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Local particulate air pollution dangerously high today

Thursday 1 December 2016

Pollution levels recorded locally at 1pm today are the highest recorded of any UK urban areas outside Central London. The air pollution in question is from PM10 and PM2.5 particles. A recording of 67µgm-3 for PM2.5 particles puts it at 9 on a scale of 10 and dangerously high. The comparable figure for PM10 particles is 81, which is at 7 on a scale of 10 – still very high. The location of the recording is at St Paul’s Nursery School on Little Bishop Street.

Airborne particulate matter varies widely in its physical and chemical composition, source and particle size. PM10 particles (the fraction of particulates in air of very small size (<10 µm)) and PM2.5 particles (<2.5 µm) are of major current concern, as they are small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs and so potentially pose significant health risks. The principal source of airborne PM10 and PM2.5 matter in European cities is road traffic emissions, particularly from diesel vehicles.

People with heart or lung diseases, older adults and children are most likely to be affected by particle pollution exposure. However, even if you are healthy, you may feel temporary symptoms if you are exposed to high levels of particle pollution. Numerous scientific studies connect particle pollution exposure to a variety of health issues, including:
• irritation of the eyes, nose and throat
• coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath
• reduced lung function
• irregular heartbeat
• asthma attacks
• heart attacks
• premature death in people with heart or lung disease

The air pollution is being concentrated because of the very calm weather and temperature inversion related to frosty conditions.

And to think they wanted to build diesel-powered power stations in the area…


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