Intended for healthcare professionals


Air pollution—a wicked problem

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: (Published 14 June 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2814

Re: 40,000 deaths from air pollution: is it hot air?

The 40.000 deaths attributable to air pollution are extraordinary when compared to 22,000 and 80,000 deaths attributable to alcohol and smoking respectively. These pollution figures derived by statistical modelling don’t pass the smell test even if one holds one's nose.

A case control study comparing a rural and urban population in one of the UK counties could have easily confirmed or refuted these figures.

Sensationalist figures if not backed up by hard evidence damages public confidence in the authorities.

Competing interests: No competing interests

26 June 2017
Santhanam Sundar
Consultant Oncologist
Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust