This report from the RCP and the RCPCH examines the impact of exposure to air pollution across the course of a lifetime.
The report starkly sets out the dangerous impact air pollution is currently having on our nation’s health. Each year in the UK, around 40,000 deaths are attributable to exposure to outdoor air pollution which plays a role in many of the major health challenges of our day. It has been linked to cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and changes linked to dementia. The health problems resulting from exposure to air pollution have a high cost to people who suffer from illness and premature death, to our health services and to business. In the UK, these costs add up to more than £20 billion every year.
The report also highlights the often overlooked section of our environment - that of indoor space. Factors such as kitchen products, faulty boilers, open fires, fly sprays and air fresheners, all of which can cause poor air quality in our homes, workspaces and schools.
As a result the report offers a number of major reform proposals setting out what must be done if we are to tackle the problem of air pollution.
The report also emphasises how the public can do their part to reduce pollutant exposure. Noting the impact collective action can have on the future levels of air pollution in our communities.
As part of this work the RCP has created '6 steps to breathing better air' for the general public:
B e aware of the air quality where you live
R eplace old gas appliances in your home
E nsure you have an energy efficient home
A lter how you travel. Take the active travel option: bus, train, walking and cycling
T alk to your MP
H arness technology to stay informed and monitor air pollution effectively