In October 2013, the World Health Organization classified outdoor air pollution as an indubious human carcinogen. Air pollutants, especially partiticles, represent a major health issue. In France, it is estimated that exposure to fine particles (PM2.5) reduces life expectancy by 8.2 months and is responsible for 42,000 premature deaths each year.
The latest scientific evidence further reinforces the link between outdoor air pollution and respiratory and cardiovascular pathologies and shows effects on reproduction, fetal or neurological development. Other outdoor air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ozone (O3) are also toxic to humans (including respiratory tract infections) and have adverse effects on ecosystems. NO2, in addition to leading to the formation of ozone and secondary particles, is irritating to the respiratory tract.
Air pollution also has an economic impact: the health costs of air pollution taken together represent between 20 billion and 30 billion euros each year in France, of which 0.8 to 1.7 billion euros are directly supported by the health care system.