Eight out of ten Italians breathe "unhealthy" air. This is stated by the Italian Society of Environmental Medicine (Sima) according to which, in Europe, applying the current legal limits, 21% of citizens are in a situation of health risk linked to exceedances of fine particles Pm10 and Pm2.5; The same goes for nitrogen oxides, according to data from the European Environment Agency, which publishes an annual air quality report. According to Sima experts, about 81% of the EUpopulation breathes air with a concentration of fine particles above the health safety thresholds set by the WHO as far back as 2005. "The issue is even more worrying because the WHO health safety thresholds have been more than halved in 2021" said Prisco Piscitelli, epidemiologist and Sima vice president at the "Free to Breathe" event organized by Consulcesi Group in view of World Environment Day on June 5th.

Healthrisks related to pollution

"The impact of pollution on health is direct and is now well quantifiable on the basis of risk functions based on scientific evidence acquired by the WHO: for every increase of 10 micrograms per cubic meter in the average annual concentrations of fine particles we observe an increase in general mortality from all causes equal to 7%. Specifically, - continues the expert Sima - mortality from cardiovascular diseases or respiratory causes increases by 10%, while the incidence of heart attacks rises by 26%. Slightly more modest (+7%) is the increase in mortality linked to each increase of 10 micrograms per cubic meter of nitrogen dioxide (NO2). But an association with increased fine particles is also demonstrated for the risk of dementia and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism." The problem is all the more serious since you cannot defend yourself from the air you breathe and it is possible to record even higher increases of 10 micrograms per cubic meter in some areas of Europe such as the Po Valley.

The "Mitigation Action"

"A major action plan is needed for the mitigation of air pollution, starting from the Po Valley, which presents strong critical issues, expressly highlighted by the latest report on air quality of the European Environment Agency - said the president of the Italian Society of Environmental Medicine Alessandro Miani -. Immediately start interventions based on the use of transparent photocatalytic coatings with ethanol-based titanium dioxide, which have scientifically demonstrated the ability to reduce air pollutants into by-products harmless to human health, applying them on the wall and glass surfaces of public and private buildings but also implement urban and peri-urban green with species with low water footprint and high filtration and absorption capacity ". A further possible operational path is to remodulate the interventions of the PNRR by stopping the rainy financing to a multiplicity of micro-projects to focus decisively on structural interventions for the mitigation of air pollution and climate change, concentrating every resource on large public investments for renewable energy and the replacement of domestic heating , which is more responsible for the emissions of fine particles into the atmosphere, so as to have lasting and positive effects on our health".