Air quality

Each year, 500,000 Europeans die prematurely from air pollution
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Air pollution has many severe effects on human health and the environment. Each year millions suffer from poor health as a result of bad air quality, both indoors and outdoors. Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable.

News on our policy work

Air pollution costs European economies US $1.6. trillion a year in diseases and deaths
WHO Europe and OECD have released a report on the economic cost of the health impacts of air pollution in Europe. US$ 1.6 trillion is the economic cost of the approximate 600,000 premature deaths and of the diseases caused by air pollution in the WHO European Region in 2010. Read more…

Breath of fresh air: World Health Organization Assembly tackles air pollution
On 22 May the World Health Assembly is scheduled to discuss the first-ever WHO resolution on air pollution and health, a resolution welcomed by HEAL and its members. Read more...

Achieving better air quality with the NEC
The European Parliament’s Environment and Public Health Committee (ENVI) has started to discuss their position on further air pollutant reductions under the NEC Directive. HEAL together with health and environmental groups urged MEPs to increase the ambition of the draft law. Read more…

HEAL submits to Polish government health and air quality consultations
HEAL is asking the Polish government to consider the environmental causes of disease in its Public Health Bill and to include measurable goals in the National Air Protection Programme. Read more…

Read more here

Take action!

- petition to Chancellor Merkel to maintain Germany’s reputation as a climate leader


- New briefing to highlight the heavy toll on health resulting from exposure to poor air quality in Turkey (available in English and Turkish)

- Three briefings released by HEAL highlight the heavy toll on health resulting exposure to poor air quality in Bulgaria, Serbia, and Montenegro.

- Air pollution sources and health problems (PL)

- Brochure on domestic coal combustion in Poland

- Joint position paper on CO2 standards for power plants (EPS)

- Know your air for health website: English - German - Italian

- HEAL and EU ESCAPE patient information leaflets: Air quality and heart and lung health


May 2015

- 18-26, Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Assembly

- 22: Earth Day

June 2015

- 3- 5, Brussels, Belgium: EU Green Week

- 1 – 11, Bonn, Germany: UNFCCC negotiations

- 3- 5, Brussels, Belgium: EU Green Week

- 5: World Environment Day

- 15, Brussels, Belgium: EU Environment Council

- 18 - 19, Paris, France: Conference on climate change and health

The Unpaid Health Bill: How coal power plants make us sick presents the first-ever economic assessment of the health costs associated with air pollution from coal power plants in Europe as well as testimonies from leading health advocates, medical experts and policy makers on why they are concerned about coal.

The report develops recommendations for policy-makers and the health community on how to address the unpaid health bill and ensure that it is taken into account in future energy decisions.

For a brief summary of the report see HEAL’s coal and health postcard

More information here

Learn more about HEAL’s views and policy work on Air quality

About HEAL

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

Contact us

Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)
28 Boulevard Charlemagne
B1000 Brussels, Belgium
Phone: +32 2 234 3640
Fax: +32 2 234 3649
Press: Diana Smith

Direct telephone numbers: HEAL team page.

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