Particulate matter pollution caused approximately 6,500 premature deaths in Belgium in 2019. This is according to a new report from the European Environment Agency, on which Knack reported. Across the EU, there were 307,000 premature deaths, 11.3 percent less in one year.

In addition to the 6500 premature deaths in Belgium due to particulate matter with a diameter smaller than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5), the environmental agency estimates that 750 people died prematurely from nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and 270 people from ozone pollution (O3). Across the European Union, there are 307,000 (PM2.5), 40,400 (NO2) and 16,800 (O3) premature deaths respectively.

According to the study, more than half (58 percent) of those lives could theoretically have been saved if all 27 EU Member States had met the latest new World Health Organization air quality standards. In Belgium, this is 54 percent, or about 3,500 deaths that could have been avoided. Heart disease and stroke are the most common causes of premature death linked to air pollution, followed by lung disease and lung cancer.

More information is available via the EEA press release: https://www.eea.europa.eu/highlights/cleaner-air-could-have-saved

The EEA report is available via https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/health-risks-of-air-pollution/health-impacts-of-air-pollution.

About ELLIS

ELLIS is funded by the Belgian Federal Science Policy (BELSPO) through the BRAIN-be 2.0 (2018-2023) programme.

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Project coordinator

Prof. dr. Brecht Devleesschauwer

Sciensano, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Service Lifestyle and Chronic Diseases

brecht.devleesschauwer@sciensano.be