Rational of the conference
There is clear evidence that at least 3.6 million premature deaths are caused yearly in the world by indoor air pollution and a further 3.5 millions by outdoor pollution. In Europe the yearly toll of air pollution is 450.000 premature deaths and in Italy this number amounts to 85.000, particularly but not exclusively in the Lombardy and Po river plain. According to the European Ambient Agency the broad costs of these deleterious effects of air pollution are in the range of 330-940 billion Euros. It has been known for many years that the principal organs affected by air pollution are the lung, the heart and vessels, leading to a dramatic increase of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. More recent data show that the health burden of air pollution is much greater and wider. Cancers increase and weak categories of people (the infant, the pregnant woman, the oldest old) are particularly affected, leading to a delayed physical and mental development in infants, cognitive impairment and to an array of neurodegenerative diseases. With this background, the goal of this Seminar is to bring uptodate knowledge on the effects of air pollution, with particular emphasis not only on the ailments traditionally known to be associated with it, but also on those which became more documented and evident in the last few years. During the Seminar there will be also reports on the actions undertaken to fight and control air pollution, with special emphasis on critical areas such as China, Eastern Europe and Lombardy. The strategies of the World Health Organization will be outlined and the voice of the lay members of the affected communities listened.