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How clean is the air in the Netherlands?

Worldwide, the exposure to air pollution for a levensduurverkorting: 4.2 million people die prematurely. How harmful are these invisible particles in the Netherlands? NU.nl appeals environmental engineer and specialist and epidemiologist Saskia van der Zee and inhalatietoxicoloog Flemming Cassee.

Each day you breathe about twenty thousand times. And so breath is not only fresh air, but also from harmful air pollution. This is a mixture of gases and small particles in the air.

“Think of particulate matter (PM10), ozone, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ultra-fine dust and soot. These substances and gases are primarily from traffic, households, industry and intensive livestock production,” says Van der Zee.

Even at low concentrations, there is damage to health

In the Netherlands is the air quality over the past quarter of a century and greatly improved. The tricky: “There is no lower limit where there is no risk for the health. Even at low concentrations of air pollution, there are still effects calculated,” reports Cassee.

“The risk is a combination of somewhere to be exposed, and the degree to which a substance to be toxic. There Is no or a very low exposure, then the chance that you suffer from will also be very small.”

In the Netherlands, is a blanket of air pollution about the country

Also in the Netherlands, we are susceptible to air pollution, report of the experts. Van der Zee: “In the Netherlands is a kind of luchtverontreinigingsdeken about the country and the whole Dutch population is continuously exposed to these invisible particles. However, the following applies: the higher the concentration of air pollution, the greater the health damage.”

“In the Netherlands is a kind of luchtverontreinigingsdeken about the country”
Saskia van der Zee, environmental engineer and specialist and epidemiologist

So you are in the north of the country is better off than in the densely-populated Amsterdam, is seen on the map of Luchtmeetnet. More nature often means less air pollution and less chance of injury, know the experts. But not always: “do you Live in the countryside, close to an intensive livestock, then you breathe more particulates and ammonia.”

“You yourself have very little influence on the amount of air pollution that you inhale. Where you in alcohol itself are going to drink, you can see air pollution is not and makes everyone for emissions.” The world health organization (WHO) even speaks of ‘the silent killer’.

The amount of particulate matter in the air you can measure via your smartphone. ()

Air pollution also comes in the brain

We at air pollution, in particular, lung problems, air pollution is also associated with various hersenproblemen. Cassee: “The idea is that ultra-fine particles of the brain can be reached through the reukzenuw and that the brain can negatively affect. It goes so far to indications, no cause-and-effect relationship.”

To date, there is a limited number of studies conducted into the effects of particulate matter on our psyche. According to research conducted by Erasmus MC and the brain of unborn children are sensitive to fine dust; they have an increased chance of mental disorders like ADHD and verslavingsgevoeligheid.

Also, it appears that air pollution and psychosis in people of eighteen years, often together, reports a British study.

Thirteen months live shorter lives due to air pollution

Some of the health problems and diseases is already proven beyond doubt that air pollution plays a role. Van der Zee: “It is not only to respiratory problems and lung cancer, but also heart disease.”

Van der Zee: “Especially the ultra-fine dust is very deep in the respiratory tract. These small particles come through the alveoli get into the bloodstream and can lead to heart disease.”

Figures in the Netherlands

  • In 2014, there died twelve thousand people prematurely by air pollution
  • Dutch people live an average of thirteen months shorter due to air pollution

“Air pollution is very less than smoking, similar to the damage to health caused by overweight and greater than the health damage from too much alcohol consumption,” says van der Zee, which refers to the figures of the RIVM.

WHO: the Concentration of air pollution should go down

The air quality is in many Dutch cities so bad, that you are officially not in would be allowed to work, concludes Milieudefensie, on the basis of research of the Health. According to them, is that utter idiot, because in this air, also grow up, play and cycling.

“The netherlands has never been so clean.”
Flemming Cassee, inhalatietoxicoloog

Cassee: “I understand friends of the earth netherlands and the air quality can always be better, but since it is measured in the Netherlands it has never been so clean. We need it not worse to do than it is.”

If you have the air quality compares with the European limit values, it seems the air in the Netherlands is completely not bad. Van der Zee: “But the standards for air pollution of the European Union are also based on economic feasibility, so they are not strict and they protect us not against disease. The WHO therefore recommends that for the health of the concentration of air pollution, much further down, up to 2.5 times lower than the EU standards.”

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