French guidelines on air pollution health messages
The French High Council for Public Health recently published an expert opinion regarding public health messages for air pollution episodes concerning PM, ozone, NO2 and SO2 pollution peaks.
The legal background for this is that the EU’s ambient air quality directive sets information and alert thresholds for peak pollution, for ozone, NO2 and SO2. Once these have been exceeded, the population has to be informed. In France, there is also a threshold for PM10.
Once these thresholds have been exceeded or are predicted to exceed, local procedures in France are activated to disseminate information about air quality and health to the population, particularly for vulnerable groups. The recommendations by the French national authority are seen to be the first focusing specifically on communicating to vulnerable groups.
The previous guidelines in France were established in 2000, and now the High Council for Public Health has issued these recommendations:
On the basis of certain principles (for example that there should be a simple unique message, that the targeted populations should be categorised and that the connection between chronic pollution and peak episodes should always be made), recommendation for messages to vulnerable groups are given. These include for example that pregnant women, children or asthma sufferers should reduce or even avoid physical or sport activities, and that for episodes of ozone pollution they should avoid going out between midday and 4 pm.
It should be noted that the High Court also recommends that there should be coordination and joint communication with the monitoring of pollen, as allergic reactions tend to be exacerbated during air pollution episodes.
More information available here
Originally posted on 24 July 2014