Chairs of the European Parliament health interest groups ask fellow MEPs to consider the link between air pollution and ill health ahead of crucial vote

The Chairs of the MEP Group for Kidney Health; the EP Interest Group on Allergy and Asthma; the MEP Heart Group; MEPs Against Cancer and Friends of the Liver Group have called their fellow MEPs to consider the importance of clean air for health ahead of the crucial vote on the National Emissions Ceiling (NEC) Directive.
The NEC Directive is going to be voted tomorrow (28th October) in plenary session of the European Parliament. This piece of legislation sets maximum binding air pollution levels within the European Union for the next 15 years. The results of this vote will have implications for the quality of the air that we all breathe, and for the health of generations of Europeans. 
The signatories of the communication invited the Parliament to explore the paper Particulates Matter: Why the EU must do more to tackle air pollution, developed by the European Chronic Disease Alliance (ECDA), in which EKHA is an active member.
Please see the text of the communication below
Dear Colleagues,
In anticipation of the imminent vote on the NEC Directive, we would like to bring to your attention the recent position paper of the European Chronic Disease Alliance (ECDA)“Particulates Matter: why the EU must do more to tackle air pollution”.
The paper provides important information on the link between air pollution and ill health.
Recommendations include:
  • The European Commission should see action on EU air quality as an opportunity to be “big on big things”, 
  • The EU should adopt the WHO Air Quality Guideline values as Limit Values which for particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometer (PM2.5) meaning the Limit Value should be reduced from 25 to 10 µg/m3, 
  • Clean air needs to be promoted and incentivised across all policy areas, in particular within the framework of a comprehensive EU strategy for the prevention and control of chronic disease, 
  • The EU must bring forward robust legislation tackling both emissions sources and ambient air concentrations to protect health, cut healthcare costs and save lives. 
  • EU Member States must fulfill their obligations and ensure compliance with EU legislation. 

We thank you in advance for the attention you will bring to this paper and to the calls made for clean air in Europe. 

Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP; Chair EP Interest Group on Allergy and Asthma 
Mairead Mc Guinness MEP; co-Chair MEP Heart Group 
Karin Kadenbach MEP; co-Chair MEP Heart Group & Chair of the MEP group for Kidney Health 
Alojz Peterle MEP; Chair MEPs Against Cancer (MAC) Group 
Cristian-Silviu Buşoi MEP; co-Chair MEP Friends of the Liver Group
The European Chronic Disease Alliance (ECDA) is a coalition of 11 European health organisations sharing the same interests in combating preventable chronic diseases through European policies that impact health. ECDA represents millions of chronic disease patients and over 200 000 health professionals. ECDA’s mission is to reverse the alarming rise in chronic diseases by providing leadership and policy recommendations based on contemporary evidence.
The EP Interest Group on Allergy and Asthma is a common effort by European allergy and asthma patients, health professionals and Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) committed to fight against the most prevalent chronic diseases in Europe. The Interest Group is chaired by MEP Sirpa Pietikainen and co-chaired by MEP Nessa Childers. The Secretariat of the Interest Group on Allergy and Asthma is led by European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) in partnership with the European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations (EFA) and is working closely to voice the needs of people living with allergy and asthma in Europe.
The main objective of the MEP Heart Group is to promote measures that will help reduce the burden of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) in the European Union and to raise awareness of the disease among target audiences through a series of dedicated activities. The MEP Heart Group is led by two Co-Chairs, Mairead McGuinness MEP and Karin Kadenbach MEP. The European Society of Cardiology and the European Heart Network provide support to the MEP Heart Group by running its secretariat.
The MEP Group for Kidney Health is the informal group of Members of the European Parliament committed to improve the policy response to the growing burden of kidney disease in Europe. The MEP Group has been running since 2008, acting as a successful debate forum in topics such as prevention of chronic kidney disease, access to transplantation, sustainability of healthcare systems and health inequalities. MEP Karin Kadenbach is the group’s chair. The European Kidney Health Alliance (EKHA) supports the group by running its secretariat. 
The MEPs Against Cancer (MAC) group is an informal group of  MEPs  at the European Parliament committed to actions against cancer. The MEPs Against Cancer work together in order to improve cancer prevention and control in Europe, in the belief that European cooperation adds value to member state actions. In order to address the challenges faced by the EU, MAC works together with the European Commission and Council and collaborate with relevant organisations to reduce cancer incidence by 15% by the year 2020.  Mr Alojz Peterle (EPP) is the Chair of the MAC group. The European CanCer Organisation (ECCO) support this group and one of its members, the Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL), provides the MAC Secretariat.
The Friends of the Liver group in the European Parliament is a group of MEPs with an interest in liver disease and its underlying causes. The aim of the group is to raise awareness amongst their colleagues and the European Commission of liver disease and to identify and advocate for European Union policies that can help prevent it and improve treatment. The co-chairs are Romanian EPP member, Dr Cristian-Silviu Busoi and Dr Biljana Borzan, and S&D group member from Croatia.