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What are the guidelines drafted by the World Health Organisation?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has drafted guidelines for certain pollutants with the aim to reduce the health effect as much as possible. These guidelines are meant to inform policy makers across the globe and to reduce or prevent the risks of air pollution in an effective manner. The guidelines are established afer evaluation of scientific studies and are based on expert opinions. The guidelines for particulate matter are the following:

 

Pollutant

 

Guideline WHO

PM2.5

Annual mean

10 µg/m³.

 

Daily mean

25 µg/m³ (no more than 3 exceedances per year).

PM10

Annual mean

20 µg/m³.

 

Daily mean

50 µg/m³ (no more than 3 exceedances per year).

Until today, the scientific world has not been able to establish a value beneath which no health effects prevail. The guidelines shown above can thus not guarantee absolute protection of health. The WHO guidelines are meant to be used all over the world to support actions (in various contexts) for amelioration of air quality.

The norms for particulate matter used by countries are most often a consideration of three elements: protection of public health, the accompagnying risk analysis, and the political context. The norms are dependent of the used strategy to reach a balance between health risks, technical feasability, economical considerations and even more political and social aspects, which in turn are dependent on the level of development and the options of a country, and the available expertise on air quality.

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