Urban air pollution problems

growing urban air pollution problems

Europe’s growing urban air pollution problems indicate the need for better filtration to improve indoor air quality

The latest information released by the European Environment Agency (EEA) on air quality in Europe states that air pollution remains the main environmental health hazard for citizens and results in high health care costs, unhealthy workers, and thousands of premature deaths, of which an estimated 400,000 in 2011 alone.

The publication, titled “Air Quality in Europe – 2014 Report”, reviews and analyses data from air-quality monitoring stations in almost 400 cities across Europe.

The report states that air pollution is the top environmental risk factor of premature death in Europe, and that particulate matter (PM) and ground-level ozone (O3) are Europe’s most problematic pollutants in terms of harm to human health, followed by benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), an indicator for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons* (PAHs), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Even short-term exposure to high levels of ground-level ozone is causing a significant number of deaths.

In some instances, 10-14% of city residents in the EU are being exposed to harmful PM2.5 levels above the EU target, and if the guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO) are applied, this increases to 91-93%. According to WHO, almost all city dwellers are exposed to pollutants that are unsafe, and for some pollutants, more than 95% of the urban population is exposed to harmful levels. Fine particulate matter, PM2.5, is the most serious air pollutant because the small particles are capable of penetrating the lungs and entering the blood stream.

“City” air filters and air purifiers clean up indoor air

Air filtration solutions that improve indoor air quality for urban dwellers and workers are available today and represent an effective measure to protect human health. Examples from London, Paris and Stockholm are described in the latest edition of “AirMail”, Camfil’s corporate magazine, now available for downloading as a PDF on www.camfil.com.

To remove harmful particles, gases and contaminants in outdoor air before it is introduced through the ventilation and air conditioning systems of buildings, Camfil recommends products like its Hi-Flo™ series of filters and Opakfil™/Durafil® for high particle removal efficiency and molecular air filters like CityCarb™, City-Flo™ and CitySorb™ to maintain high IAQ in city buildings. These filters are the most energy-efficient on the market and are easily installed in air handling units (AHUs) to effectively control ozone and semi-volatile organic compounds (sVOCs), including PAHs. “City” filters also remove internal source pollutants outgassed by equipment, furniture and other materials that may be recirculated in ventilation air. They are the only air filters on the market today that are rated for their ozone removal efficiency.

In urban areas with high levels of air pollution, Camfil recommends supplementing existing ventilation systems with its new range of mobile “City” air purifiers for room filtration with particle and molecular filters.


*PAHs, one of the most widespread organic pollutants, are present in fossil fuels and are also formed by incomplete combustion of carbon-containing fuels. Breathing PAHs has been associated with cancer and are of the greatest concern with regard to potential exposure and adverse health effects on humans.


(19) 3847-8810 sac@camfil.com

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