Atmospheric pollution in Barcelona affects the entire population's health every day, although not necessarily in the same way. Children, senior citizens, pregnant women and people with health problems, such as asthma or heart or pulmonary disease, suffer more from the effects of pollution than other people.

According to the studies carried out by the Barcelona Public Health Agency, pollution causes over 350 premature deaths each year and is a particularly significant health problem for the more vulnerable population, such as the 200,000 people under 14 years of age who live in the city. The studies also confirm that pollution directly affects the cognitive development of children. Numerous scientific studies show a direct link between exposure to atmospheric pollution and poorer health, both in the short and long term. 

Polluted air causes lung cancer, has clear effects on cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, contributes to the onset of asthma and diabetes, inhibits foetal growth, delays the development of the brain and pulmonary function in children and shortens life expectancy.

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) short-term exposure can irritate people's eyes and respiratory systems. The main effects of long-term exposure can be delayed lung development in children, bronchitis in asthmatic children and the appearance of chronic respiratory and cerebrovascular diseases in adults. In particular, suspended particulates (PM2,5 and PM10) affect the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Long-term exposure to particulates in relatively low concentrations, which are normal in urban environments, can affect the lungs and even cause cancer. The finer the particle, the more dangerous it is to our health, as it penetrates as far as the inside of the circulatory system and enters the bloodstream.

Sport and pollution: It is medically advisable for the general public to do regular sporting activities in public areas, such as walking, running, cycling, swimming or other activities, in spite of the problems caused by daily air pollution. The health benefits of physical activity are much greater than any possible harm that exposure to polluted air may cause. However, in the case of high PM10 particle or NO2 pollution episodes, the most vulnerable members of the population (people with respiratory and heart diseases and senior citizens) are advised to reduce intense physical activity, especially outdoors.