Charity says more vehicles need to be taken off roads to protect young lungs

Tim Dexter, Campaigns Manager for Air Quality at Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation responds to research published in The Lancet Planetary Health today [06/01/22], which found that about one in 12 new child asthma cases worldwide are associated with exposure to the toxic gas nitrogen dioxide (NO2). He said:

“Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) is one of the most dangerous pollutants to human health alongside fine particulate matter (PM2.5). These pollutants disproportionately impact the most vulnerable in our society, including children as well as people with lung conditions such as asthma. Air pollution can not only cause asthma in children but can stunt the growth of their developing lungs. There are over 1 million children in the UK receiving treatment for asthma and we hear from countless worried parents that toxic air is a major trigger for their children’s symptoms.

“Clean Air Zones have been introduced in a number of cities across the country to jointly tackle dangerous levels of NO2 and PM2.5. However, this is not a silver bullet. We need to see these schemes going further, to get private and commercial vehicles off our roads for good and focus on making public transport better and active forms of travel more accessible for all.

“Introducing these extra measures will not only help protect children and people with lung conditions but also some of the most deprived in our society. People in the poorest communities often have to live in the most polluted areas and we know that people from such communities are twice as likely to have lung conditions when compared to the most affluent.”