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the air pollution is responsible for 48,000 deaths each year in France. A new “Quantitative health impact assessment” , published Tuesday, June 21 by Public Health France (agency after the merger, on 3 May, the Health Watch Institute with other agencies) , points out that air pollution is indeed a public health problem. Originally 9% of annual deaths in France, the fine particles with a diameter less than 2.5 micrometers – the famous PM2.5, which penetrate deep into the respiratory system and cause many diseases – results in loss of life expectancy at age 30 exceeding two years in the most polluted cities
Display. A year from air pollution in the Ile-de-France
and yet, “the impact of fine particles on health is probably underestimated,” by Sylvia Medina, coordinator of the Air and health program. “We use in our study PM2.5 as a tracer because it is the most studied in terms of effects indicator of pollution on health, but air pollution is a complex mixture of thousands of pollutants that interact, “ she says.
47 million inhabitants affected
Carried out in 2007-2008, this evaluation confirms the order of magnitude of the latest estimate published in 2005 in the European study CAFE (Clean Air for Europe, “Clean Air for Europe”), conducted in 2000 by the European Commission. This study estimated 42,000 premature deaths, the impact of air pollution in France. Unlike the latter, which was cruising PM2.5 concentration levels with American epidemiological studies, the assessment of Public Health France relies entirely on French epidemiological data .
the effects of pollution are, unsurprisingly, more important in major cities in the urban areas of more than 100 000 inhabitants, the loss of life expectancy at 30 years because of PM2, 5 reaches on average fifteen months, corresponding to 26 000 annual deaths
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However, the medium and small cities as well as rural areas are not spared, the study, which covered all 36,219 towns of France. Some rural municipalities close to industries, such as around the Etang de Berre (Bouches-du-Rhône) or in the east of France, even experiencing significant concentrations of air pollutants. Thus, 800,000 people living in rural communities are exposed to values exceeding an average of 14 mg / m 3 .
Overall, more than 47 million people in France are subject to an annual average PM2.5 concentration exceeding the guideline of the World health Organization (WHO), 10 mg / m 3 . If this value was respected everywhere in France, 17,700 deaths could be prevented each year, says the study, which was interested in the expected benefits of improved air quality in several scenarios. This would correspond to a decrease in mortality in France of around 4%. “If in all municipalities was respected even that the value proposed by the Grenelle Environment (15 mg / m 3 PM2.5), which are still more than 3 000 deaths could be avoided each year, “ reports Mathilde Pascal, an epidemiologist health management environment
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many scientific studies measuring the health effects of actions to improve the quality of air nevertheless indicate real improvements, said public Health France. “ The reduction of pollutant levels only in case of pollution peak does not allow for ensure effective prevention of health impacts, “, however, emphasizes the agency. It calls on policymakers to tackle the chronic pollution, reducing dependence on fossil fuels by promoting use of more environmentally friendly heating, developing alternative modes of mobility in the city …
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” the effects of air pollution result primarily from daily exposure to pollutants. Even at low levels, the fine particles have inflammatory effects and contribute to the development of chronic diseases’ , insists indeed Sylvia Medina. Over 80% of deaths and hospitalization for cardiac causes attributable to air pollution and are associated with daily PM10 levels below the regulatory threshold alert during pollution peaks, 80 mg / m 3 air