40 000 lives lost every year due to Air Pollution

40 000 lives lost every year due to Air Pollution

The Royal Colleges of Physicians, Paediatric & Child Health say that around than forty thousand deaths per year recorded in the United Kingdom are directly related to air pollution.
 
According to research they say that it’s been greatly unheeded and that outdoor pollution such as diesel emissions is poorly controlled.  Indoor pollution such as mould and mildew in rooms with poor ventilation leads to illness. 
 
"Being indoors can offer some protection against outdoor air pollution, but it can also expose us to other air pollution sources," the report says.
 
"There is now good awareness of the risks from badly maintained gas appliances, radioactive radon gas and second-hand tobacco smoke, but indoors we can also be exposed to NO2 [nitrogen dioxide] from gas cooking and solvents that slowly seep from plastics, paints and furnishings.
 
"The lemon-and-pine scents that we use to make our homes smell fresh can react chemically to generate air pollutants, and ozone-based air fresheners can also cause indoor air pollution."
 
According to Co-author Prof Jonathan Grigg, there is finally clear evidence that air pollution, (mostly from traffic and factories) is directly related to lung problems such as asthma, and heart disease.
 
 "As NHS costs continue to escalate due to poor public health - asthma alone costs the NHS an estimated £1bn a year - it is essential that policy makers consider the effects of long-term exposure on our children and the public purse," says Prof Grigg. 
 
He also advised that the public could assist by, 
 
  • walking, cycling or taking the bus or train instead of driving, when possible keeping gas appliances and solid fuel burners in good repair making homes more energy efficient
  • An asthma expert and chairman of the University of Southampton, Prof Stephen Holgate said, 
  • "We all have a part to play to cut environmental pollution. We can't see it, smell it or taste it, which is why people do not necessarily think we have a problem," 
 
Indoor air pollution
 
  • Not as bad as outdoor pollution, but specialists say it has been somewhat ignored and needs studying
  • Heating and cooking appliances can emit particulates and nitrogen oxides that are harmful to the lungs and heart
  • Carbon monoxide from defective boilers and heaters can be deadly
  • Mould and mildew in moist & poorly ventilated homes can cause severe respiratory problems
  • Common household products such as cleaning products, air fresheners contain organic chemicals that evaporate into the air
  • Carpets and furniture can also emit these unstable organic compounds
  • At the moment, there is insufficient data to determine what health threats arise from the levels of organics naturally found in households
 
"When you see cars piling up on the way to school taking their children, the fumes directly from the vehicle in front are being vented straight into the car behind, and exposing their child - and yet we are ignoring this," he added.
He also said that homes should be built away from busy motorways, and that over polluted roads should be closed at certain times. People should ventilate their homes properly by opening windows many times during the day.
 
"It's amazing that we are now living in these tight, sealed homes that we are frightened of opening the window and letting a bit of fresh air in," described Prof Stephen to BBC Radio Four's Today programme.