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Air Quality - Public Health Emergency?

19.01.2016 - In response to an air quality alert issued by London's Mayor Sadiq Khan warning of a "public health emergency", Professor Frank Kelly was interviewed by Vanessa Feltz on BBC Radio London.

Healthcare clean up of urban enviornment means tackling pollution at source

“Provision of accurate, personal air quality information to the individual is within our grasp in some major cities such as London, where there is knowledge of air pollution at a relatively fine scale,” says Professor Frank Kelly of King’s College London in a recent article in the Financial Times.

DNA study lays bare devastating damage caused by smoking
Professor David Phillips is a co-author on the first comprehensive study into the damage tobacco inflicts on human cells.
 
The devastating impact of cigarette smoke on the body’s DNA has been laid bare by the first comprehensive study into the damage tobacco inflicts on human cells.
 
People who smoke a pack of cigarettes each day for a year develop on average 150 extra mutations in every lung cell, and nearly 100 more mutations than usual in each cell of the voice box, researchers found. More still build up in the mouth, bladder, liver and other organs.
 
While chemicals in tobacco smoke have long been known to raise the risk of at least 17 forms of cancer, the precise molecular mechanisms through which they mutate DNA and give rise to tumours in different tissues have never been clear.
 
“This is about running down the root cause of cancers,” said David Phillips, a professor of environmental carcinogenesis at King’s College London and a co-author on the study. “By identifying the root causes, we gain the sort of knowledge we need to think more seriously about cancer prevention.”

 

Dr Anna Hansell interviewed on BBC2 Newsnight
On the 17th October, Dr. Anna Hansell, Assistant Director of Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU), Imperial College London was interviewed on BBC2 Newsnight.
 
The interview was part of a news item by David Grossman, Technology Editor, on how to respond to diesel emissions and reduce air pollution, above all in London and air quality monitoring- in particular nitrogen dioxide.
 
Dr. Anna Hansell's interview shows her explaining the effects that nitrogen dioxide has on the human body: increasing susceptibility to cardiovascular disease and respiratory infection, making you more prone to have an asthma attack if you already suffer from asthma or have sensitive lungs.
 
The sensitive topic of air pollution legislation is mentioned later in the news item. EU legislation of an annual mean of 40 micrograms per cubic metre of air was in place in 2010 but will not be enforced UK-wide until 2020 and not enforced in central London until 2025. 
Shirley Rodrigues and the Air Pollution Emergency

An article in the New India Times discussing pollution in London mentions research by King's Environmental Research Group.

 

" Sadiq Khan has named Shirley Rodrigues as deputy mayor for environment and energy.  Rodrigues is tasked with leading London's ambitious plans to seek solutions to chronic air pollution. Her new boss says this toxic air health emergency causes around 10,000 city residents to die each year. According to findings by Kings College, the shopping district around Oxford Street has the world's highest nitrogen dioxide levels, caused by diesel fumes. The same researchers warned the city had already breached its annual "safe" pollution limits by January 8, earlier this year".

Enough to make you choke

A ‘furious driver’ comments in the Daily Mail on diesel taxes and cites an estimate by Professor Frank Kelly that states diesel engines could be responsible for a quarter of the 29,000 premature deaths in Britain attributed to air pollution. Professor Kelly also comments on this story on the Today programme(01.16.00).

Barbecues make popular London park 'more polluted than city streets'

Residents near Highbury Fields in Islington have called on a ban on barbecuing in public parks because of the impact it may have on air pollution. The residents completed the study using monitoring equipment from King’s. This was also reported by the Times and the Guardian.

New 'T charge' is very welcome news

Professor Frank Kelly discussed in the London Evening Standard Sadiq Khan’s new plans to introduce a charge for vehicles which emit the most toxic fumes. ‘The new Mayor, Sadiq Khan’s, announcement…is very welcome news,’.

Will real-world emissions tests clean up diesel cars?

Professor Frank Kelly comments on whether new world emissions tests will help reduce diesel emissions in the guardian.

Diesel fumes poison babies in the womb

Professor Frank Kelly comments on research which claims that diesel fumes damage the brains of inner-city children.