Air pollution is a health crisis, warns charity

A new study published today (Thursday 24 October), by George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health reveals that 9 – 33 million emergency visits to hospital each year worldwide are triggered by air pollution. Joe Farrington-Douglas, Head of Policy and External Affairs at Asthma UK, said:

“Air pollution is a globalhealth crisis that is endangering the lives of millions of people with asthma. An estimated 3.3million* people in the UK with asthma could be affected by air pollution, leaving them struggling to breathe, in and out of hospital and at risk of a having a life-threatening asthma attack.

“Asthma UK has been campaigning for some time for the Government to put in place a new Clean Air Act which will help clean up pollution hotspots and keep everyone, especially those with asthma, safe.

“We advise people who have asthma triggered by pollution, to take their brown preventer inhaler as prescribed, follow their written asthma action plan and make sure that they have a yearly asthma review. Everyone with asthma should also carry their reliever inhaler with them at all times. If people with asthma are affected by pollution, they can try to avoid pollution hotspots like junctions and bus stations and stick to back streets where pollution levels are lower. For more information and top tips, visit: www.asthma.org.uk/pollution” 

Notes to editor:

*In Asthma UK’s report Falling Through The Gaps: Why More People Need Basic Asthma Care, we surveyed more than 7,000 people with asthma in the UK. 61.6% said air pollution triggered their asthma. To find the estimated number of people with asthma in the UK who said air pollution triggered their asthma, we applied this proportion to the population of people with asthma in the UK (5.4million), to get a figure of 3.3million.