slovenia and Croatia.
A summary of emissions from agriculture and how they impact on air quality and climate change is also included in the 2017 report.
Air quality in Europe – 2017 Report
Published 11 Oct 2017 EEA Report No 13/2017