Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Air for life or death

I'm sure we all know that an estimated 29,000 people die each year in this country as a result of poor air quality primarily through the effect of PM2.5 on cardiovascular and respiratory systems. We all know too that a major source of PM2.5 is traffic which is why up to 8% of all deaths in cities can be attributed to air pollution. And some may know that the health impact is greater than obesity, which is fairly obvious when you realise the number of deaths each year. More stats here!

But there is emerging evidence last month that PM2.5 exposure can increase the risk of Alzheimers by 19% (plus Parkinsons and demential generally). Another two papers published this year have linked changes in the brain to PM2.5 (See here and here).

People continue to use the air that we breathe as an invisible dumping ground for a whole range of dangerous substances yet there is increasing evidence of the devastating impact that this is having on lives and the planet.

Whether it is the 29,000 people that will die this year as a result of air pollution, or if the new evidence is corroborated, the people that will develop dementia as a result of car and lorry fumes, or the wider planetary impacts of our dumping of CO2 into the air, it is clear that we have a problem.

Getting serious on air pollution is long overdue and I can't see much action being taken.

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