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Blood pressure risk for children exposed to air pollution in womb Children exposed to air pollution when in the womb are more likely to have high blood pressure, researchers have found.

Study: Street-level air pollution increases health risk among elderly  A new study published today in the journal Environmental Health shows that differences in traffic-related air pollution are associated with higher rates of heart attacks and deaths from heart disease in the elderly.

Hawaii’s silent danger: Volcanic smog, otherwise known as ‘vog’ The recent eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea has generated apocalyptic scenes of bright red lava exploding hundreds of feet into the sky and burning buildings consumed by the molten rock. But there’s another danger, silent and often unseen, that has been with Hawaiian residents and visitors forever in varying degrees. In Hawaii they call it “vog,” short for volcanic smog.

 

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Millions of British children breathing toxic air, Unicef warns

Millions of British children breathing toxic air, Unicef warns
More than 4.5m affected, says UN group, while tests suggest children’s shorter height increases exposure on busy roads

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Thermal imaging shows how children’s shorter height places them closer to passing exhaust fumes. Photograph: FLIR/Global Action Plan

More than 4.5 million children in the UK are growing up in areas with toxic levels of air pollution, the UN children’s organisation Unicef has warned.

Tests suggesting that children walking along busy roads are exposed to a third more air pollution than adults, as their shorter height places them close to passing car exhausts, were also released on Thursday.

The Unicef report found that almost a third of under-18s live in places with unsafe levels of small particulate pollution, including 1.6 million under-fives and 270,000 babies. The analysis is based on the World Health Organization limit set in 2005, which is 60% lower than the legal limit in England and Wales.

Amy Gibbs, at Unicef UK, said: “The findings force us to face a shocking reality about the acute impact on children’s health. Worryingly, one third of our children could be filling their lungs with toxic air that puts them at risk of serious, long-term health conditions.

“It’s unacceptable that the most vulnerable members of society, who contribute the least to air pollution, are the ones suffering most from its effects,” she said. “The government must accept this is a children’s health crisis and offer targeted action and funding to reduce their exposure.”

The tests on children’s exposure next to busy roads are relevant to the millions of children walk to school each day, with experts are advising that where practical parents choose quieter routes, away from traffic, as this can cut pollution exposure by almost two-thirds. Other scientists have suggested parents use covers on their prams and buggies during the school run to protect their infants from air pollution. Half of all children walk to school, but being driven to school by car instead can actually result in greater pollution exposure for those inside the vehicle, previous research has shown.

Prof Jonathan Grigg, at Queen Mary University of London, said: “My research has shown that exposure of young children to higher amounts of air pollution from traffic has a major impact on their lungs. Although parents can reduce this impact by walking on less polluted roads, the UK government must take further steps to reduce toxic emissions on all roads.”

The environment secretary, Michael Gove, said the school run tests were troubling: “This a further demonstration of why we need to take strong action now to improve air quality.” He said the government was acting, but added: “By taking simple steps, like leaving the car at home for the school run, we can work together to reduce air pollution and protect our health.”

Lack of funding for local authorities to tackle air pollution is a key issue, the select committee MPs said. “The car industry is partly responsible for our toxic streets, and seeing the government resist calls for an industry-financed Clean Air Fund is incomprehensible,” said Neil Parish MP, chair of the environment committee.

The school run tests analysed particulate pollution on different routes taken by primary and nursery schoolchildren in London, Manchester and Leeds. Small measuring devices were carried by each child and adult, with one measurement taken on each route in each city. In Manchester, a test found that the upper deck of a bus was much less polluted than the lower deck.

The tests were commissioned by Global Action Plan for Clean Air day, which falls on Thursday and is supported by the government and 180 organisations. The organisers are calling on people to leave their car at home where possible. When streets were closed to traffic for the 2018 London marathon, pollution levels dropped by 89%.

Mala Kapoor, who took part in the tests in Leeds with her daughter Ariyan, said: “I was shocked to hear that children are more exposed than adults to air pollution from exhaust fumes. When going out I do try to take more back routes – it might take me a couple of minutes longer but if it reduces Ariyan’s exposure to air pollution, then it’s worth it.”

via Millions of British children breathing toxic air, Unicef warns | Environment | The Guardian

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South Asian monsoon efficiently purifies the air of pollutants, but also distributes them across the globe

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The same phenomenon recurs every year. During the dry season, in winter, burning fossil fuels and biomass in South Asia creates a huge pollution haze: the Atmospheric Brown Cloud. How and why it disappears as soon as the rainy season starts in spring has now been clarified by an international team of scientists led by the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry. The result is that thunderstorm updrafts, lightning and chemical reactions enhance the self-cleansing power of the atmosphere, allowing atmospheric pollutants to be efficiently washed out of the air. However, the pollutants that are not eliminated are transported into the upper troposphere by the monsoon and then spread worldwide.

No weather phenomenon defines South Asia as much as the monsoon: this enormous circulation system leads to dryness in winter but brings intense precipitation in summer. The summer monsoon is created by the heating of air masses over the Indian subcontinent and the warm air rising. As a result, humid ocean air is drawn in and flows over land towards the Himalayas. Deep thunderstorm clouds produce rain over the region for months, guaranteeing water supplies and safeguarding harvests.

Atmospheric researchers have long suspected that the rising air masses also transport pollution high into the atmosphere, even above the rain clouds. “We anticipated that gaseous and particulate pollutants are transferred into an anticyclone, a huge clockwise circulation of winds, which forms above the clouds over South Asia as a result of the thunderstorm convection,” says Jos Lelieveld, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry. Geographically, the countries of Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Tibet, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Afghanistan are part of South Asia. In this region, nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide emissions from burning coal and other fossil fuels have increased by fifty percent over the past decade. However, the pollution cloud is also fuelled by other sources, in particular the combustion of biomass by the region’s large population.

The monsoon transports atmospheric pollutants and eliminates them

Evidence that the South Asian monsoon actually transports pollutants through the cloud layer as high as the stratosphere has now been provided by an elaborate expedition with the HALO research aircraft: in 2015, the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, together with colleagues from the Forschungszentrum Jülich, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), launched the “Oxidation Mechanism Observations” mission (OMO). “Our research flights revealed that the monsoon also effectively removes pollutants from the atmosphere,” said expedition leader Lelieveld. The pollutants are carried aloft from the surface and rapidly converted into compounds that are more easily removed by rain.

The scientific team’s study thus uncovered the monsoon’s virtue but also its downside: a large proportion of South Asia’s pollutants moves up above monsoon clouds into the anticyclone. There they accumulate and are then distributed around the globe. For example, almost ten percent of South Asia’s sulphur dioxide emissions reaches the stratosphere, which in turn has effects on the climate and the ozone layer. The monsoon therefore not only represents a type of efficient pollutant washing machine, but simultaneously contributes to global atmospheric pollution.

HALO reveals the sources of atmospheric pollution and the degradation processes

The scientists achieved these findings from measurements in the anticyclone: in July and August they flew up to 15 kilometres into the monsoon outflow, between the eastern Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean, and analyzed the composition of the atmosphere with the research aircraft HALO. They passed over regions in the Middle East, the Mediterranean and North Africa to investigate the extent of the phenomenon.

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Modelling results illustrate atmospheric pollution over South Asia. The left figure shows carbon monoxide emissions (CO) at an altitude of 12 to 17 kilometres, on the right is the same visualization but without emissions from South Asia. The figure on the left also shows the winds over the region, clearly revealing the anticyclone created by the monsoon. Credit: MPI for Chemistry

During the survey flights, they identified numerous chemical compounds in order to understand the sources of atmospheric pollution and the chemical processes in the atmosphere: sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, ozone, aerosols, chlorine-containing molecules, hydrocarbons and their degradation products.

More carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide, but also more hydroxyl

For example, the measurement flights revealed that carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide concentrations within the anticyclone were significantly increased compared to outside. “The large amounts of sulphur dioxide originate from combustion processes by human activities and are much higher than natural background concentrations,” says atmospheric researcher Hans Schlager of the DLR. This, in turn, means that a substantial proportion of atmospheric pollution is transported to altitudes up to 15 kilometres. In addition, the researchers were able to demonstrate that India represents a significant source of pollutants. It was previously assumed that much of the emissions come from China, because the monsoon’s area of influence extends as far as East Asia.

