Air quality

Outdoor air quality: stepping up EU policy to meet science

In October 2022, the European Commission proposal for a revised EU Ambient Air Quality Directives not aligning the pollution levels with the latest science (the 2021 Ambient Air Quality Guidelines of the WHO) was an alert that we must push up the EU’s ambition to tackle air pollution.  Air pollution kills more than 300,000 people every year in Europe, a burden carried by many asthma and COPD patients.

We coordinated with European level public health civil society organisations to ensure alignment and expertise in the negotiations of the Directive. Throughout the year, EFA engaged in three official consultations and workshops, voicing the needs of allergy and airways diseases patients. We presented the patients’ needs and expectations to the EU Commissioner for Environment, Virginijus Sinkevičius, and to the cabinet of the Health and Food Safety Commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, while continued representing active participation in expert policy groups such as the Zero Pollution Stakeholder Platform (ZPSP).


From left to right: Markus Kujawa (European Doctors, CMPE), Christian Horemans (Association Internationale de la Mutualité, AIM), Zorana Andersen (European Respiratory Society, ERS), Virginijus Sinkevicius, Commissioner for Environment, Anne Stauffer (Health and Environment Alliance, HEAL), Isabel Proaño (European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patient’s Associations, EFA), Sophie Perroud (HEAL) and Matteo Barisione (European Public Health Alliance, EPHA).

Indoor air quality: paving the way to healthier indoor environments

Throughout 2022, we continued highlighting the effects of indoor air pollution. Crucially, we informed the European Parliament on the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), with recommendations to the eight MEPs in the Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE) involved in the discussions to better legislate IAQ. We also issued a joint statement with the Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Associations (REHVA) to include a clear definition of ventilation that relates to IAQ and to include IAQ indicators in the future Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs).

Joint EFA/REHVA recommendation on the introduction of mandatory requirements for indoor environmental quality (IEQ) has been included in the European Parliament’s ITRE Committee report.


Susanna Palkonen, EFA’s Director discussed at the European Health Forum Gastein the impact of indoor air quality (IAQ) on health and the need to address indoor pollution targeting its sources.

EFA REHVA joint statement

EFA was granted the participation in the EU-funded project SynAir-G, part of a wider consortium of projects exploring the link of indoor pollution on human health (see page).

IDEAL Cluster meeting SYNAIRG


Climate change: adaptation measures will be key to minimise health impacts

LOGO EU Climate and Health Observatory

Climate change is not only a global environmental threat, but also entails significant risks for health, as heatwaves, floods, wildfires, sandstorms and pollen counts increase the disease burden in certain vulnerable groups, such as allergy and airways disease patients.

In 2022, EFA followed closely the implementation of the 2021 EU strategy on Adaption to Climate Change and brought the patient perspective to EU and WHO climate change considerations, urging that mitigation measures must be coupled with effective adaptation policies.EFA celebrated the first anniversary of the European Climate and Health Observatory, especially the  2021-2022 workplan on studying how heat stress might impact pollen.

Welcome Observatory

We applauded its first long-term strategy for 2030, which pledged to advance monitoring of key climate-related health risks and improve adaptation