It’s pretty bad. Within the European Union (EU), more than 430,000 people died prematurely due to PM2.5 in 2013, the most recent year with figures available.
According to the EEA’s Air quality in Europe – 2016 report, the toxic gas nitrogen dioxide (NO2) – released by vehicles and central heating boilers – has an impact equivalent to 71,000 premature deaths a year.
Ground-level ozone (O3) is also killing people – an estimated 17,000 annually in the EU.
Unlike the protective ozone layer in the stratosphere, ground-level ozone is harmful, formed when emissions like NO2 react with other pollutants and “cook” in heat or sunlight.
Nations like Poland where coal is a major source of electricity production tend to rank at the bottom of air quality measures, according to the EEA.
In 2013, Bulgaria provided four of the five worst European cities for high particulate matter. Costs to ill-health from coal power plants in the country are estimated to be up to €4.6bn ($4.8bn; £3.9bn) per year.
In the UK, air pollution overall costs the economy more than £20bn per year – just under 16% of the NHS’s annual £116bn budget.
Technically, European air quality actually improved between 2000 and 2014. Levels of PM10 – another tiny pollutant particle – fell in 75% of the EEA’s monitored locations.
PM2.5 concentrations also dropped on average between 2006 and 2014.
But EEA executive director Hans Bruyninckx says “unacceptable damage to human health and the environment” is still rife.
Outdoor air pollution contributes to about 40,000 early deaths a year in the UK, according to the Royal Colleges of Physicians and of Paediatrics and Child Health.