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Environmental health guideline for Municipal Public Health Services : Air quality and health

GGD-richtlijn medische milieukunde : Luchtkwaliteit en gezondheid

Synopsis

Since the knowledge about air pollution and its effects on health has increased in recent years, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) in the Netherlands have updated the GGD guideline 'Air quality and health', published in 2008. The revised guideline provides an up-to-date overview of scientific studies on health and air quality and discusses the implications of recent developments in (European) policies. In addition, the guideline explains how air quality can be measured and calculated. The emphasis is on road traffic-related air pollution. However, the influence on air quality of other traffic-related sources (such as shipping and mopeds), industry, agriculture and wood smoke is also taken into account.

Improved air quality results in health gains, even if the concentrations of air pollutants are below the set standards. Although air quality has improved in recent decades, the standards are exceeded at a number of locations in the Netherlands. Improvement of air quality is necessary to positively influence these situations and to prevent future high exposures to pollutants.

The guideline is a tool to be used by GGDs when advising local authorities and informing the public about local air quality. The GGD can propose measures to improve air quality and can advise on spatial planning near busy roads. Local authorities can use the GGD advice as a basis for additional local policies in order to protect the population and, in particular, vulnerable groups. In addition, the GGD can emphasize the importance of a dialogue on this subject between local authorities and the public, and can provide practical advice to support this process.

The GGD guidelines for environmental health (MMK) are intended to harmonise and optimise the work of GGDs. This guideline may be deviated from in accordance with the local situation.
 

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