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The European Commission launched in May-July a process to gather information on the impact and added value of the EU Ambient Air Quality Directives from stakeholders. It is what has been fancily called a “Fitness Check”. As patients greatly affected by air pollution, whether indoors or outdoors, industrial or natural like pollen, we participated in this consultative process providing the allergy, asthma and COPD patients’ perspective.

In a nutshell, we believe that the existing Ambient Air Quality Directives are not fully fit to protect citizens’ health and the environment from the harms of air pollution in the EU. As an example, the EU air quality legislation does not meet the by meeting WHO Air Quality Guidelines standards.

Air pollution contributes to respiratory diseases, breathing difficulties, reduces lung function, and aggravates symptoms of patients affected by these diseases and that patients living with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer need more medication, visit the doctors, emergency rooms and hospitals more often, reducing productivity and leading to work and school absenteeism.

With all these factors and harm, in our response we encourage the European Commission to review the AAQDs to limit health impacts on EU citizens. We know this is an environmental legislation, but it should be thought from its creation to protect people’s health, especially those with allergy, asthma and COPD, by addressing all sources of pollution. “All sources” includes establishing at least compulsory real-time pollen monitoring in the EU and.

Given our strong common effort with other associations representing similar interests and the public’s interest in improving air quality, we hope the Commission will decide to review the Directives.

Next to the public consultation, we also contributed to an Evidence Gathering Questionnaire for the Fitness Check of the Ambient Air Quality Directives, to which only a selected group of active associations in the field of air quality were invited to contribute to. The Commission questionnaire aimed at collecting evidence-based information for the evaluation of the AAQDs. We prepared the response in consultation with Members, highlighting the need for coordinated European action on air quality, including targeted legislation on indoor air quality and organic volatile compounds (OVCs) such as pollen.

Tags: Category: News
Country: EU
Disease area: Asthma,Allergy,COPD,Other diseases
Theme: Healthcare, Air quality