Print Friendly and PDF
ulez uk pollution justice health
Big Stock Photo

How air pollution became one the UK's deadliest problems

2 min read

From Ulez to wood burners, every breath has become a battleground... but what can be done about it, asks Tim Moore in The Telegraph.

In a nutshell:

After Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah tragically lost her life to hypersecretory asthma, her mother, Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, embarked on a tireless campaign to uncover the role of airborne pollution in her daughter's death. In a landmark ruling, a UK court linked air pollution as a cause of Ella's demise, shedding light on the growing concern about the health impacts of pollution. Airborne pollutants, particularly PM2.5, have been connected to a range of health issues, prompting efforts to combat pollution, such as the Ultra Low Emission Zone in London and the Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill aimed at establishing cleaner air standards.

Key quote:

Professor Sir Stephen Holgate, an authority on air quality, told the Southwark court that Ella was ‘a canary in the coal mine’ on account of her exceptionally sensitive airways. ‘When I had the opportunity to look at her lungs on the microscope,’ he later said, ‘I saw that the lining was largely stripped off, and therefore the chemicals in the air would interact with the nerves and the tissues directly.’

The big picture:

From aggravating respiratory conditions like asthma to elevating risks of heart disease, stroke, and even neurodegenerative disorders, air pollution's impact spans across age groups. As scientific understanding of both indoor and outdoor pollution deepens, landmark cases like Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah's underscore the urgency to address this invisible but formidable threat to public well-being.

Read the article at The Telegraph.

Air pollution affects the unborn as well. Huanjia Zhang writes that scientists estimate millions of preterm births and underweight newborns worldwide can be attributed to long-term exposure to air pollution. Meanwhile, Kristina Marusic reported on a study indicating that in polluted cities, reducing air pollution could lower cancer rates as much as eliminating smoking would.

About the author(s):

EHN Staff

Articles written and posted by staff at Environmental Health News

Become a donor
Today's top news

LISTEN: How Western media could better cover climate change in the Middle East

“The whole media of the Western countries don’t do justice to some of the works being done here.”

From our newsroom

Everyone is likely overexposed to BPA

If you're using plastic, you're likely above acceptable health safety levels.

Opinion: The global food system is failing small-scale farmers — here’s how to fix it

Maybe we don’t need Jamaican coffee in the middle of US winter.

LISTEN: Bruce Lanphear on how we’re failing to protect people from pesticides

Lanphear recently resigned as the co-chair of the Health Canada scientific advisory committee on pest control products.

How does cannabis impact developing brains?

As states increasingly legalize or decriminalize marijuana, some experts warn that early exposure may be linked to mental health problems later in life.

Agents of Change in Environmental Justice program accepting applications

Do you find that public voices in science are lacking diversity and want to help create change? We want to hear from you.