News The Big Picture

Most London hospitals and clinics exceed air pollution limits

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j2855 (Published 14 June 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2855
+ + This graphic is a collaboration between The BMJ, King’s College London and the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change
  1. Pauline Castres, policy and communications officer1,
  2. David Dajnak, principal air quality scientist2,
  3. Melissa Lott, energy systems engineer and writer3,
  4. Nick Watts, director1
  1. 1UK Health Alliance on Climate Change
  2. 2Environmental Research Group, King’s College London
  3. 3University College London
  1. pauline.castres{at}ukhealthalliance.org

More than half of London’s NHS facilities are blanketed in air pollution that is above legal limits, shows new analysis jointly published by King’s College London and the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change. Health professionals are having to care for their patients in environments where air pollution could aggravate existing illnesses. NHS staff are among those exposed to this health risk, but it is patients’ health that is of most concern, especially children’s.

Air pollutants, and in particular fine particles and nitrogen dioxide, damage our health throughout our lifetime, from before birth and well into old age. Robust scientific evidence has linked poor air quality to an increased prevalence of ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular accidents, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, and lung cancer.1 Emerging evidence indicates a link between exposure to air pollution and type 2 diabetes, obesity, and dementia.2

Toxins and particulates are pumped into the air by our cars and power plants, damaging our health in the short term. In the long term the same activities produce …

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