18 February 2019
Other Diseases
- Air Quality, - Chemicals, - Healthcare, - Medicines

EFA was invited to bring the perspective of allergy and airways diseases patients to a debate on environment and human health at the 3rd Plenary of the European Health Parliament, an advocacy forum co-driven by the European Patients Forum. Alongside EFA Director Susanna Palkonen, representatives from the European Commission and NGOs joined the podium.

The debate opened with the recognition of the increased public opinion awareness on air pollution and health issues. However, according to the European Commission Directorate-General for Environment representative, current compliance gaps of Member States on certain pollutants is showing the institutions that still more action is necessary.

Lack of compliance is harming health

Currently, 17 Member States have been identified to exceed the limits on nitrogen oxide (NOx) and 12 countries are facing infringement actions. On particulate matter 10 (PM10), 15 member states have been identified exceeding the limits, with the same amount of countries facing infringement actions.

From a more technical perspective on transport and related emissions, decisions-makers have received data indicating that transport causes human health damages accounting for 70 billion Euro per year. Changes in EU regulation on diesel cars and recognizing NOx as indicator in periodical technical inspections would bring improvements to this health toll.

Allergy and airways diseases patients are radars for air quality

EFA President Susanna Palkonen brought the patients’ perspective into the debate. Due to their airways vulnerability, asthma and allergy patients are the radars when it comes to air quality, they immediately react to them. It is therefore needed to prioritise measures that have a direct effect on people’s health, such as the adoption of an air quality strategy, including also the air we breathe indoors. 

As it was missing in the debate, Susanna also highlighted the negative impact chemicals into the air have on people living with allergies and asthma, and called for EU action on this issue.

For more information about EFA’s work on air quality, visit our website.

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The EFA Team