Environ Health Toxicol.  2014 ;29(1):e2014011. 10.5620/eht.2014.29.e2014011.

Applying policy and health effects of air pollution in South Korea: focus on ambient air quality standards

  • 1Korea Environment Institute, Seoul, Korea. jsha@kei.re.kr


South Korea's air quality standards are insufficient in terms of establishing a procedure for their management. The current system lacks a proper decision-making process and prior evidence is not considered. The purpose of this study is to propose a measure for establishing atmospheric environmental standards in South Korea that will take into consideration the health of its residents.
In this paper, the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) of the US was examined in order to suggest ways, which consider health effects, to establish air quality standards in South Korea. Up-to-date research on the health effects of air pollution was then reviewed, and tools were proposed to utilize the key results. This was done in an effort to ensure the reliability of the standards with regard to public health.
This study showed that scientific research on the health effects of air pollution and the methodology used in the research have contributed significantly to establishing air quality standards. However, as the standards are legally binding, the procedure should take into account the effects on other sectors. Realistically speaking, it is impossible to establish standards that protect an entire population from air pollution. Instead, it is necessary to find a balance between what should be done and what can be done.
Therefore, establishing air quality standards should be done as part of an evidence-based policy that identifies the health effects of air pollution and takes into consideration political, economic, and social contexts.


Evidence-based policy; Health effects; National Ambient Air Quality Standards

MeSH Terms

Air Pollution*
Public Health
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