Air pollution is hazardous to health and the environment. It is, therefore important to limit the levels of pollutants. RIVM monitors the amount of these substances in the air, researches effects of air pollution on health and environment and delivers the information to government authorities as a basis for their policy decisions.
The concentration of pollutants in the air in the Netherlands has reduced over the last decades. Industry and traffic have become cleaner. Despite this improvement air pollution still damages public health and the environment.
RIVM estimates that, as a result of air pollution in the Netherlands, approximately 3000 people die a few months prematurely every year. Lengthy exposure to particulate matter can aggravate illnesses such as disorders as cardiovascular and bronchial and lung diseases. Air pollution is a threat to the diversity of plants and wildlife.
Air Quality measurements and models
RIVM measures the air quality in the Netherlands and this information is compiled together with measurements from other authorities. Air quality is calculated in each place in Holland with the help of models. These models are calibrated with the measurement data.
Air pollution transports beyond country borders and is thus an international responsibility. RIVM therefore also plays an important role in the European context by compiling air pollution levels (measurements and models).
Health effects of air pollution
RIVM studies the health effects of air pollution with toxicological and epidemiological research. With toxicological research, we answer the question: How hazardous is the exposure to a pollutant and what precisely are the hazardous effects? This research consists of laboratory tests.
With epidemiological research, we study the actual effects from which people suffer who are exposed to air pollution. This research is carried out by combination and statistical analysis of large data sets.
Effects on the environment
Internationally, RIVM is also involved with (the development of) air pollution and biodiversity. We do this by compiling both measurements and expertise from the whole world to model the effects. In this way, we can ascertain the efficiency of certain regulations which are in place to reduce air pollution.