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.
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.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) – a specialised agency of the World Health Organization (WHO) – has announced there is convincing evidence that exposure to outdoor air pollution causes lung cancer.
IARC has also classified a major component of outdoor air pollution – particulate matter (PM) – as carcinogenic. Although both the composition and levels of air pollution can vary dramatically from one location to the next, the cancer agency says that its conclusions apply to all regions of the world.
In a statement, Magnus Yngen, President and CEO of the Camfil Group, made the following comment about IARC’s conclusion:
“It is now officially recognized that outdoor air pollution contains cancer-causing substances, which sends a clear signal to policymakers around the world to improve the quality of the air we breathe in cities where severe air pollution impacts human health and life negatively. However, improving indoor air quality is just as important. To protect occupants in polluted cities, a three-pronged strategy is needed for urban buildings: effective particle and molecular gas filters in air handling units, elimination or control of indoor pollution and, when necessary, supplementary air cleaning with standalone filtration units to deal with special air-quality problems at the source. Without a comprehensive filtration approach, unclean outdoor air supplied through ventilation systems can mix with indoor sources and become up to 50 times more polluted.” Continue reading →
According to a recent article by Clean Air in London (CAL) Tens of thousands of motorists in the UK may be driving diesel vehicles illegally and risk losing their insurance or resale value – many without realising it.
Government has confirmed it is illegal to use a vehicle on the road if it has been modified in such a way that it no longer meets the air quality emissions standards it had when originally produced i.e. unroadworthy. The second hand value of such vehicles may be sharply reduced.
Clean Air in London (CAL) has been advised that removing a factory-fitted diesel particulate filter (DPF) is either a substantive or inchoate legal offence. Despite this, the Government: is failing to stop the removal of factory-fitted DPFs; has denied a ‘cover-up’; and refuses to make an announcement warning the public. The World Health Organisation classified diesel exhaust as carcinogenic for humans on 12 June 2012.
Association of British Insurers has told CAL that ‘Applying for or renewing insurance knowing that the vehicle is illegal or unroadworthy, would amount to misrepresentation and potential fraud’ and ‘No insurance would be offered or renewed if the owner declared to the insurer that the vehicle was illegal to drive/unroadworthy’. CAL estimates that tens of thousands and perhaps hundreds of thousands of motorists could be affected.
CAL is calling on the Secretary of State for Transport to accept responsibility for the Government lighting this time bomb under motorists and public health and resign immediately. Continue reading →