Thai street food stall © Satjawat Boontanataweepol / Getty

Thai street food stall. Photo: Satjawat Boontanataweepol / Getty

Air pollution is a growing global threat to human health and, by extension, occupational health, the environment, and economies. This scoping report aims to assess the current state of knowledge of the interlinkages between air pollution and the world of work in East and Southeast Asia, in order to identify knowledge gaps to be filled through further case studies.

According to the WHO, air pollution caused an estimated 6.9 million premature deaths in 2016, or more than 10% of worldwide deaths, 70% of which occurred in the Asia-Pacific region. Exposure to air pollution can be multilayered.

For many workers, the type of work they do and the conditions in which they do it is a big determinant of their exposure to air pollution beyond daily exposure to ambient (outdoor) air pollution, while certain groups also face household (indoor) air pollution. Furthermore, other factors such as socioeconomic status and gender, effect their sensitivity to its impacts.

This report provides an introduction to the issues, an overview of air quality and key labour market statistics in the region, social dimensions, vulnerability, differential impacts and occupational exposure. It provides a review of policies regulating air pollution, labour and exposure in the workplace, and finally, the authors provide a summary and discussion of remaining knowledge gaps.