The Royal Colleges of Physicians and Paediatrics and Child Health claim that thousands of lives are lost each year as a result of air pollution. It is estimated that around 40,000 premature deaths in the UK are linked to environmental pollution.
Representatives from the colleges have suggested that diesel emissions are too high and claim that the importance of reducing internal pollution has also been overlooked. There are concerns about passive smoking and emissions caused by wood-burning stoves and the use of home cleaning products.
A report compiled by the colleges suggests that outdoor pollution is a more potent threat, however internal hazards do exist. Researchers highlighted air fresheners, open stoves, household cleaning products and emissions produced by cooking with gas.
Professor Jonathan Grigg, co-author of the report, said that there was “clear evidence” to confirm a connection between serious illnesses, such as heart disease and asthma, and air pollution. The most notable contributors are motor vehicles and factories.
Professor Grigg called on policy makers within the government to take the economic impact of air pollution into account in the future. NHS spending on asthma, for example, totals more than £1 billion per year.
In addition, the report encourages people to take steps to reduce pollution at home, by walking or cycling rather than driving to school or work and checking that gas appliances are in good condition. Saving energy by turning taps and lights off and using energy-saving bulbs can also help.