Air pollution 'kills 13,000 per year' says study
NHS Choices Behind the Headlines, 2012
Hundreds of conditions explained Over 100 topics on healthy living Help for those looking after others Health news stories unspun Don't miss out ...
Research estimates vehicle exhaust kills 5,000 each year in the UK
“Air pollution from exhaust fumes kills more than twice as many people as road accidents,” The Daily Telegraph has reported.
The paper said that around 1,850 people die in traffic accidents annually, but that each year over 5,000 people will die as a result of heart attacks and lung cancer caused by vehicle exhaust fumes.
These estimates are based on a study that modelled the levels of pollution across the UK and predicted its impact on premature deaths.
The study combined UK and EU emissions data with models of weather and the ways in which chemicals disperse.
According to the model, pollution from overall UK combustion emissions causes approximately 13,000 premature deaths a year, with road transport being the biggest source.
Long-term exposure to particulate matter (pollution) has been associated with premature death in many previous studies.
By analysing the spread of people across the country, this new research provides an interesting estimate of how the UK population is specifically affected.
In particular, although particulate matter has been associated with premature mortality in other studies, a definitive cause-and-effect link has not yet been demonstrated.
The study was carried out by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.