“We also analysed the levels of hydroxyl radicals and found significantly higher concentrations within the anticyclone than outside it,” relates Max Planck researcher Hartwig Harder, who was present during the entire expedition. The hydroxyl molecule (OH) is better known as the atmospheric cleansing agent because it is highly reactive and efficiently oxidizes pollutants. Chemically, this has two effects: on the one hand, their solubility and thus their ability to lock on to existing airborne particles change, making them easier to wash out of the atmosphere by precipitation. On the other hand, the oxidized molecules can combine to form new aerosols. Because the anticyclone expands widely and disperses the particles, this effect can impact the global climate.

More atmospheric cleaners thanks to lightning

The atmospheric cleanser OH primarily forms when ozone and water are broken down by sunlight. Once the radical has reacted with pollutants, it is generally lost. However, if nitrogen oxides are present, it is recycled and can purify repeatedly, explains the atmospheric chemist Andreas Hofzumahaus of Forschungszentrum Jülich. Nitrogen oxides are formed not only by the combustion of diesel fuel, but also by lightning in the atmosphere. Because lightning frequently occurs during monsoon thunderstorms, the self-cleaning power at 15 kilometres altitude is maintained despite the atmospheric pollution. According to the scientists, even much more OH is recycled than is primarily formed.

This means, then, that the monsoon weather phenomenon not only pumps pollutants high into the atmosphere, but simultaneously provides a cleaning mechanism to remove some of those pollutants again.

This explanation was confirmed by the results of an established numerical model system, which computes the chemical processes in the atmosphere globally. Based on this model, it is possible to determine, among other things, the concentrations of individual chemical compounds such as carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and those of the OH radical – verified based on the measurements. The OH decreases by a factor of two to three if the scientists do not take into account the nitrogen oxides produced by lightning in the model.

Because it can be assumed that pollutant emissions in the region will continue to increase in future years, the researchers headed by Jos Lelieveld are interested in how the two faces of the Janus-headed South Asian monsoon will develop in the future: Will the cleaning and transport mechanism continue to exist side by side or will they be tilted in one direction or the other?

via South Asian monsoon efficiently purifies the air of pollutants, but also distributes them across the globe

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Smoke from El Niño fires subdued dawn chorus in Singapore

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In 2015 the El Niño drought brought severe fires to Indonesia’s forests and peatlands. The resulting air pollution spread across much of Southeast Asia. Now a study has linked the haze to changes in the dawn chorus some 300 km away in Singapore.

“We’re the first to show a clear effect of the haze pollution on biodiversity,” says Matthew Struebig of the University of Kent, UK. “Previous studies have demonstrated impacts of the forest fires on wildlife activity or the suitability of habitat, but no-one has looked at the pollution effects over in Southeast Asia.”

Although fires occur each year in Indonesia’s forests and peatlands, those in 2015 were exacerbated by a prolonged drought caused by the El Niño -Southern Oscillation and Indian Ocean Dipole. In September and October 2015 the air pollution from the haze regularly reached “unhealthy” or “very unhealthy” levels. Pollution levels near the fires were 15 times greater than in Singapore.

Struebig, Benjamin Lee and Zoe Davies analysed recordings of the dawn chorus made before, during and after the haze at the ‘EcoLink’ wildlife overpass in forest in central Singapore. The prevailing winds at the site brought smoke from Indonesia.

Built in 2013, the 62-m long EcoLink bridge is 50 m wide and re-connects two tropical lowland rainforests, the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Central Catchment Nature Reserve. Construction of the Bukit Timah Expressway 30 years ago separated these two reserves.

“The acoustic work was originally intended as a cost-effective way to sample bats remotely,” says Struebig. “Ben was tasked with setting up a monitoring scheme of the new green bridge infrastructure that had been built in Singapore. We recorded the dawn chorus as a bonus, but it quickly became evident that this was changing during the onset of the haze.”

The team assessed four acoustic indices from the soundscape recordings, for a total of 78 mornings between January 2015 and March 2016. All four indices decreased – by up to 37.5% – when the smoke pollution began in September 2015. The acoustic complexity and bioacoustic indices had recovered almost completely 16 weeks after the smoke dispersed but the acoustic diversity and normalized difference soundscape index remained low.

“This suggest that some components of the ecological community continued to be absent or torpid for at least four months after the smoke dissipated,” writes the team in Environmental Research Letters (ERL). The recordings mainly picked up noise from birds and insects, as well as human activity.

