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Air pollution causes 40,000 deaths a year warns landmark report


A major new report from The Royal College of Physicians and The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health sets out the impact that air pollution is having on the nation’s health. See HERE

Key facts:

  • Outdoor air pollution from vehicles causes 40,000 deaths a year and costs the economy around £20bn
  • Further deaths are linked to indoor pollution, including: smoking, faulty boilers, gas cookers and heaters, irritant chemicals from new furniture, air fresheners, household cleaning products, house-dust mites, mould and dander from pets.
  • There is evidence that long-term exposure to outdoor air pollution causes new-onset asthma in both children and adults. There may be an additional effect of indoor-generated nitrogen dioxide. This evidence base is increasingly being strengthened.

Action points.

The report recommends that healthcare professionals should:

  • Educate their patients about the serious harm that air pollution causes.
  • Help individual vulnerable patients protect themselves from the worst effects of air pollution. Patients most at risk are children, older people and those with chronic conditions, those who live in deprived areas or who live, learn or work near busy roads.
  • Educate policymakers and the public about the effects of air pollution
  • Learn more about air quality and stay informed. 

Find out more:

  • You can learn more at the PCRS-UK annual conference where leading environmental researcher, Professor Frank Kelly, Chair of Environmental Health, King’s College London, will lead a session on how healthcare professionals can help patients with lung disease to manage air pollution. He says giving advice to patients about staying indoors and not exercising is counterproductive to health. Patients should be encouraged to think about how they can avoid air pollution by working out the best time to go out and where they should go to avoid pollution. For of further information about the conference, Fit for the Future: a holistic approach to respiratory care, on 14th-15th October at the Telford International Centre, visit:
  • Read the RCP report called, Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution, here:
  • Direct your patients to Asthma UK online information about air pollution
  • Watch a documentary on the mounting evidence that air pollution not only makes asthma worse, it’s causing asthma, aired on channel 4 Dispatches programme on 22 February. Dirty Secrets. What’s Really in our Air:  

Dr Andrew Whittamore, PCRS-UK conference co-lead, says: “The often neglected trigger of poor air quality is being addressed at this year's conference in a session that will help delegates understand the key role they can play in empowering their patients to reduce the impact poor air quality on their health and wellbeing.” You can register HERE for the PCRS-UK Conference

The PCRS-UK does not guarantee, and accepts no legal liability for, the accuracy, reliability, currency or completeness of any archived material or linked website.  This is an archived resource/news item