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14 December 2018
Asthma , COPD
- Air Quality

On November 27, we represented patients with allergy and airways diseases in roundtable at the launch of the report “Health impacts and the health costs of diesel emissions in the EU”, Paying to Breathe, commissioned by the European

Public Health Alliance (EPHA). EFA’s Susanna Palkonen highlighted the specific vulnerability of the people we represent when it comes to air we breathe, but also the right for correct and up-to-date information on pollution.

EFA welcomed the study, which focused specifically on Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Spain. Air pollution is a major environmental contributor to public health problems. According to WHO estimates, ambient air pollution causes more than 4 million premature deaths annually. The main pollutants are particulate matter (PM) and NOx. Ambient PM is ranked at the 6 th risk factor for total deaths globally, through cancer, lower- and chronic respiratory diseases and cardiovascular diseases. The point about diesel is that the policy and regulatory environment has been favourable to diesel since last 10+ years while for our lungs it is detrimental; the small particles go deep directly into our lungs and cause damage and irritation, including asthma and COPD or worsening of their symptoms.

The study timely assesses the current social costs of road vehicle diesel emissions in the EU28. After the Dieselgate scandal, in which leading European corporations from the car industry where caught cheating on the car emissions, there has been more public information on how diesel emissions heavily contribute to pollute the air we breathe. The report translates the pollution from diesel on health costs, and makes the case on the social benefits of phasing out diesels. It finds that an ambitious policy strategy for reducing air pollutant emissions can lead to annual cost savings of 9 to 12 billion Euro per year.

More information about this event, including the report, can be found here.