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Regulation of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the Pacific Rim: perspectives from the APRU Global Health Program

Abstract

While the development of evidence-based air quality standards for airborne particulate matter (PM) for Europe and North America is well-documented, the standard-setting processes in other regions are less well characterized. Many Pacific Rim economies suffer from severe and worsening air pollution. Particulate matter less than 2.5 μm in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5) is associated with acute and chronic health effects and is a widely used air quality indicator. This paper reports on PM regulation in selected Pacific Rim economies, focusing on PM2.5, and provides recommendations on air quality regulation to economies without current standards Through workshops held by the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) Global Health Program, experts in air pollution from eight universities in eight Pacific Rim economies characterized current PM2.5 standards and monitoring in their economies, and then collaboratively created recommendations. A great diversity of air pollution exposures exists in the Pacific Rim. While some economies experience low levels of exposure, others have PM levels that are among the highest in the world. The health effects of air pollution are a concern everywhere, but few economies carry out in-depth, local impact assessments and comprehensive air quality monitoring to provide evidence for guidelines and standards. The development of regulations and policies addressing PM2.5 pollution is urgently needed in many Pacific Rim economies. The international literature provides a robust guide to local risks and should be used, in combination with country-specific population-directed air monitoring, to guide decisions on policies addressing this important global health problem.

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Acknowledgements

We are all members of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities and would like to acknowledge their leadership. We also wish to thank Tara Chu for her help with this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Jonathan Samet.

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The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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Wu, CF., Woodward, A., Li, YR. et al. Regulation of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the Pacific Rim: perspectives from the APRU Global Health Program. Air Qual Atmos Health 10, 1039–1049 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11869-017-0492-x

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Keywords

  • Particulate matter
  • Pacific Rim
  • APRU Global Health Program