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Air Quality in Reading Dr Tony Cowling 2012
How are we doing? • What do you think that air quality is doing in Reading • Improving, staying the same or degrading? • Are the current levels above or below European standards?
Reading Data for Nox 2008 - 2012 Almost level, a tiny increase
Statistically Significant • The charts have been analysed by a statistician and he has stated that the results show a genuine upward trend and that this is a real effect that we are seeing. • “Houston we have a problem”
The particulates problem • Particulates pollution in Reading is increasing worryingly fast. • The winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11 were very cold and we might have expected that during the warmer winter of 2011/12 particulates pollution levels might have dropped. Or at least not increased. • They didn’t so what would have happened had there been another cold winter?
Why worry about Particulates? • It's an invisible health crisis which causes thousands of premature deaths in the UK every year. It can lead to asthma, reduce lung capacity and trigger heart attacks. And our country's failure to adequately address the issue has forced the European commission to take legal action against us. The Guardian 2011
Health Effects • Increase in bronchial complaints • Risk to those with heart conditions • Very serious longer term risks as the particulates are known to be carcinogens.
Government Advice • Stay indoors!
Above is a snapshot of the air quality ug/m3 in March in Newtown, Reading. The most significant feature is that the air quality LV set by the EEC is 20 and is was worse or far worse than this for the entire month!
Six Cities Study http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199312093292401
Mortality rates were most strongly associated with cigarette smoking. After adjusting for smoking and other risk factors, we observed statistically significant and robust associations between air pollution and mortality. The adjusted mortality-rate ratio for the most polluted of the cities as compared with the least polluted was 1.26 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.08 to 1.47). Air pollution was positively associated with death from lung cancer and cardiopulmonary disease but not with death from other causes considered together. Mortality was most strongly associated with air pollution with fine particulates, including sulfates.
Conclusions • Although the effects of other, unmeasured risk factors cannot be excluded with certainty, these results suggest that fine-particulate air pollution, or a more complex pollution mixture associated with fine particulate matter, contributes to excess mortality….
The Thin End of a Wedge? • http://www.greenbuildingforum.co.uk/forum114/comments.php?DiscussionID=9305&page=1#Item_8