The primary aim of these guidelines is to provide a basis for protecting public health from adverse effects of air pollution and for eliminating, or reducing to a minimum, those contaminants of air that are known or likely to be hazardous to human health and wellbeing. In the present context, guidelines are not restricted to a numerical value below which exposure for a given period of time does not constitute a significant health risk; they also include any kind of recommendation or guidance in the relevant field.
The guidelines are intended to provide background information and guidance to governments in making risk management decisions, particularly in setting standards, but their use is not restricted to this. They also provide information for all who deal with air pollution. The guidelines may be used in planning processes and various kinds of management decisions at community
or regional level.
When guideline values are indicated, this does not necessarily mean that they should be used as the starting point for producing general countrywide standards, monitored by a comprehensive network of control stations. In the case of some pollutants, guideline values may be of use mainly for carrying out local control measures around point sources. To aid in this process, information on major sources of pollutants has been provided.
World Health Organization
Regional Office for Europe
WHO Regional Publications, European Series, No. 91