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ESMO Urges the Adoption of Stricter EU Limits on Air Pollution to Prevent Lung Cancer Cases

21 Feb 2023

In its response to the recently launched public consultation on the revision of the European Union’s (EU) rules on Ambient Air Quality, the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) urged the EU legislators to adopt stricter limits on air pollution, aiming to prevent new lung cancer cases in Europe.

The European Commission launched a legislative proposal in October 2022 to revise and merge  the EU Ambient Air Quality Directives. As part of the revision, it was proposed to establish interim EU-wide air quality standards by 2030, whilst aiming to achieve zero pollution for air at the latest by 2050. This includes a reduced annual limit value for Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) - which is a major air pollutant - from the current 25 μg/m³ to 10 μg/m³ by 2030.

Emerging new evidence - first presented at the ESMO Congress held in Paris in 2022 - has demonstrated the molecular mechanism underlying the link between air pollution and lung cancer in non-smokers. Moreover, exposure to air pollution is increasingly being linked to lung cancer incidence and mortality, with more than 300,000 lung cancer deaths globally being related to exposure to ambient (outdoor) air pollution in 2019.1

Given the health-related implications of air pollution, ESMO called for reducing the annual limit value for PM2.5 in the EU even further to 5 μg/m³ by 2030. Adopting such norm would be in line with the recommendations on air pollution of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The full ESMO response to the consultation can be accessed here.

ESMO stands ready to collaborate with the European Parliament and the EU Member States on ensuring the adoption of robust Ambient Air Quality laws that help prevent new cancer cases.

For further information, please contact: publicpolicy@esmo.org

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