Every year, the Air quality in Europe (AQE) Report presents an updated overview and analysis of air quality in Europe. This year the AQE report edited by the European Environment Agency (EEA) presented the progress towards meeting the requirements of the air quality directives made in 2015. Once again, the AQE report failed short to recognize the odours as a pollutant with a key impact on the air quality in Europe.
The Air quality in Europe (AQE) report analyses on an annually basis how the concentration of some chemical pollutants affects the air that we breathe in Europe. These chemicals are supposed to have the highest impact on air quality and thus on health. But where do odours stand here?
The last AQE 2015 report shows an overview of the latest findings and estimates of the effects of air pollution on health of particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and benzo[pyrene] and other pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, toxic metals and benzene in Europe. These chemicals are supposed to have the biggest impact on air quality in the 39 European countries studied.
However, one more time, and it is now five years in a row, this report has failed to recognize odour as a key vector to study the Air Quality in a city or town in Europe. By not considering the influence of odours on the air quality in Europe, once again this report has disappointingly fallen short.
This report neglects to consider the wide scientific literature about the impact of odours on health. Reports of adverse human health effects associated with odors from industrial plants have been recorded by numerous studies1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12. The most frequently reported problems include eye, nose, and throat irritation, headache, nausea, diarrhea, cough, chest tightness, palpitations, shortness of breath, stress and drowsiness.
Many epidemiological dose effect studies have been carried out showing a strong correlation between calculated exposure to odours and surveyed percentages of odour-annoyed individuals in a population. However, it seems that the EEA has neglected this information and has presented a somewhat biased report about the air quality in Europe.
Biased cause Odours are relevant to the air quality, and they are not there.
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- Aatamila M., Verkasalo K. Pia, Korhonen J. M., Suominen A.L, Hirvonen M.R., Viluksela K. M., Nevalainen A.Odour annoyance and physical symptoms among residents living near waste treatment centres. Environmental Research 111 (2011) 164–170
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- Miedema, H.M.E., Walpot, J.I., Vos, H., Steunenberg, C.F., 2000. Exposure-annoyance relationships for odour from industrial sources. Atmos. Environ. 34, 2927e2936.
- Oiamo T., Luginaah I, Baxter J.; Cumulative effects of noise and odour annoyances on environmental and health related quality of life. Social Science & Medicine 146, 191-203 (2015)
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- Rethage et. al., Körperliche Beschwerden im zusammenhang mit Geruchsbelästigungen im Wohnumfeld. Perspektiven für eine systematische, effektive Erfassung, VDI, Gerüche in der Umwelt (2007).
- Shiffman S.S., E.A. Sattely Miller et al. The Effect Of Environmental Odors Emanating From Commercial Swine Operations On The Mood Of Residents Nearby. Brain Research Bulletin, Vol. 37, Pages 369- 375 (1995).
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