At the end of January 2019, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel asked the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina to address the issue of limit values concerning air pollution with nitrogen oxides. The backdrop is the general public discussion on definition and determination of these limit values and on the adequacy of the cost-benefit ratio for health protection. The Leopoldina is following the Federal Chancellor's request and has set up an interdisciplinary working group.
The working group consists of scientists of the following disciplines: medicine, toxicology, biology, chemistry, epidemiology, technical sciences, statistics, economics, law, sociology, transport research, and materials science. They work based on the latest scientific findings on the subject of nitrogen oxides. They examine the methodological quality of the studies the limits refer to and study the data situation and its interpretation. In addition, the working group compares them to health protection regulations and limit values for air pollution in selected other countries.
The Leopoldina prepares statements as part of its science-based policy advice. For this purpose, working groups are established to which Academy members and non-members are appointed. The decisive factor for the appointment is the expertise of the scientists. The working groups operate independently and by definition open-ended. All members act ad personam and not as representatives of any stakeholder group.
The statements identify possible courses of action, which policymakers may then use as a foundation for their evidence-based decisions. The impulses for statements on science-based policy advice usually come from Leopoldina members or committees. However, topics or questions are also submitted from external sources, as in the case of nitrogen oxide limit values.
ML = Member of the Leopoldina