Protect our health. Clean air now!

To the European Parliament, European Commission and the European Council


We call on the European Union to urgently, finally and fully align EU air quality standards with the latest available science to protect our health.

The EU's legally binding limits for air pollutants should be based on science, and be at least as strict as the World Health Organization’s regularly updated guidelines.

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Why is this important?

Breathe in. Breathe out. How often do you stop to think about the quality of the air that you’re breathing?

According to the latest science, air quality is something we all should be thinking about much more often. Polluted air causes asthma, childhood cancers, and chronic diseases in children. There's also heart and lung disease, obesity and Alzheimer's. [1] Scientists even discovered that air pollution from car fumes causes lung cancer in non-smokers. [2] Air pollution impacts our health at very low concentrations – there’s likely no safe level. [3] In many ways, it feels like an invisible issue, but air pollution causes hundreds of thousands of extra deaths in Europe each year. [4]

The EU Commission has proposed new air quality limits for Europe.

In September, the European Parliament raised the ambition, reflecting the science and the urgency to act! [5] And MEPs were right to do so: 97% of people living in European cities are breathing health-threatening air. [6]

But now comes the hard nut to crack: national governments will need to approve them. A huge public outcry will help show them that people everywhere want strong air pollution limits.

No one gets to choose the air that they breathe, but the consequences of breathing polluted air are terrifying. And yet, right now, lobbyists from polluting industries will be pressuring MEPs and our governments to keep our air pollution standards low. To continue building more roads and less public transport, to use fossil fuels instead of investing in renewable energy, to continue with an unsustainable agricultural model, and to continue to burn wood. To continue polluting our air at a huge cost — the cost of our health.

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