WHO Air Quality Guidelines 2021

11 February 2022

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Air Quality Guidelines (AQG) serve as a global target for national, regional and city governments to work towards improving their citizen’s health by reducing air pollution.

Clean air is a basic human right. Yet, air pollution continues to pose a significant threat to people worldwide – it is the greatest environmental threat to health and a leading cause of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart attacks or stroke. According to the World Health Organization, there are 7 million premature deaths every year due to the combined effects of outdoor and household air pollution– with millions more people falling ill from breathing polluted air. More than half of these deaths are recorded in developing countries.

WHO regularly integrates scientific evidence on air pollution’s health impacts as well as monitors countries air quality progress. The recommendations included in the WHO Air quality guidelines are based on systematic literature reviews and subsequent rigorous evaluation methods as well as extensive consultation with experts and end-users of the guidelines from all regions of the world. In 

In 2021, WHO releases new global Air Quality guidelines. Since the last 2005 global update, there has been a marked increase in the quality and quantity of evidence that shows how air pollution affects different aspects of health. After a systematic review of the accumulated evidence, several of the updated AQG values are now lower than 15 years ago. There are also now clearer insights about sources of emissions and the contribution of air pollutants to the global burden of disease. This 2021 global update offers new good practice statements on the management of certain types of PM (i.e. black carbon/elemental carbon, ultrafine particles, and particles originating from sand and dust storms).

Link to the WHO news

Link to the WHO Air Quality guidelines 2021

Barcelona Dust Regional Center