WHO Media Statement on False Reporting Regarding Air Pollution

The World Health Organization Representative Office in China (WHO) has obtained copies of recent media reports about WHO which contain erroneous and misleading information about air pollution.

WHO is committed to the dissemination of accurate, scientifically-sound information that contributes to public health discussions and enables the public to make informed decisions about their health. WHO reserves its legal rights against producers and disseminators information that falsely represents WHO.

The following is an official statement from WHO regarding the false reports on air pollution. Media are requested to correct or remove the following false reporting from their media channels.

Erroneous information 1:
Some media have reported that a “WHO expert representative presented Haier with ‘Leading Global Healthy Air Brand’,” that the “WHO expert recognized Haier air conditioner ‘make air’,” and included supposed statements from WHO experts, including “WHO expert representative: Haier air conditioner set an example and demonstrated how to win the global air pollution control war.”

WHO statement:
WHO has not issued a ‘Leading Global Healthy Air Brand’ award to Haier or any other manufacturer, nor has it ever made any comments or assessments regarding Haier air conditioning products or services.

Erroneous information 2:
Some media reported that “Wang Hongcai, the expert representative of WHO, hopes Haier air conditioner would develop more advanced technologies and products, and make continuous suggestions for global air governance.”

WHO statement:
Wang Hongcai is not an employee of WHO nor a WHO expert. Wang Hongcai’s statements and actions do not represent WHO, nor is WHO responsible for any statements attributed to him.

To WHO’s understanding, Dr Wang Hongcai is an employee of the Acupuncture and Moxibustion Hospital of CACMS (China Academy of Chinese Media Sciences). The hospital is a WHO collaborating center in traditional medicine; it is not a part of WHO. None of its employees work for WHO. Statements made by employees of the hospital do not represent WHO.

Erroneous information 3:
Some media reported that “WHO China office in charge/expert representative of WHO attended the Global Indoor Air Pollution and Human Health Seminar convened in Beijing on 17th May 2018.”

WHO statement:
No WHO staff, including WHO experts or staff from its China office, attended the seminar.

Erroneous information 4:
“Expert representative of WHO, Wang Hongcai, noted that 90 percent of indoor air pollution comes from air conditioning.”

WHO statement:
Household (indoor) air pollution in China is largely a result of burning of solid fuels (biomass or coal) for cooking or heating. For more information, see the media release on WHO’s recent air pollution report.

Erroneous information 5:
Some media reported that “one of Haier air conditioning products’ concentration of 8 minute particular matter is lower than the initial value, which is lower than the PM2.5 safety value announced by WHO (PM2.5<10μg/m³is the safety value).”

WHO statement:
WHO Air Quality Guidelines for Particulate Matter, Ozone, Nitrogen Dioxide and Sulfur Dioxide (Global update 2005) recommend a daily average PM2.5 value of 25μg/m3, and a yearly average of 10μg/m3. The recommendation is not a “safety value.” In fact, WHO has noted that there is no evidence to suggest a threshold below which no adverse health effects would be anticipated.

WHO invites media to obtain official information or statements regarding WHO activities or policies through WHO official channels. For more information, contact wpchnmedia@who.int

World Health Organization China office