Some facts on the subject of pollution

1.    There are 8 main pollutants and they are:

·         Benzene

·         1,3-butadiene

·         Carbon Monoxide

·         Lead

·         Ozone

·         Particles (Particulate Matter = PM)

·         Sulphur Dioxide

2.    Traffic pollution focused on Particles & N02 (Nitrogen Dioxide)

3.    EU directive drives policy – Defra manages the process for the UK

4.    Currently Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) initiatives do not meet EU guidance

5.    The most difficult pollutant to reduce is N02 (Nitrogen Dioxide)

6.    The back-drop to policy change in the UK is to reduce the emphasis on local pollution data (eg 3 main streets in Watlington and increase the emphasis on collecting average data for a wide geographic area – presumably so there is a better chance of meeting EU guidelines and therefore not being fined

7.    It is difficult to link pollution in any given area with health impact

8.    The emphasis for Defra has been collection and reporting of the data and not impact assessment nor initiatives to reduce pollution

9.    Key diseases that are of focus: Asthma, Respiratory infection, Heart Disease and Lung Cancer

10. Air Quality management is focused on both in-door and out-door so need to be clear what SODC are discussing

11. Traffic Pollution N02 (Nitrogen Dioxide):

·         N02 (Nitrogen Dioxide) causes airway inflammation and is a known respiratory irritant (and nitrates are components of the particles)

·         EU level targets are 40ug/m3 annual levels and 200ug/m3 1-hour means

12. Traffic Pollution Particulate Matter (PM): Made up of sulphates, nitrates, ammonia, salt, carbon, minerals and water

·         Small particulates 2.5um in diameter (PM2.5); most dangerous as gets into the small lung airways (bronchioles) and is linked to heart and lung diseases and paediatric lung impairment [EU level targets are 10ug/m3 annual mean and 25ug/m3 24-hour mean). This pollutant mainly emanates from car fumes

·         Larger particles 10um in diameter (PM10); less dangerous as they don’t get into the small airways [EU level targets are 20ug/m3 annual mean and 50ug/m3 24-hour mean)

13. There is a Government Committee on the Medical Effects on Air Pollution (COMEAP)

14. There was a Government Consultation Process (July-Sept 2013) focused on LAQM – this was the group that were widening the monitoring area

15. There is also a new pollutant that has been discussed Toxic Organic Micro-Pollutants – these are produced by incomplete combustion of road transport fuels 

·         PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydocarbons)

·         PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls)

16.  Asthma UK policies include

·         Imposing stricter standards for vehicle emissions

·         Expanding low emission zones

·         Incentives to introduce low emission vehicles

·         Maintaining (expanding) congestion charges in urban areas

·         Continue to measure pollutants

·         Reduction in emissions from small industrial plants, ships, stubble burning

Asthma UK Statements

"Traffic pollution as a cause of asthma"

Airborne pollutants, particularly traffic emissions, have a harmful effect on people with asthma. This paper defines our position on whether traffic pollution causes asthma in the light of recent research evidence.

We already know that traffic fumes can trigger asthma symptoms and asthma attacks in people who already have the condition. Until recently, however, there has not been strong evidence that traffic fumes can cause asthma. That evidence is now emerging and the strongest evidence associates the development of asthma with residence near roads with heavy traffic and particularly with vehicles such as diesel fuelled buses and lorries, which are the source of most particulate matter pollution (PM2.5 and PM10).

Recent research shows, for the first time, that traffic pollution probably plays a role in causing asthma in children Specific pollut.ants mentioned in the studies include PM2.5, NO2 and ‘soot’ (particulates above PM2.5 in size).

Some studies have also suggested a link with adult-onset asthma.[vi] [vii] [viii] In adults, the development of asthma is associated with exposure to traffic fumes, where people live rather than at the workplace or while travelling, particularly to PM10 and NO2.

"Asthma UK believes that traffic pollution plays a role in causing asthma in children and adults"

What people with asthma say ...

"66% of people with asthma say that traffic fumes trigger their asthma symptoms 71% of people with asthma feel that the Government isn’t doing enough to reduce traffic fumes 34% of people with asthma tell us that traffic fumes discourage them from exercising in the open air 21% of people with asthma tell us that traffic fumes discourage them from cycling 42% of people with asthma tell us that traffic fumes discourage them from walking/shopping in congested areas 29% say that a reduction in air pollution is the single thing that would make the most difference to their quality of life in relation to their asthma"