February 22, 2005

Front page news

Last saturday's issue of 'de Telegraaf' (The Netherlands' biggest newspaper) ran the main headline: 13.000 doden door smog (13.000 deaths through smog). It said that every year, in the Netherlands, up to 13.000 people die prematurely (if that's the term to use here...) because of the continuous exposure to harmful substances in the air. In all of Europe, over 300.000 people die prematurely for the same reason. This is primarily attributable to the inhalation of particles, from exhaust fumes and other combustion processes. Average life expectancy is down by some nine months Europe-wide, according to research done for the project Clean air for Europe. Also, total damages in economical terms would amount to a staggering 80 billion Euros per year, Europe-wide.

The European Commission is due to publish further research results this week.

Christof

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