Emission Impossible Ltd


Health effects of air pollution update

The ISEE and European Respiratory Society have released a joint position statement on the health effects of air pollution and it is really well written! For example:

Particulate matter, ozone and nitrogen oxides show a typical pattern of effects, such as oxidative stress and inflammatory reactions, with consequences similar to those of tobacco smoke. The best-known pollutant is particulate matter. We know from countless experiments and observational studies that particulate matter causes inflammatory reactions in the lungs and entire body, promotes blood clotting, causes cardiac arrhythmia, increases arteriosclerosis and alters lipid metabolism. In addition, particulate matter can penetrate the brain or affect a foetus. Those same biological changes can be seen in active and passive smokers. The same diseases are produced, including heart attacks, strokes, respiratory diseases and lung cancer.

It also has a cool new diagram showing all the ways that air pollution harms the body (yes, you’ll be seeing this one again from us):

Overview of the effects of air pollution on the whole body observed in population-based studies. [Source: Thurston, G.D., et al., (2017). Eur Respir J, 2017. 49(1).]

Importantly, it gives an indication of current thinking on annual NO2 – the annual guideline looks set to halve (yes you read that right – 20 µg/m3) in the current WHO review.