Scotland breaks EU air quality standards as pollution becomes a ‘public health crisis’

The air pollution in Scotland’s towns and cities is creating a public health crisis, according to environmental campaigners. Scotland’s streets continue to break European air quality standards as the country wrestles with an invisible “public health crisis” costing thousands of lives and billions of pounds.

Scotland breaks EU air quality standards as pollution becomes a 'public health crisis'

This claim by Friends of the Earth Scotland came after they analysed official data for two toxic pollutants. The group said the latest figures showed pollution levels were continuing to break Scottish and European limits.

However, ministers defended their record, saying they were working hard, along with councils, to improve air quality. Friends of the Earth Scotland examined two key pollutants, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter – tiny particles which are pumped into the air by diesel vehicles.

Particulate matter is tiny ‘coarse’ particles released by diesel-fuelled vehicles that, like NO2, causes respiratory problems and exacerbates other health conditions. Experts estimate that Scottish air pollution kills 2,000 people a year — more than alcohol-related to road-accident deaths put together.

The environmental group said air pollution had worsened in several areas, including Whitehall Street in Dundee; it found that air pollution had worsened in several areas over the last year. High levels of NO2 are linked to asthma and other respiratory problems. Continue reading

The role of air filters in food processing environments

The challenges and regulations facing processors continue to intensify, with recalls of food contamination on the rise, all food processing manufacturers are at risk. The time has come that they can no longer ignore the effect that air quality has within food processing plants and the products within them.

Air and the contaminated particles carried within it can come in contact with products yet is often not properly considered or evaluated. Left unfiltered, dirty air basically becomes and ingredient in products. Removing unwanted particles from the air to maintain the safety of your product is but one of the many responsibilities food processing plants have to the public.

Camfil air filters reduce contamination risks and lower overall filtration costs. We design filters with 3 key attributes in mind:

  • Efficiency
  • Low resistance to air flow
  • High dirt holding capacity

A filter in a food or beverage plant must capture the very small particles which are too small to be seen by the human eye. Low priced filters use coarse fibres often produced with an electrostatic charge. This artificial charge quickly dissipates, causing a loss in particle efficiency and letting dangerous airborne contaminants bypass.

This is not an acceptable situation for a food processing facility. Camfil filters feature fine fibres with no artificial fibres added. These fibres maintain their efficiency for the life of the filter, continuously capturing small particles.

Our higher efficiency filters reduce the potential for contamination by reducing the amount of pathogens, mould spores or other unwanted particles in a given volume of air. 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