The report did not include the major industrial nations of Russia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom, implying that the continent’s overall death toll may be higher.


The risk of developing chronic diseases later in life is increased by air pollution, which, according to the EU Environment Agency, still results in more than 1,200 premature deaths of children under the age of 18 in Europe each year.

Despite recent improvements, “the level of key air pollutants in many European countries remains stubbornly above World Health Organization” (WHO) guidelines, particularly in central-eastern Europe and Italy, according to the EEA after a study of over 30 countries, including the 27 members of the European Union.

The report did not include the major industrial nations of Russia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom, implying that the continent’s overall death toll may be higher.

Last November, the EEA announced that 238,000 people in the EU, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and Turkey, would die prematurely as a result of air pollution in 2020.

“In Europe, air pollution causes over 1,200 premature deaths in people under the age of 18 each year and significantly increases the risk of disease later in life,” according to the agency.

The study was the agency’s first to concentrate solely on children.”Although the number of premature deaths in this age group is low in comparison to the total for the European population estimated by the EEA each year,” the agency said.

“Deaths early in life represent a loss of future potential and come with a significant burden of chronic illness, both in childhood and later in life.”

It urged authorities to prioritise improving air quality around schools, nurseries, sports facilities and mass transportation hubs. According to the report, “after birth, ambient air pollution increases the risk of several health problems, including asthma, reduced lung function, respiratory infections, and allergies.”

Poor air quality can also “aggravate chronic conditions such as asthma, which affects 9% of children and adolescents in Europe, as well as increase the risk of some chronic diseases later in life.”

According to data released Monday, 97 percent of the urban population will be exposed to air that does not meet WHO standards by 2021. Last year, the EEA stated that the EU was on track to meet its target of reducing premature deaths by half by 2030 compared to 2005.

Fine particulates killed nearly a million people prematurely in the 27 EU countries in the early 1990s. In 2005, the figure had dropped to 431,000.

The WHO estimates that air pollution causes seven million deaths annually, almost as many as cigarette smoking or poor diet combined. Children under the age of 15 are involved in hundreds of thousands of deaths. It took until September 2021 for major pollutant limits set in 2005 to be tightened.

Health officials reported last week that 2.4 million people have sought hospital treatment in Thailand alone for medical issues related to air pollution since the year’s beginning, where toxic smog chokes parts of the nation.

The worst air pollution is thought to be fine particulate matter, which is mainly produced by vehicles and can enter the lungs deeply. Ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and then particulate matter are the next worst pollutants.