Protecting your workplace from the harmful effects of air pollution

Suddenly we are all hearing about air pollution. Last week, vulnerable people, with heart and lung conditions, were advised to “avoid strenuous activity” as levels of tiny but dangerous (PM 2.5) particles in the air reached the maximum level on the Government’s official scale.  Like much of Europe, the UK is falling short of EU pollution reduction targets and is unlikely to meet them in next 10 years.

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In new estimates released recently, WHO reports that in 2012 around 7 million people died – one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. Reducing air pollution could save millions of lives.

In particular, the new data reveals a stronger link between both indoor and outdoor air pollution exposure and cardiovascular diseases, such as strokes and ischaemic heart disease, as well as between air pollution and cancer. This is in addition to air pollution’s role in the development of respiratory diseases, including acute respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.

The new estimates are not only based on more knowledge about the diseases caused by air pollution, but also upon better assessment of human exposure to air pollutants through the use of improved measurements and technology. This has enabled scientists to make a more detailed analysis of health risks from a wider demographic spread that now includes rural as well as urban areas.

The Kings College air quality website now has an interactive website that enables anybody living in London to enter their work or home post code and get a personal colour coded map to show annual levels of PM2.5 fine combustion particulates and associated gas phase pollution such as Nitrogen Dioxide.   An example is shown below for the City area of London.

annual pollution map

Ref. Kings College; http://www.londonair.org.uk/london/asp/annualmaps.asp?species=PM25&LayerStrength=50&lat=51.5008010864&lon=-0.124632000923&zoom=14 Continue reading

7 million deaths annually linked to air pollution

In new estimates released yesterday, The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that in 2012 around 7 million people died – one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. Reducing air pollution could save millions of lives.

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 Image Credit: Bikeworldtravel / Shutterstock.com

In particular, the new data reveal a stronger link between both indoor and outdoor air pollution exposure and cardiovascular diseases, such as strokes and ischaemic heart disease, as well as between air pollution and cancer. This is in addition to air pollution’s role in the development of respiratory diseases, including acute respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.

The new estimates are not only based on more knowledge about the diseases caused by air pollution, but also upon better assessment of human exposure to air pollutants through the use of improved measurements and technology. This has enabled scientists to make a more detailed analysis of health risks from a wider demographic spread that now includes rural as well as urban areas.

Regionally, low- and middle-income countries in the WHO South-East Asia and Western Pacific Regions had the largest air pollution-related burden in 2012, with a total of 3.3 million deaths linked to indoor air pollution and 2.6 million deaths related to outdoor air pollution. Continue reading

Taxi drivers support clean air campaign in London

The Licenced Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) has agreed to support the Clean Air in London campaign to build public understanding of air pollution.

 Follow @Camfil_UK on Twitter Taxi drivers support clean air campaign in London

 

Image Credit: Olga&Elnur / Shutterstock.com
 
The LTDA has agreed to commit resources to the campaign broadly equivalent to sponsorship monies rather than paying CAL.  The campaign is expected to include:

  • The LTDA making reasonable efforts to build public understanding of air pollution among its members and the general public.  This may include for example:
  • showing its support for ‘Clean Air in London’ on LTDA taxi receipts;
  • including information on LTDA receipts and other communication channels to build public understanding about air pollution;
  • promoting the free CityAir and/or London Air apps, which provide smog warnings and other information and advice, and the Clean Air in Cities app which reports the health impact on populations of long-term exposure to air pollution.
  • CAL writing two articles a year for ‘Taxi’ the official publication of the LTDA.

CAL and the LTDA are both concerned about the health impact of ‘invisible’ air pollution on Londoners – not least those exposed to the highest levels of air pollution on its roads – and want to see bold and early action.  CAL and the LTDA share many common aims including wanting:

  • more ranks for taxis;
  • rapid charging at ranks and specific stands which would allow taxis to be electrically charged within 30 or 40 minutes rather than eight hours;
  • more choice for taxi drivers in the vehicles they can buy;
  • sound transport policies backed by the real-world testing of vehicle emissions;
  • financial mechanisms to support drivers in purchasing new greener taxis e.g. structural funding and no VAT on purchases of ‘green’ taxis; and
  • smog warnings to protect people and reduce traffic when air pollution is at its worst.

In recognition of the above, the LTDA is becoming CAL’s first Bronze Sponsor.

Continue reading