Health impacts of air pollution

Air pollution, mainly from vehicles and buildings, is seriously damaging people’s health in many ways:

  • Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) causes asthma, damages lung function , promotes cancer and increases the risk of stroke by up to 20%. According to The Stroke Association, air pollution contributes to 21% of strokes worldwide.
  • Particulate matter (PM10) increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, bronchitis, and damages children’s lung development.
  • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) can cause a range of respiratory symptoms and exposure above a certain level significantly increases mortality.

Government figures estimate that well over 5% of all deaths in England are attributable to air pollution – around 30,000 people annually. The Royal College of Physicians puts this figure even higher, at around 40,000 deaths a year.

Air pollution is the biggest environmental health hazard facing people in Britain. with disadvantaged communities disproportionately impacted. Read more about the health impacts of air pollution here.

“The health problems resulting from exposure to air pollution have a high cost to people who suffer from illness and premature death, to our health services and to business. In the UK, these costs add up to more than £20 billion every year.”

– The Royal College of Physicians, Every Breath We  Take: The Lifelong Impact of Air Pollution
Image: Public Health England
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