Health effects of ambient PM— an update

22 Oct 1999

Directive 1999/30/EC was adopted in April of this year by the Council of the European Union. This is the first Daughter Directive established under the Air Quality Framework Directive. The Directive specifies limit values for a series of pollutants in ambient air, including particulate matter. The limit value for particulate matter is set for particles smaller than 10 micrometers in diameter or so-called PM10. Stage 1 limit values are set at 40 and 50 microgrammes per cubic metre (μg/m3) as annual and daily averages respectively, to be achieved in 2005. A maximum of 35 exceedances is allowed annually. A further possible Stage 2 reduction of the annual average to20 μg/m3 and reduction of the number of exceedances from 35 to 7 from 2010 onwards is also indicated, pending a review in 2003. The Directive also requires Member States to start measuring particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers or so-called PM2.5, as this may in future be considered an even more relevant measurement for harmful particulate air pollution. At present, however, there are insufficient monitoring data available for use in health evaluations.