Wellbeing & Fitness

How is air pollution in London affecting our health?

The Guardian recently shared an article on “How air pollution affects your health”.

Health conditions such as suppressed lung growth in children, asthma, heart disease and the onset of type 2 diabetes have been linked to air pollution. The image below by the Guardian shows the parts of the body affected by air pollution:

Air pollution

Each year, around 40,000 deaths in the UK can be attributed to exposure to outdoor air pollution, according to a study published earlier this year by the reputable body of the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

One of the potentially impactful and neglected sources of pollution exists right in our own homes – various sprays, open fires, kitchen products, faulty boilers and air fresheners. Air pollution-related illnesses cost the UK up to £20 billion every year.

Air pollution in London

In 2013, The Greater London Authority tried to publish a report analysing air pollution exposure in London. NO2 was shown to be repeatedly exceeding the EU Limit Values in 2010. 433 out of 1777 primary schools were in these locations. NO2 irritates the airways of the lungs increasing the symptoms of those suffering from lung diseases.

Asthma in the UK

Air pollution is also a risk factor for anyone with asthma but if your asthma is well managed and you rarely have symptoms you’ll be much more able to cope with the effects. When pollution levels are high, we all breathe in harmful substances; but if you’ve got asthma you’re much more likely to feel the effects. You might notice you’re coughing or wheezing, that your chest is tight, or that your nose and throat feel scratchy. If you have asthma, your child has double the chance of getting it too. Air pollution makes your asthma worse, diminishes the chances of you being cured, and increases the chance your child will develop asthma in the future. Here is a link to a great infographic on asthma.