Air Pollution

For the month of February 2019 we will be looking at the evidence that lies between air pollution & our health

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The true cost of climate change is felt in our hospitals and in our lungs
— Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health.

WHO proclaimed air pollution as one of the top ten global health threats of 2019 (1). According to the Lancet Commission in 2017, 92% of all pollution-related mortality is seen in low-income and middle-income countries - an unequal and unfair health inequality. We demand health professionals across the world respond with focused, urgent action.

Health outcomes associated with high air pollution rates include -

Lungs - 
Risk of developing asthma, bronchitis, accelerated aging of lungs and the loss of lung function & elasticity
Heart - 
Increased risk of cardiovascular disease & stroke 
Cancer - 
Increased risk of lung cancer (according WHO 29% of all lung cancers linked to air pollution)
Maternal issues - 
Including preterm delivery & risks, low birth weight and adverse birth outcomes
Economic impact - 
According to DCCAE, economic impact of air pollution health impacts in Ireland results in €2 billion per year; including the loss of 382,000 workdays per year

(1) WHO 10 Global Threats


Resources -

Medical Studies / Journals -

The Lancet Commission on Health & Pollution - Lancet 2017

Outdoor Air Pollution & Asthma - Lancet 2014

Exposure to traffic related air pollution & risk of development of childhood asthma - systematic review - Environment International 2017

Pollution, Health & the Planet - Lancet 2017

Extreme air pollution from residential solid fuel burning - Nature Sustainability 2018 (study from NUIG Prof O Dowd team)

The Impact of Air Pollution on deaths, disease burden, and life expectancy across the states of India: the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 - Lancet Planetary Health 2017

Neighborhood deprivation and health in Britain - mediating role of physical environment - Environment International 2018

Associations of Exposure of Air Pollution with Insulin Resistance - systematic review - int Environment Res Public Health 2018

Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Child BMI—A Study of Prenatal Exposure to Nitrogen Oxides and Body Mass Index in Children at the Age of Four Years in Malmö, Sweden - Int Environment Res Public Health 2018

Air pollution and urbanicity: common risk factors for dementia and schizophrenia? - Lancet Planetary Health 2017

WHO References

The WHO First Conference on Air Pollution - here

Burning Opportunity: Clean Household Energy for Health, Sustainable Development, and Wellbeing of Women and Children (2016)

Health and Sustainable Development


Indoor Air Quality Guidelines

Of general interest -

What is it like to live in the world’s most polluted city?

When all the trees have been cut down,
when all the animals have been hunted,
when all the waters are polluted,
when all the air is unsafe to breathe,
only then will you discover you cannot eat money.
— Native American Indian quote