Ambient air pollution is one of the principal causes of chronic illness (cancer, diabetes) or stroke, resulting in almost 300,000 premature deaths in Europe (small particulates, nitrogen dioxide, ozone). It also has major impacts on biodiversity, agriculture and forests, particularly through the acidification and eutrophication it produces. As part of the revision of the air quality directives, in late 2022 the European Union proposed new rules which modify obligations in monitoring, information and alarm thresholds, and the limit values and target values of regulated pollutants and encourage the monitoring of non-regulated pollutants and greater use of modelling.
Given that we spend on average 80% of our time in closed spaces, the quality of interior air continues to be the subject of developments both in monitoring (micro-sensors, modelling etc.) and treatment (double-flow CMV, filtration arrangements etc.). Current research directions include the transfer of gaseous and particulate pollutants from outside, the use of recycled materials in construction, or again the strengthening of preventive actions.
One in five European Union inhabitants is chronically exposed to levels of noise prejudicial to their health. In France, a study published in mid-2021 by Ademe and the Conseil national du bruit (the National Noise Council) estimated the social cost of noise to be €147 billion, with 97.8% of that being transport noise-related. Innovations are emerging in the field of insulation (for example, acoustic screens that generate solar energy, noise- and heat-combating asphalts) but also in the field of measurement with help from artificial intelligence (for example, new functionalities such as noise recognition, faster and more reliable simulations, etc.).