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EEA Report Reveals Alarming Toll of Fine Particle Pollution on EU Health

According to the EEA estimate, small particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution is responsible for about 250,000 deaths in the European Union alone in 2021.

The EEA report highlights the devastating consequences of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution, linking it to over 250,000 deaths in the European Union in 2021 alone. 

These particles from car exhausts and coal-fired power plants pose severe health risks, exacerbating bronchitis, asthma, and lung diseases.

Failure to Meet WHO Recommendations:

The report underscores that adhering to WHO-recommended concentrations for PM2.5 pollution could have prevented these deaths. 

The numbers reflect an increase from 2020, signaling heightened exposure to pollutants and a slight rise in European mortality, partly due to the impact of COVID-19.

Positive Trends but Lingering Health Risks:

While the long-term trend indicates a positive decline in premature deaths due to fine particle pollution between 2005 and 2021, the recent increase highlights persistent health risks. 

EEA Executive Director Leena Yla-Mononen acknowledges significant progress but emphasizes the ongoing health impacts caused by air pollution.

Additional Impact from Nitrogen Dioxide and Ozone Exposure:

The report also notes an increase in premature deaths linked to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) exposure, reaching 52,000 in 2021. 

Conversely, deaths attributed to ozone (O3) exposure decreased slightly to 22,000 compared to 2020 despite being produced mainly by road traffic and industrial activities.

The EEA stresses the overwhelming impact of air pollution on European health, positioning it as the most significant environmental threat. 

The agency refrains from summing up the figures to avoid double counting but emphasizes the pervasive danger posed by air pollution across the region.

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