Urgent action on UK air pollution is needed, say experts

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 23 February 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i1099
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. London

The United Kingdom needs to take urgent action on air pollution, which contributes to 40 000 deaths a year, says a report from two royal colleges.

The report from the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health showed evidence that air pollution causes harm “from a baby’s first weeks in the womb all the way through to the years of older age.”1

The report described the adverse effects of air pollution on the development of the fetus, including lung and kidney development and risk of miscarriage; the link between air pollution and asthma, diabetes, dementia, obesity, and cancer; and the increased risks of heart attacks and strokes in later life.

As well as looking at outdoor pollution, the report highlighted the effects of indoor air pollution—caused …

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