Health warning over air pollution

07 May 2014

The connection between exposure to air pollution while indoors and outdoors and disease is greater than previously thought, new research suggests.

Last month, a combination of dust from the Sahara Desert, light winds and pollution from Europe prompted the Government and health experts to issue a warning to people with heart and lung complaints to avoid strenuous exercise.

Around seven million deaths around the world in 2012 were caused by air pollution, according to the World Health Organisation. The figure is twice as many as was previously thought.

The EU has set challenging targets to cut air pollution but the UK and many other countries are not expected to be able to meet them within a decade, despite the fact that by doing so they could save millions of lives.

Experts say too much exposure to air pollution can lead to strokes, heart disease and cancer, as well as respiratory and pulmonary diseases.

The increasing likelihood of pollutants causing such conditions has only just been discovered because of new technology and methods of measuring human exposure to them. Scientists have also been able to determine the effects on people living in rural areas of the world as well as those in cities.

Copyright Press Association 2014

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