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Commission proposes new limits for benzene and carbon dioxide

The European Commission has published a proposal for a Council Directive to limit values for benzene and carbon monoxide in ambient air.

The draft Directive outlines the Commission's aims to prevent or reduce the harmful effects of benzene and carbon monoxide on human health ...
The European Commission has published a proposal for a Council Directive to limit values for benzene and carbon monoxide in ambient air.

The draft Directive outlines the Commission's aims to prevent or reduce the harmful effects of benzene and carbon monoxide on human health and the environment. It also calls for the assessment of concentrations of benzene and carbon monoxide in ambient air and for adequate information on such concentrations to be made available to the public. The proposal suggests that publicly available information on benzene should be updated at least once a month and, on carbon dioxide, once a day. The ultimate aim is to prevent the deterioration of air quality, where it is good, and improve it, where it is bad.

The proposed Directive sets out upper and lower limits for acceptable levels of carbon monoxide and benzene in ambient air and gives the margins of tolerance for concentrations of both.

The margin of tolerance proposed for benzene is 5(g/cubic metre (100%) on the entry into force of the Directive, reducing on the 1 January 2003 and every 12 months after that by equal annual percentages to reach a target of 0% by 1 January 2010.

The margin of tolerance proposed for carbon monoxide is 5mg/cubic metre (50%) on the entry into force of the Directive, reducing in 1 January 2003 and every 12 months after that by equal annual percentages to reach 0% by 1 January 2005.

(These values - for both benzene and carbon monoxide - are calculated with the volume standardised at a temperature of 293K and a pressure of 101.3kPa.)

The proposed Directive also sets out criteria for determining sampling points and data sources.

As part of the air quality strategy, the Commission also proposes to submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council by the end of 2004. This will review and propose objectives for air quality in the Community and will develop implementing strategies to ensure that the objectives are achieved.
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