Considerations of the impact of PM2.5 particulate matter in health - The meaning and impact levels and air quality limits on the Aburrá Valley region in Colombia
There is no doubt that health issues are extremely important when dealing with the impact of air pollution. Increasingly, society is becoming more aware of the enormous risks of pollution. However, information on the relationship between exposures of population to pollution, particularly PM2.5 urban concentrations, is not completely clear for the public and even for environmental authorities. Although, WHO has published guidelines for this, their interpretation to actual urban situations in underdeveloped countries cities is somewhat confusing. The author has review, WHO guidelines and applied them to the particular situation in the city of Medellín and the Aburrá Valley region, in Colombia. This region, because of its topography and climate, experiments high PM2.5 episodes in some months of the year, and when that occurs, there are all kind of speculation in the media about this and about the high numbers of death people that this causes. It is proposed to have a more equilibrated approach on this issue when taking mitigating measures and when communicating to the people on the health effects associated. At the same time, it is important to promote research on health issues and their relationship with the environment at the local level, and also to understand the local factors that relate climate, atmospheric visibility and pollution episodes. There must be efforts to establish sensible mitigation and protection of people and property in the face of pollution episodes and not just stimulate fear and a chain of accusations and finger pointing among the communities based on misguided interpretations of the health effects of pollution episodes.