Wednesday, 22 May 2013

UK Air Pollution...Makes you want to move

Pollution in London
"When Justin Bieber collapsed last week at the O2 arena in London and was taken to a private clinic feeling "short of breath" and needing oxygen, the rumours started flying that he had had an asthma attack. They were denied by his management, but it would have been understandable if he had. Most of last week, London's air was heavily polluted, with many of the capital's pollution monitors recording "high" nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels as an acute photochemical smog of fumes and microscopic particles (PM) of acids, chemicals, metals and dust drifted in from the continent, mixed with London diesel exhaust and then became trapped in the still, dry air."

Read full article here:

When you read the above it's easy to see why 5.4 million people in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma: 1.1 million children (1 in 11) and 4.3 million adults (1 in 12).

The last couple of years my children have suffered from allergic asthma but this last year the situation has become much worse, with several other allergies creeping up... prawn, lactose, milk, soya... etc!

On one of our recent visits to our family doctor, he mentioned that there was a lot of children with asthma around were we live because there are a few factories and places like that. 
I thought, wow, I have been living here for 7 years and didn't know that we were in such a high air pollution area!

That brought me to research on air pollution, I was particularly looking for a map that would show me the levels of air pollution around the UK.

The UK has some of the highest rates in Europe and on average 3 people a day die from asthma. (Source

This is a disgrace, considering we are one of the most developed countries in the world, you would expect people to be smarter about the environment.

"Air pollution, especially from diesel engines, is a "neglected, hidden killer" and children and old people are especially at risk, says Mudway. "There's strong evidence that if you live near main roads you will have smaller lungs," he says. "They will not reach capacity and will be stunted. When, or if, people move to a cleaner environment they still do not recover the function they lost. We have good evidence that every child born in Tower Hamlets will have a reduction in the volume of their lungs by the age of eight. The point is, people die of lung disease later on. You store up a problem that will affect you later," he says.
He lists some of the effects of polluted air. In the short term, it leads to irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, headaches, nausea, bronchitis and pneumonia. Over a longer period it can result in heart attacks and lung diseases, cancers, even damage to the brain, nerves, liver, and kidneys."

Asthma caused by Air Pollution
So yes, it's affecting people left, right and centre but people don't think of all the pollution as the cause. Most of the time they just take care of the symptoms.

I have noticed that since we have moved to my current address I have had a heck of a lot of headaches, I'm not one to have headaches at all, so I found this strange but as everyone else I just treat the headaches. Now after reading the above excerpt, I realise that may be very well a result of the pollution of where I live as I have a dual carriage way just in front of my house. 

I would love to move somewhere else, somewhere in England that it's still accessible to London but there is less pollution. I have a lot to research, but initially I was thinking of Kent. It's nothing for tomorrow but I don't intend to live where I live for the rest of my days that is for sure.

Hopefully that will help my children's allergies but in fantasy land now.... I would love to move to Australia and I was really happy to see it 3rd best country on this list of 'Countries Ranked by Air Pollution' (which is compiled from World Health Organization's Research).

We all wish the best for our children, so we think of the visible dangers around them. I think it is now time to think about the invisible ones!

I have found a cool little website 'Clean Air Kids' that has this article for the kids, and there are also fun games, etc.

For the adults there are lots of useful tips on the EPA website here

Take care,
Monica x

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