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anses

French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

Outdoor air (ambient)

Challenges in air quality

Updated on 20/09/2016

Keywords : Outdoor air (ambient), Indoor air

Air, whether outdoors or in confined environments, is likely to be polluted by chemicals, bio-contaminants or particles and fibres that can have an adverse effect on health. These pollutants can be of natural origin (pollens, volcanic emissions, etc.), or be linked to human activity (particles from industrial activities, agriculture or road transport, volatile organic compounds emitted by building materials, etc.). For indoor air, the nature of the pollutants depends mainly on the characteristics of the building, as well as the inhabitants’ activities and behaviour (smoking, DIY, painting, etc.). For outdoor air, pollutant-emitting activities such as industry, transportation, heating buildings and agriculture also influence the chemical make-up of emissions. Air quality has been a subject of concern for many years and has now become a major public health issue. ANSES works on both indoor and outdoor air to assess the risks related to pollutants found in these environments.

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