Global (WHO) Air Quality Guidelines and PCIA Partners Meetings
PCIA Bulletin #10: Technology, January 2007
In October 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) released its first global Air Quality Guidelines that inform about elimination or reduction of air pollutants that are known or are likely to be hazardous to human health and well being. These Guidelines provide a basis for all countries to build their own air quality standards and policies supporting health with solid, scientific evidence. For example, the Guidelines show that reducing the levels of particulate matter ten micrometres or less in diameter could reduce deaths in polluted cities by as much as 15% every year. Since, in the case of particulate matter, the highest exposures and greatest estimated burden of disease are in developing countries due to indoor combustion of solid fuels, the importance of indoor exposure to air pollution is discussed in the Guidelines. It’s important to note, that the Guidelines apply in all microenvironments where population exposure occurs, both outdoors and indoors. The WHO has convened a working group to design more targeted guidelines for the management of air quality in homes than the approaches applicable to outdoor exposure.
Visit the following websites for more information:
Press Release: WHO challenges world to improve air quality
Executive Summary: WHO Air Quality Guidelines
A WHO Working Group meeting was held in Bonn, Germany, October 23-24 to identify main health risks due to indoor air pollution and to decide on the scope, format and the role of the WHO guidelines for indoor air quality. Three specific subjects - air pollutant-specific guidelines,biological agents, and the combustion of solid
fuels - were addressed by the work of subgroups.
The participating experts recommended that the future WHO indoor air quality guidelines should be applicable to all "non-industrial indoor environments".
The following priorities were identified:
(i)Pollutant-specific guidelines and guidance will need to be developed/updated and made relevant to the indoor environment for benzene, naphthalene, formaldehyde, NO2, radon, PM2.5, PM10, benzo-a-pyrene and halogenatedcompounds.
(ii) Priorities in the context of biological agents are dampness control, ventilation, allergens (in particular house dust mites and pets) and crowding.
(iii) Established guideline values for CO, PM2.5, PM10 and other pollutants apply to all countries and settings; however, a gradation approach will need to be
adopted to help developing countries, where the practice, move toward these targets.
It wasagreed to develop technology-based air quality guidelines with a focus on the effectiveness of pathways (such as cleaner fuels, improved stoves and room ventilation) to reduce levels of IAP. The WHO indoor air quality guidelines will be
developed over the course of two to three years,starting in 2007.
Partners Meet to Plan Activities for 2007
Sixteen members of the Partnership for Clean
Indoor Air (PCIA) met in Bonn, Germany, October 25-26, following the WHO Indoor Air Quality Guidelines Expert Meeting (see above) to plan joint activities for 2007. Participants included representatives from Aprovecho Research Center, Bosch Siemens, GTZ, HEDON, Shell Foundation, University of California at Berkeley, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Winrock International, and World Health Organization.
Specifically, they prepared for two upcoming events – the 3rd Biennial Partnership Forum in Bangalore India in March and the Commission for Sustainable Development at the United Nations in New York in May 2007 – and discussed emission and fuel efficiency benchmarks for cook stoves.
One outcome of the planning meeting was the realization of the importance of face-to-face meeting and the tremendous potential of working together, including understanding and working through issues together, and the infusion of energy to keep the action going. Another outcome was that, following successful collaboration at
CSD14 in May 2006, PCIA members agreed to promote household energy and health jointly at CSD15, in particular through
(i) the preparation of a brief hand-out including a problem statement, available solutions and key messages to be considered by the CSD15 declaration,
(ii) a side event at the Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting in February 2007 or at CSD15 in May 2007, and
(iii) lobbying with governments and other major groups prior and during CSD15.
To learn more about these activities and how [PCIA members]can participate, download the agenda and outputs at www.PCIAonline.org, and contact the lead for each activity.