Dozens of children and adults go to hospital for emergency treatment in high-pollution days in cities in England, figures show.
Each year, emergency services see more than 120 additional cardiac arrests, more than 230 additional strokes, and nearly 200 more with asthma in need of hospital treatment on high-pollution days compared to the average for lower-pollution days.
The data, which will be published in full next month, shows the extra strain that poor air quality has already put on
Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England, says: "This new data shows that air pollution now causes thousands of strokes, heart arrests and asthmatic attacks, so it's clear that climate urgency is actually a health emergency too. As these avoidable deaths are happening now, not in 2025 or 2050, we must act together now. "
Previous studies have found leaps in hospital admissions and GP visits during high-pollution days, but new figures give accurate figures for nine English cities and show a clear link between heart attacks, strokes and respiratory illnesses and dirty air.
The researchers determined the days of high contamination by dividing the year by two based on the levels of pollution and comparing the number of cases of the respective disease in the higher half of the pollution with the number of similar cases each day in the lower half.
Data collected by King & # 39; s College London (KCL) covers London, where there are 338 more emergencies per year of pollution than low-pollution days, Birmingham (65), Bristol (22). Derby (1
Much of the recent research on air pollution has focused on the long-term effects of chronic exposure, including cognitive decline, stunted growth in children and premature death. However, it can also lead to serious illnesses sooner.
Jenny Bates, Friends of the Earth Air Pollution Campaign, stated: "Many people may not realize how dangerous air pollution can be at high levels and that it can cause heart attacks, strokes and asthmatic attacks, as and have long-term health effects. These figures will be a wake-up call for city leaders to take the strongest possible action. "
The government promised to tackle air pollution in its environmental bill, the proposals of which were put forward after the Queen's speech. Campaigns are concerned that the proposed measures are too vague and too weak.
Polly Billington, Director of UK100, a network of leaders of local governments in England who have promised to move entirely to clean energy by 2050, said: "We would like to see the draft air pollution standards for the World as a gold standard with a legally binding timetable for their implementation, as this creates security and allows for long-term planning. The lack of substantially increased powers for local leaders, coupled with the lack of reference to the need for adequate funding, are major holes in the bill that will halt action. "
On Wednesday, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and UK100 will hold an international summit on clean air with World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom.
Heather Walton, a health expert from the Environmental Research Group at KCL, stated that the study should provide more details than others who tend to concentrate on the effects of air pollution on average life expectancy , such as estimates that pollution contributes to 36,000 deaths annually in the UK.
By adopting hospital admissions for cardiac arrests, strokes and asthma, researchers have been able to provide a clearer picture of the acute effects on humans and how emergency services are affected. "This provides further evidence of the important need for further action to reduce air pollution," Walton says.
Bates said clean air areas were needed but also measures to reduce all traffic, "because all vehicles produce lethal air pollution from fine particles of brake and tire wear. This way, the air pollution crisis and climate emergencies can be solved together, which helps to make our cities healthier and more attractive.
The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: "We are taking emergency action to improve air quality and tackle pollution so that people can live longer and healthier lives. Our environmental bill will set ambitious, legally binding targets for reducing fine particulate matter and increasing local authority to address key sources of air pollution.
"We are already working hard to reduce transport emissions and invest 3.5 billion pounds to clean our air, while our clean air strategy has been evaluated by the WHO as an example of following the rest of the world. "
Last week, the European environmental watchdog found that little or no progress had been made in Europe in reducing levels of fine particulate matter, known as PM2.5, which is one of the most dangerous forms of pollution because it can settle deep in the lungs and penetrate the bloodstream.