There has been a disturbing report this week about dangerous air pollution. We all know about outdoor air pollution which is so damaging to health but most of us would not consider that we are polluting our homes. Official government figures show that some 40,000 people per year die prematurely from air pollution caused by particle emissions from vehicles, central heating systems, dust and the nitrous oxide (NO2) emissions from diesel vehicles.
Indoor air pollution comes from all the general things we have in the home such as gas cookers and heaters, faulty boilers, irritant chemicals from new furniture, air fresheners and household cleaning products. A major pollutant comes, of course, from smoking; house-dust mites, mould and dander from pets all add to the mix.
The unborn and young children are particularly susceptible to pollution. The developing heart, lung, brain, hormone systems and immunity are all harmed. There are effects on growth, intelligence, brain development and co-ordination and, of course, this harm to babies and young children impacts on the future.
Air pollution has substantial impact on many chronic, long term medical conditions, increasing the incidence of stroke and heart attacks. Reducing pollution will reduce pain and suffering and, consequently, costs to the NHS.
Many people in the UK are currently exposed to illegal levels of pollution. Our government lost a Supreme Court battle in 2015 and had to produce a pollution reduction plan, cutting levels of air pollution to legal levels by 2020 in most cities and by 2025 in London