Matt Hancock launches study into 'deadly poison' of air pollution

(The Guardian, 11 May 2019) Review will assess impact of dirty air on health and will support NHS efforts to go green.

The health secretary has described polluted air as a “slow and deadly poison” and warned of a growing national health emergency.

Matt Hancock has commissioned a review of the impact of dirty air on health, including updated estimates of the number of new cases of illness that could be caused by air pollution by 2035.

Public Health England (PHE) predicted in May 2018 that there would be 2.4m new cases of disease by 2035 if current air pollution levels persisted. According to PHE, diseases with a strong association with air pollution include child asthma, coronary heart disease, stroke and lung cancer.

In January the government published its clean air strategy, which pledged to reduce people’s exposure to particulate matter and to halve the number of people living in areas breaching World Health Organization guidelines on particulate matter by 2025.

The new review aims to identify how many cases of disease the clean air strategy could prevent, and where more attention could be placed.

“Our health is shaped by the environment we live in and dirty air is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK,” Hancock said. “We cannot underestimate the very real impact that dirty air – this slow and deadly poison – is having on our lives, our health and our NHS.

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The Guardian, 11 May 2019: Matt Hancock launches study into 'deadly poison' of air pollution