Friday, January 14, 2011

Mortality Impact from Particulates in the UK

Nelson's Column during the Great Smog of 1952 ...
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The Mortality Effects of Long-Term Exposure to Particulate Air Pollution in the United Kingdom (108 page pdf, Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP), Dec. 21, 2010)

Also discussed here: EPUK calls for action to prevent air pollution deaths (Environmental Expert, Dec.21, 2010)

Key Quotes:

Questions addressed:

1) "What are the benefits expressed as an effect on mortality of a sustained reduction in annual average air pollution across the UK by a small fixed amount ?

Answer: A policy which aimed to reduce the annual average concentration of PM2.5 by 1 µg/m 3 would result in a saving of approximately 4 million life years or an increase in life expectancy of 20 days in people born in 2008."

2) "If anthropogenic air pollution in 2008 were to be removed and pollution sustained at low non-anthropogenic levels, what would be the benefits in terms of effects on mortality?

Answer: The current (2008) burden of anthropogenic particulate matter air pollution is, with some simplifying assumptions, an effect on mortality in 2008 equivalent to nearly 29,000 deaths in the UK at typical ages and an associated loss of total population life of 340,000 life-years. The burden can also be represented as a loss of life expectancy from birth of approximately six months."

“PM2.5 is understood to be a 'no safe threshold pollutant' – it is harmful to health at any level in the air. The impacts of PM2.5 are particularly felt in out towns and cities, where concentrations of the pollutant are high and many people live close to busy roads”

“'This shocking new report is unequivocal about the massive impact that air pollution has on the health of the UK public. It is high time the issue was taken seriously - action to mitigate pollution must be prioritised immediately”

“In light of this new evidence, which suggests thousands of Londoners are dying premature deaths every year due to air pollution, the Mayor's decision to scrap the Western Extension of the Congestion Charge and delay the implementation of Phase 3 of the London Low Emission Zone looks even more deplorable”

“We have concluded that in the unrealistic scenario where all human-made particulate air pollution (PM2.5 ) is removed, as a central estimate, 36.5 million life years could be saved across the UK population, including new births, over the next 106 years”

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