UK calls for Action to Reduce Air Pollution and Its Health Impacts

Action on Air Quality – HC 212 – Sixth Report of Session 2014–15 (51 page pdf, Environmental Audit Committee, House of Commons, UK, Nov. 26, 2014)

Also discussed here: Air pollution ‘causing deadly public health crisis’ (James Gallagher, Health editor, BBC News, Dec. 7, 2014)

Today we review a report from a Committee of the British House of Commons calling for action both in the short and long term (2030) to improve air quality – its 3rd report on this issue in the last 5 years. In 92% of the Air Quality Management Areas, road transport is the main cause of that pollution, so that recommendations call for more efficient vehicles and fewer diesel powered ones and more Low Emission Zones. The Committee recognizes the powerful lobbies (such as automobile associations and oil/gas industry) against progress – as it is, if not more so in Canada and the USA – but pleads that the UK government should not wait to be ordered by the EU parliament to act.

UK deaths due air pollution

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Do Cholesterol Pills Reduce the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease from Exposure to Particulate Matter?

Statins: Widely used drugs may protect people from air pollution (Brian Bienkowski, Environmental Health News, Nov. 24, 2014)

Also discussed here: Chronic PM2.5 exposure and inflammation: determining sensitive subgroups in mid-life women.(Abstract, Ostro B, Malig B, Broadwin R, Basu R, Gold EB, Bromberger JT, Derby C, Feinstein S, Greendale GA, Jackson EA, Kravitz HM, Matthews KA, Sternfeld B, Tomey K, Green RR, Green R, Wnviron Res., May 8, 2014)

Today we review research into the ways that the drugs taken to reduce cholesterol interact with C-reactive protein to reduce the inflammation that normally is caused by exposure to fine particulate matter. This is important since 1 in 4 adults over 45 take statins (including Lipitor, Zocor and other brand names) and over 800,000 deaths world-wide are caused by fine particles.

smart growth cities

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Does Air Pollution Cause Kidney Disease?

County-Level Air Quality and the Prevalence of Diagnosed Chronic Kidney Disease in the U.S. Medicare Population (Abstract, page 824, Jennifer L. Bragg-Gresham, Hal Morgenstern, William M. McClellan, Sharon Saydah, Desmond Williams, Neil R. Powe, Delphine S. Tuot, Yi Li,1 Rajiv Saran, American Society of Nephrology, Nov. 11-16, 2014)

Also discussed here: Air pollution associated with higher rates of chronic kidney disease (Science Daily, Nov. 16, 2014)

Today we review research into the link between air pollution and chronic kidney disease or CKD. Results indicate higher prevalence of the disease with particulate (PM2.5) readings as low as 8.4 μg/m3, much lower than the expected threshold of 40 μg/m3 for elderly patients. Higher incidence of CKD may be expected in countries or regions with higher air pollution levels than where this research was conducted in counties across the USA.

PULP MILL AIR POLLUTION - NARA - 544999

PULP MILL AIR POLLUTION – NARA – 544999 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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Does Traffic-Related Air Pollution Cause Teenage Obesity?

A Longitudinal Cohort Study of Body Mass Index and Childhood Exposure to Secondhand Tobacco Smoke and Air Pollution: The Southern California Children’s Health Study (30 page pdf, Rob McConnell, Ernest Shen, Frank D. Gilliland, Michael Jerrett, Jennifer Wolch, Chih-Chieh Chang, Frederick Lurmann, and Kiros Berhane, Environmental Health Perspectives, Nov. 12, 2014)

Also discussed here: Tobacco smoke, roadway air pollution linked to childhood obesity (Science Daily, Nov. 12, 2014)

Today we review research based on following the weights of several hundred children through their adolescence (from age 10 to 18) and their exposure to second hand smoke and to proximity to air pollution from nearby traffic. The link between smoking by pregnant mothers (in uterus exposure) has long been known to have an impact on the obesity of the child in later life. The researchers conclude that adding exposure to traffic pollution caused a weight gain equivalent to a 6.6% and all of the side effects that go with obesity, including high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure etc.

English: These children, playing in a public s...

English: These children, playing in a public space, vary in their proportion of body fat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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How Does Stress Combine with Air Pollution to Affect Health Impacts?

Social stressors and air pollution across New York City communities: a spatial approach for assessing correlations among multiple exposures (25 page pdf, Jessie LC Shmool, Laura D Kubzansky, Ogonnaya Dotson Newman, John Spengler, Peggy Shepard and Jane E Clougherty, Environmental Health, Nov. 6, 2014)

Today we review research into the association, if any, between between social environment stresses and air pollution as they both affect health outcomes in a large city (New York) in the assumption that stress may weaken the body’s reaction to air pollution . The stresses range from murder rates to Food Bank registrations. Results indicate that linking a single stress proxy to air pollution may not produce reliable conclusions for environmental health policy– rather the authors recommend both more research and the use of multiple stress measures.

English: Air pollution

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When are You Too Old to Drive?

Is the U.S. Ready for Seniors Who Want to Stop Driving? (Angie Schmitt,Streetsblog, Oct. 27, 2014)

Also discussed here: When Planning for Retirement, Consider Transportation (Harriet Edleson, New York Times, Oct. 17, 2014)

And here: What About The Elderly? (Andrew Price, Strong Towns, Oct. 17, 2013)

And here: Driving Life Expectancy of Persons Aged 70 Years and Older in the United States (6 page pdf, Daniel J. Foley, Harley K. Heimovitz, Jack M. Guralnik and Dwight B. Brock, American Journal of Public Health, Aug. 2002)

Today we review several articles that look at the older generation (getting bigger) and how much they drive (a little less) and how big a challenge it is for them to get around (bigger). One downside is that older drivers are three times more likely to die in a car accident because of their reduced ability to drive, offset by the number who chose not to drive anymore. Some prefer to live in communities where one can walk to get what one needs, even though walking for some is as challenging as driving. Are city planners taking into account the growth of the older population and their differing needs for transportation? As one commentator noted “We cannot ignore the problem, because we will all be elderly one day.”

driving ages

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The Impact of Traffic-Related Air Pollution on the Lungs

Beijing smog as seen from the China World Hote...
Beijing smog as seen from the China World Hotel, March 2003, during the SARS outbreak. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Air pollution exposure and lung function in highly exposed subjects in Beijing, China: a repeated-measure study    (10 page pdf, Andrea A Baccarelli, Yinan Zheng, Xiao Zhang, Dou Chang, Lei Liu, Katherine Rose Wolf, Zhou Zhang, John P McCracken, Anaité Díaz, Pier Alberto Bertazzi, Joel Schwartz1, Sheng Wang, Choong-Min Kang, Petros Koutrakis and Lifang Hou, Particle and Fibre Toxicology, Oct. 2, 2014)

Today we review research based on measurements of various pollutants in Beijing, largely from vehicle emissions, and the extent to which these pollutants have an impact on lung function. Results indicate a clear link and the authors recommend ways to reduce exposure in this city as well as in other large cities with high pollution levels world-wide.
To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE
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