Terrestrial vertebrates are likely to suffer from air pollution in similar ways to people, including respiratory diseases, lack of oxygen, irritated eyes and skin, increased stress, and death. The haze may also harm animals indirectly through its reduction of light and sound, which could hamper foraging, decrease the availability or size of prey or alter plant timings.

“We show that (relatively) simple acoustic indices can…track biodiversity patterns in response to quite rapid environmental changes,” says Struebig. Rolling the technique out over a larger area could show how far the pollution impacts reach from the source, and the extent to which biodiversity recovers. “We don’t expect acoustic studies to replace core field research – nor would we want them to – but in some situations, such as dangerous pollution conditions, they are safer and more cost effective to implement,” he adds.

Struebig is now monitoring a site in Borneo with a network of recorders whilst the landscape undergoes conversion. “The idea is to see whether acoustic techniques could be used to monitor biodiversity – in particularly species of conservation concern – as part of conservation commitments by landowners, particularly oil palm and forestry,” he says. “It’s early days and it’s much more challenging than the context in Singapore, but there are some early signs that this is possible.”

via Smoke from El Niño fires subdued dawn chorus in Singapore – Physics World

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Delhi’s air pollution still ‘severe’

Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 09.16.59Although Delhi’s pollution level has decreased, the severity of the situation continues to exist for the sixth consecutive day.

The pollution level that dipped to ‘severe plus’ state has come to ‘severe’ category due to rapid dispersion of pollutants, Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research institute (SAFAR) said.

According to the data by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the PM10 level (presence of particles with a diameter less than 10 mm) was recorded at 424 in Delhi-NCR and 420 in Delhi on Sunday.

The dispersion of pollutants has become faster after the local winds picked up speed, which in turn has rapidly decreased the pollution level and improved air quality, said Gufran Beig, a scientist at SAFAR, adding that the air quality is expected to improve further.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) of the city remained severe at 402. An AQI between 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor, and 401-500 severe.

The PM10 level had climbed to 778 in Delhi-NCR area and 824 in Delhi on Wednesday, bringing to light that severe pollution could be a ‘summer-time problem’ too.

The PM2.5 level (presence of particles with diameter less than 2.5 mm) that deteriorated from very poor to severe has now come to poor category.

It was 110 in Delhi-NCR and 107 in Delhi today, the CPCB data said.

There was a dip in the air quality level on Tuesday due to dust storms in western India, particularly Rajasthan, which increased coarser particles in the air, it added.

It was a warm morning in the national capital with the weatherman predicting thunderstorm and light showers on Sunday.

via Delhi’s air pollution still ‘severe’ – Mail Today News

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People in Manchester ‘exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution’

Report finds life expectancy in region reduced by average of six months due to pollution

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Dangerous levels of air pollution are having a devastating impact on the health of people living in Greater Manchester and costing the regional economy £1bn every year, according to a new study.

The report found that toxic air is reducing life expectancy in the region by an average six months and, over the next century, estimates “1.6 million life years” will be lost unless action is taken.

The report by IPPR North comes ahead of a national air pollution conference being held in Salford on Thursday.

The thinktank’s director, Sarah Longlands, said the “human cost of the air pollution crisis” in the city could not be overstated.

“People’s lives are being cut short, our children’s health is being put at risk and this is before you even consider the £1bn annual economic burden that poor quality air places on the local economy.

“For too long, the debate on air pollution has been focused on London. But now for the first time, we understand the full extent of the problem in Greater Manchester. We simply cannot allow this to continue.”

The report found:

  • Central Manchester has the highest rate of emergency hospital admissions for asthma in England, more than double the national average. North Manchester comes in second place.
  • Manchester council ranks as the second worst in England for PM10 particulate pollution, which is linked to conditions such as lung cancer and asthma.
  • Hotspots for dangerous air quality include Manchester’s Oxford Road, which exceeded legal limits 90 times during 2016.

It also found that the region has one of the worst polluting bus fleets in the UK, with 20% of the fleet made up of the most polluting vehicles, compared with just 10% in London. Only 15 buses are entirely electric, compared with more than 500 in London.

The report calls on Greater Manchester’s mayor, Andy Burnham – who will address Thursday’s conference, to take urgent action and for the national government to give the city the powers and funds necessary to tackle air pollution.

