Research News

Current exposure to pollution has greater health impact than former exposure, study shows

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 09 February 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i807
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

The health risks of exposure to pollution follow a similar pattern to those from exposure to tobacco smoke, a study has found. It also noted a marked acute rise in risk from living in a polluted area, which then tails off if someone moves to a place with cleaner air.1

The study, published in Thorax, also said that, while overall pollution levels seemed to be dropping in the United Kingdom, the pollution itself seemed to be more toxic now.

Researchers from Imperial College London used historical pollution monitoring data on black smoke and sulphur dioxide taken in 1971, 1981, and 1991, as well as PM10 levels (fine particulates of ≤10 micrometers in diameter) taken in 2001, to estimate the level of exposure of 367 658 people at those four specific times, according to where they were living …

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