By Paul Homewood
h/t Philip Bratby
The boss of the NHS has declared an air pollution "emergency" as a major study today shows it causes hundreds of heart attacks and strokes every year.
Simon Stevens says we must act now to avoid so many "avoidable deaths" after figures reveal days of high air pollution trigger an extra 124 cardiac arrests, 231 stroke admissions and 193 hospitalisations for asthma across nine major UK cities each year.
Health charities today warn the figures could be just the “tip of the iceberg”, as often those suffering asthma attacks do not go to hospital.
The research by King’s College London, which is due to be published next month, is believed to be the first of its kind to analyse the impact of air pollution on health across different UK regions in this way.
In response to the findings Mr Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “As these new figures show, air pollution is now causing thousands of strokes, cardiac arrests and asthma attacks, so it’s clear that the climate emergency is in fact also a health emergency.
“Since these avoidable deaths are happening now – not in 2025 or 2050 – together we need to act now. For the NHS that is going to mean further comprehensive action building on the reduction of our carbon footprint of one fifth in the past decade.
“So our NHS energy use, supply chain, building adaptations and our transport will all need to change substantially.”
The new figures show the immediate, short-term impact of air pollution on the public. Previous estimates have shown the long-term impact of air pollution cause up to 36,000 deaths every year.
Days where air pollution is more prominent typically occurs on hot, sunny days with little wind, because air pollution stays concentrated and closer to the ground
The nine cities analysed were London, Birmingham, Bristol, Derby, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford and Southampton.
The risk of having a cardiac arrest on the street or in your home is 2.2 percent higher in London on high air pollution days, than lower air pollution days.
This equates to 87 more people on average suffering cardiac arrest each year, while 74 children are admitted to hospital for asthma, and 144 adults are admitted for strokes.
Talk about a shonky analysis!
If it is true that there are more cardiac arrests on “high air pollution day”, this does not necessarily mean that pollution is to blame. As the article notes, these days tend to be hot, sunny days as well, which are far more likely to be the trigger.
It is also nonsensical to blame one day’s pollution for a heart attack. Heart attacks and strokes result from long term factors, such as lifestyle, smoking, diet and environmental conditions over decades. Something may trigger them on a certain day, but they are events which would happen anyway sooner or later.
As for Simon Stevens’ solution –
For the NHS that is going to mean further comprehensive action building on the reduction of our carbon footprint of one fifth in the past decade.
“So our NHS energy use, supply chain, building adaptations and our transport will all need to change substantially.
This is a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater!
For a start, what on earth does “carbon footprint” have to do with air pollution?
And how much will all of this cost the NHS? Surely that money would be much better spent on health care, not green virtue signalling? (Not that the NHS’ carbon footprint is significant anyway).
Meanwhile, back in the real world, air pollution has declined to record low levels in the last few years. In particular, periods with high pollution have been cut to extremely low levels.
Sadly the Telegraph’s reporter failed to do her job, and pose these questions. Particularly poor reporting, since the commenters have spotted the obvious errors for themselves!
via NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT
October 21, 2019 at 04:42AM