Survey of MPs finds ignorance of Air Pollution

New App uses first ever index to report the health impact of long-term exposure to air pollution

Clean Air in London CAL is launching a revolutionary new App, initially for iPhones and iPads, to build public understanding of the dangers of air pollution after finding many Members of Parliament MPs and others do not understand these dangers.

Government estimates for the number of deaths attributable to different public health risks are:

Smoking – Nearly 80,000 in England 2011; average 10 years

Air pollution – 29,000 in the UK 2008; average of 11.5 years excludes short-term impact

Alcoholism – 15,000 to 22,000 in England; average men 20 years, women 15 years

Obesity – 9,000 in England; average nine years

Road traffic accidents – 1,901 deaths in Great Britain in 2011

Over 100 MPs responded to a survey for CAL by Politics Home. They were asked to ‘Rank the following risk factors in terms of the number of early deaths attributable to them in the UK annually: air pollution; alcoholism; obesity; road traffic accidents; and smoking excluding passive smoking’. Responses showed:

• overall, MPs overall wrongly ranked the risks in descending order most dangerous to least dangerous as: smoking; obesity; alcoholism; road traffic accidents; and air pollution;

• none of the political groupings ranked the risks correctly;

• over two-thirds of Conservative MPs thought air pollution is responsible for fewer attributable deaths than road traffic accident deaths;

• nearly twice the proportion of Labour MPs 18% correctly identified air pollution as a top three public health risk compared to Conservative MPs 10% and 14% of Liberal Democrats MPs.

The new App is being launched to address widespread ignorance of these issues. It uses the innovative Clean Air in Cities Index™ or Birkett Index™, developed by Clean Air in London CAL, to report the health impact from long-term exposure to dangerous airborne particles PM 2.5 for the total population in a local area, region and England as a whole.

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