Environmental Medicine against lung doctor, and Protect the limits of our health?

Germany, France, UK, Italy, Hungary, Romania, all these countries have not been sued in 2018 by the EU Commission because they comply with the limit values for nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter.

In Germany a limit value of 40 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) air-annual average applies to nitrogen oxides (NO2) – he is exceeded in different cities. In recent years, the requirements were tightened slightly, including for nitrogen dioxide, so-called 1-hour limit of 200 micrograms per cubic meter, were introduced. Also, for the different-sized fine particles of dust limit values exist.

Over a hundred lung specialist doctors have now closed together, and a critical position paper formulated: you doubt the accuracy of the currently applicable limit values, with the rationale, the current Study does not allow for a statement about the concentration of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides as harmful for the health.

Here is the environmental epidemiologist Barbara Hoffmann and the Initiator of the statement, Dieter Köhler argue.


Barbara Hoffmann

Barbara Hoffmann

The head of environmental epidemiology at the Heinrich-Heine-University in Dusseldorf, Germany, is involved in the drafting of the WHO guidelines for nitrogen oxides. To says fine dust:

“The limit values for fine dust are from a health point of view, they should be tightened up.”

Fine dust passes into the lungs – and it was only in small quantities, puts the body in turmoil: The inhaled particles to ensure that certain messenger substances, so-called mediators of inflammation, including the bronchi via the blood stream in the organism.

This is not a theory, the findings come from randomized controlled studies* in the so-called exposure chambers: animals and people were exposed to the fine dust in a chamber. Other confounding factors such as cigarette smoke or other air contaminants could be excluded as the cause of the damage to Health.

Apparently, the fine-dust activated the body’s own inflammatory proteins stimulate the immune system to an inflammatory reaction. So it is increases come, among other things, that in the blood more clots, the risk for heart attacks and strokes.

These are not the only risks that arise in the course of years, after fine dust loading, you can already occur in the short term, after a few hours of an increased concentration of fine dust.

Over the long-term extensive studies are already available. Thus, from a large number of studies have already known that pulmonary diseases, cardiovascular diseases, Diabetes, and low birth weight are caused. In the case of loads below the European limit values for fine dust, it comes also to these effects.

Currently, several studies examine specifically the effects at a stress level below the European and the much lower American limit values run. Other risk behavior factors such as Smoking and physical activity through a variety of methods excluded. In these studies shows now: below the valid limit values for fine dust, there is apparently a link between air pollution and the incidence of cardiovascular disease and lung cancer, to increased mortality.

There are so many scientifically-based evidence that fine dust is detrimental to his health – and in quantities that are below the current limit values of the European Union. The latter I think is too high, you should continue to be reduced for the health of all.

*In randomised, controlled studies are the random two (or more) groups associated with it. A group of non inhaled dust, the fine, and the control group. So to both groups separately and observe the effects of the fine dust rate.


Dieter Köhler

Dieter Köhler

The lung specialist and former Vice-President of the German society for pneumology says:

“The health hazards caused by car exhaust gases are grossly exaggerated”

Imagine: A major study found that the average life expectancy is in Seville, of all things, higher, where the burden from fine dust is particularly high (p. 15). Dust is fine, therefore, good for the health? This is of course nonsense. But it shows how difficult it is to investigate such a complex context, such as the effect of fine dust on health.

That fine dust and nitrogen should be achieved for numerous deaths, one reads in many different studies. But if you look at it in more detail, it is only a statistically weak Association. The lung health and overall health are influenced by an infinite number of different factors.

We take the example of Diabetes: a study to the result that there is a weak correlation between the incidence of Diabetes and the burden from fine dust, then I can’t claim as a serious scientist just: fine dust that causes Diabetes. Because the data do not allow this causal link.

I am also convinced that fine dust in the lungs and is harmful to health, it is medically obvious. However, it depends on the amount of: The current limit values of the European Union are extremely low. In cigarette smoke, about the fine dust content is about a Million Times higher than in the air. Expected high of the inhaled pollutants of smokers and compares them with the “calculated death rates” due to particulate matter and carbon monoxide, then all smokers would have to be died after a few months of various diseases.

Our opinion shows that I do not represent any individual opinion: Over 115 other lung doctors, often with positions of responsibility and research you have signed up to experience. Hopefully political power, so that the limit values to be checked and corrected.

Because the limit values of the European Union are not too high, but too low. Considering the consequences that municipalities spend money unnecessarily for driving bans, then this is actually a scandal. Because this money is missing in other, more important Places.