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Polluted air is set to cause 160,000 deaths over the next decade, experts predict


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Air pollution is set to cause 160,000 stroke and heart attack deaths in Britain over the next decade, experts predict

  • Air pollution will cause 160,000 fatal strokes and heart attacks in next decade
  • British Heart Foundation says roughly 40 people a day will die over next 10 years
  • Charity warns that air pollution presents a ‘major public health emergency’

Air pollution will cause 160,000 fatal strokes and heart attacks in the next decade unless the Government acts to clean up Britain’s dirty air, experts have warned.

The British Heart Foundation says that roughly 40 people a day will die from heart and circulation problems caused by toxic air over the next ten years. Currently, the annual total is 11,000 and that figure is projected to rise during the decade.

The charity warns today that air pollution presents a ‘major public health emergency’ that must be urgently addressed.

British Heart Foundation says that roughly 40 people a day will die from heart and circulation problems caused by toxic air over the next ten years. Air pollution over London (pictured)

It is calling for World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on particulate matter – the sooty particles puffed out by cars and factories – to be adopted in to UK law and met by 2030.

Air pollution is well known to cause breathing problems, but evidence has shown that it also has a harmful effect on the heart and blood vessels, making existing heart conditions worse and increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Researchers have found that fine particulate matter builds up in the fatty plaques of diseased arteries, causing clots that can block blood flow or break off and travel into the brain. Jacob West, of the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘Every day, millions of us are inhaling toxic particles which enter our blood and get stuck in our organs, raising our risk of heart attacks and stroke.

The charity warns today that air pollution presents a ‘major public health emergency’ (file image)

‘Make no mistake – our toxic air is a public health emergency, and we haven’t done enough to tackle this threat to our society. Clean air legislation in the 1950s and 60s, and more recently the smoking ban in public places, show that government action can improve the air we breathe.

‘Decision-makers owe it to future generations to help stop this alarming figure from becoming a reality. That’s why we are urging people to contact their MP and demand a change in the law.’

Currently, the UK subscribes to EU limits for fine particulate matter known as PM2.5, which is the pollutant with the most established links to health problems. However, the limits set by WHO are more stringent than the EU’s.

Last July, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs published a study showing that meeting WHO guidelines on air pollution is ‘technically feasible’ in most areas of the UK by 2030.

Air pollution is well known to cause breathing problems, but evidence has shown that it also has a harmful effect on the heart and blood vessels (file image)

Air pollution is well known to cause breathing problems, but evidence has shown that it also has a harmful effect on the heart and blood vessels (file image)

Doctors estimate emissions kill about 64,000 people a year in Britain from any cause – knocking 18 months off average life expectancy.

Across the country, 37 cities persistently display ‘illegal’ levels of air pollution.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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