Alison Cook, policy director at the British Lung Foundation, said the report showed Manchester was one of the most polluted places in the UK.

“This report provides more detail on the health impact of air pollution on the city than we’ve had before,” she said. “Ambitious and concrete measures from the mayor and central government must now follow, such as rolling out charging zones in the most polluted areas.”

ClientEarth, which has successfully taken the government to court three times over its lack of action on air pollution said the study would make “worrying reading” for people in the city.

“While the UK government continues to drag its feet over its legal and moral duty to meet legal limits of air pollution in the shortest time possible, it is essential that local and regional leaders, including the mayor of Greater Manchester, do everything they can to protect people’s right to breathe clean air.”

Burnham said the report set out in “stark terms” the level of threat air pollution poses to health in Greater Manchester.

He said a range of measures were already in place or being planned, but added: “We also need a comprehensive national strategy to support our local work – backed by substantial, up-front investment from the government – so that we can all work together to tackle this serious problem that is affecting us all.”

via People in Manchester ‘exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution’ | UK news | The Guardian

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Beijing one of China’s worst offenders in air pollution in May

China’s capital was once again identified as one of the worst places for air quality in May, ministry data showed on Wednesday, although general air quality in its nearby regions improved.

Concentration of small breathable particles, known as PM2.5, rose 8 percent to 54 micrograms per cubic meter in Beijing last month, ranking the city at No.5 from the bottom of total 74 major monitored cities, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment said in a statement.

It did not give explanation, but pointed out that “unfavorable weather conditions” and “increasing emissions from industrial operations” were major reasons for declining air quality in April.

The smog-prone Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, however, saw a decline in PM2.5 level last month – down 6.4 percent to 44 micrograms per cubic meter from a year ago – although Tangshan, Shijiazhuang, Handan and Baoding city in Hebei also appeared in the bottom 10 for worst performance on air pollution control.

The Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said last week that the city would step up anti-pollution measures this year, targeting dust, volatile organic compounds, produced by burning fossil fuels, and diesel exhausts.

A level of PM2.5 in 25 cities in the Yangtze River Delta region rose 5.6 percent to 38 micrograms per cubic meters compared to May last year, the ministry data showed.

China aims to keep national concentrations of PM2.5 below 35 micrograms by around 2035.

The ministry has warned ozone pollution could be the major air contaminant during summer months, which according to studies has caused an increase in deaths from strokes and heart disease.

via Embattled ZTE seeks $10.7 billion credit line, nominates 8 board members

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Study Shows Air Pollution Makes Genetic Changes in the Brain

SIERRA Air Pollution WB

There’s little question that air pollution is toxic for the human body. Studies have shown that particulate matter in the air can lead to lung disease, heart disease, strokes, and lung cancer. But researchers thought the brain might be protected due to the blood brain barrier—a natural system that filters out foreign substances and certain neurotransmitters before they circulate in the brain. A new study from researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles shows that many heavy metals found in the air may make it into brain tissue, and those pollutants are activating genes that may lead to cancers or neurodegenerative disorders.

To understand how air pollution impacts the brain, doctor Julia Ljubimova, director of the Nanomedicine Research Center at Cedars-Sinai, produced air with the same chemical makeup as that found in Riverside, California, in the Los Angeles Basin. She and her team then subjected rats to the air, with different groups of rats breathing the polluted air for two weeks, one to three months, and 12 months. After examining the rodent brains, the researchers found higher than normal concentrations of heavy metals including cadmium, cobalt, lead, nickel, vanadium, and zinc accumulated in the rats exposed to the pollution for a month or more. Even more disturbing, coarse particles of the pollutants had switched on certain genes. The research appears in the journal Scientific Reports.

“Initially I was even skeptical we could find anything. For example, a smoker has to smoke 20 years to develop lung cancer,” Ljubimova says, “so I was not sure that in three, six, or 12 months of exposure we would detect changes in these animals’ brains at the genomic level. I was very, very surprised when we found so many changes.”

So how are these heavy metals making it into the brain despite the blood brain barrier? The coarse particulate material gets in through the lungs, which absorb the pollution particles into the bloodstream and may somehow beat the blood brain barrier, which can weaken due to high blood pressure, inflammation, and other stresses. Particulates inhaled through the nose have a more direct route into the brain through the olfactory system and may accumulate through that pathway. Once in the brain, the metals cause inflammation, switching on certain genes including those that cause both benign and malignant tumors, and others that are suspected of causing neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s, ALS, Alzheimer’s, and other types of dementia—something that other recent studies have also found.

