What does air pollution do to our bodies?

What does air pollution do to our bodies?

The BBC News web page has reported on the effects of air pollutioin on our bodies. The report is based on research based at King's College London in collaboration with Dyson.

The countdown has begun to the launch of one of the world's boldest attempts to tackle air pollution. From next Monday, thousands of drivers face paying a new charge to enter central London. The aim is to deter the dirtiest vehicles in an effort to reduce diseases and premature deaths. The initiative comes as scientists say the impacts of air pollution are more serious than previously thought. The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, told the BBC the threat of air pollution, which is mostly invisible to the naked eye, was "a public health emergency". He added: "One of the things that has troubled me is that because we can't see the particulate matter, the nitrogen dioxide, the poison, you don't take it seriously." But over the last few decades, research has revealed how gases like nitrogen dioxide and tiny particles, known as particulate matter or PM, can reach deep into the body with the danger of causing lasting damage.

The project involves school children wearing an air-monitoring backpack, specially built by Dyson and fitted with instruments to measure nitrogen dioxide and the smallest particles, called PM2.5. Research has shown that children growing up in heavily polluted streets have smaller lung capacity than those in cleaner areas - on average by 5% according to a study in London - a limitation that cannot be reversed. And air pollution can exacerbate other respiratory conditions too, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, and lung cancer is thought to be linked as well.

Dr Ben Barrett of King's College London, who is running the backpack research, says that children born in a more polluted environment face greater challenges in life."It's not necessarily that there's a particular disease that they develop but their body is less able to cope with those challenges as they go into adolescence and into old age."

The full aricle can be accessed at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47777103