Air quality and its impact on health: focus on particulate matter
Morawska, Lidia (2007) Air quality and its impact on health: focus on particulate matter. Environmental Health, 7(3), pp. 52-57.
Inadequate air quality and the inhalation of airborne pollutants pose many risks to human health and wellbeing, and are listed among the top environmental risks worldwide. The importance of outdoor air quality was recognised in the 1950s and indoor air quality emerged as an issue some time later and was soon recognised as having an equal, if not greater importance than outdoor air quality. Identification of ambient air pollution as a health hazard was followed by steps, undertaken by a broad range of national and international professional and government organisations, aimed at reduction or elimination of the hazard. However, the process of achieving better air quality is still in progress. The last 10 years or so have seen an unprecedented increase in the interest in, and attention to, airborne particles, with a special focus on their finer size fractions, including ultrafine (< 0.1 m) and their subset, nano particles (< 0.05 m). This paper discusses the current status of scientific knowledge on the links between air quality and health, with a particular focus on airborne particulate matter, and the directions taken by national and international bodies to improve air quality.
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