There are still many questions the study can’t answer. For instance, do these heavy metals accumulate throughout a lifetime, or can the body flush them out? And most importantly, can a study on rats translate to humans? While Ljubimova says it’s likely that the same systems are at work in humans and rodents, her team is also studying Cedars-Sinai’s archive of human brain tissue to see if there’s evidence of these coarse particles accumulating in the brains of people who lived in areas with air pollution.

Ljubimova says that while the pollutants in her study were based on Los Angeles, she guesses many of the same effects are happening in cities across the world with similar loads of coarse pollutants. The hope, she says, is that the study and future follow-ups will galvanize policymakers to take a closer look at the health impacts of industry, auto emissions, agriculture, and military activities in L.A. and other areas with pollution problems. She points out that more and more people are being exposed to questionable air as urbanization expands, and scientists don’t know all the possible organs and ill effects exposure can cause.

“We thought that nature protected the brain through the blood brain barrier,” she says. “But now we see that no, air pollution affects even isolated and protected organs such as the brain. This is important information for thinking about new developments and ways to protect the public.”

via Study Shows Air Pollution Makes Genetic Changes in the Brain | Sierra Club

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The health effect of air pollution from traffic

What would happen if all petrol and diesel-powered vehicles were removed from a smaller European city? Up to 4% of all premature deaths could be prevented, according to a new study from Lund University in Sweden. The researchers used Malmö, Sweden, as a case study to calculate the health costs of inner city traffic.

Every year, over 400,000 people in Europe die prematurely due to air pollution — and there is clear evidence that the mortality rate is higher among people living in areas with more polluted air.

Malmö, Sweden, with a population of 320,000, generally stays below the recommended EU threshold for small particles and nitrogen oxides annually. Despite this, the health benefits of removing exhaust fumes from the city would be significant.

“Decreased pollution would prevent 55-93 premature deaths (2-4% of all cases) each year, 21 new cases of childhood asthma (6% of all cases), 95 cases of childhood bronchitis (10% of all cases), 30 hospitalisations for respiratory diseases (1% of all cases), 87 dementia cases (4% of all cases) and 11 cases of pregnant women with preeclampsia (11% of all cases),” explains Ebba Malmqvist, researcher at the Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Lund University.

The change would also prevent 2 729 days of sick leave and 16 472 days of reduced activity due to ill health, the study found.

The researchers have been very cautious in their interpretations, and the effects of decreased air pollution would probably be far greater in reality.

In Malmö, seven times more people die from these sources of air pollution than from traffic accidents.

“Our vision is zero traffic deaths, and considerable investments are made to ensure this — yet we turn a blind eye to the health effects of air pollution,” says Ebba Malmqvist.

Malmö generally stays below EU average air pollution levels of small particles and nitrogen oxides. According to the researchers, the chosen threshold is a compromise between the World Health Organisation’s guidelines and political considerations. However, the epidemiological studies do not include limit values; as the values increase so do the risks.

“The limit value is to give EU citizens some protection against high levels of particles, but it does not represent a safe level. There is nothing to suggest that simply being below the limit value would have any health effects — on the contrary, we see negative effects even at levels below the EU value,” says Anna Oudin, also researcher at the Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Despite the fact that researchers have been working on environmental considerations for more than 10 years, the decision-makers have apparently not absorbed the information.

“There is a tendency to believe that because we currently meet the environmental quality standards, our work is essentially done,” says Anna Oudin.

As a result of the study, a number of workshops will be offered for employees working with urban planning issues in the City of Malmö, to discuss how to solve environmental issues in the future. One of several ideas is to introduce environmental zones:

“Environmental zones exist in other cities, where the strictest zone prohibits cars fuelled by petrol or diesel. But Malmö must figure out what suits them. However, we have shown that promoting cleaner air and better health of the population is worthwhile,” concludes Ebba Malmqvist.

EXPLAINER VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hz5eyg-12WE

Story Source:

Materials provided by Lund University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

via The health effect of air pollution from traffic — ScienceDaily

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