Public Health England issue air pollution deaths defined by region in new report

A breakdown of the number of deaths linked to air pollution across the different local authorities in the United Kingdom has been estimated in a new report.

air pollution

Public Health England (PHE), an executive agency of the Department of Health, has issued estimates of the number of people that die in different regions due to long-term exposure to particulate air pollution. It is the very first time that these estimates have been released and they are attributed to different local authority areas.

The report looks at the average concentrations of PM2.5 pollution – particulate matter that measures less than 2.5 micrometres – across different areas throughout a year. The figures released by the PHE build upon previous estimates that were calculated for the Public Health Outcomes Framework. The previous figures looked at the percentage of deaths within local authorities that could be attributed to long-term air pollution exposure. 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

Deadly health effects of traffic pollution shown by EU funded study

Article by Peter Dyment, Camfil UK

Another European EU funded study confirms that previous WHO air pollution limits set for PM2.5 and related Nitrogen dioxode NO2 are too high and now need to be lowered for health reasons. traffic pollution

This latest study led by Dr Rob Beelen, from Utrecht University in the Netherlands estimates that for every increase of 5 micrograms per cubic metre in annual exposure to fine-particle air pollution PM2.5, the risk of dying from resulting exposure rises by 7%. PM2.5 stands for particulate matter 2.5 microns and below in size and is usually comprised almost entirely of toxic traffic emissions.

In large cities such as London the annual mean values for PM2.5 are typically in the range 15 to 25 micrograms per cubic metre and sometimes even more at busy road junctions. Simple arithmetic indicates increased risk of dying at 14% to 28% above a base level of 5 micrograms per cubic metre.

The world health organisation says there is no safe level of exposure to PM2.5 pollution. Exposure results in raised levels of heart and lung disease in the population.

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