'Toxic air is scourge on nation's health', warns charity in response to new air pollution study

A study from Kings College London has revealed the number of hospital admissions for children and adults for asthma attacks and strokes on high pollution days in nine major cities across England. Responding to the study Dr Samantha Walker, Director of Research and Policy at Asthma UK says:

"Toxic air is a scourge on the nation's health and this study shines a light on the devastating effects it can have on people with asthma, causing hundreds to be seriously ill and need hospital treatment.

“These figures may be just the tip of the iceberg as many people with asthma don't go to hospital when they have an asthma attack and try to manage it themselves* and this research only focuses on people in major cities in England.

"We urgently need the Government to commit to a stronger Environment Bill with legally binding enforceable targets for clean air, based on World Health Organisation recommendations. In the meantime, more than 3 million people with asthma in the UK** could continue to be affected by air pollution, suffering coughing, wheezing, struggling to breathe and being at risk of a life-threatening asthma attack."

Notes to editors:

*In The Reality of Asthma Care in the UK: Annual Asthma Survey 2018, Asthma UK surveyed more than 10,000 people with asthma and found that 37% of adults and 19% of children self managed their asthma attacks, p22
**In Falling through the gaps: Why more people need basic asthma care, Asthma UK found 61.6% of those surveyed across the UK said air pollution triggered their asthma. When applied to the asthma population of 5.4million people in the UK, this equates to 3.3million, p34