LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Independent research from Imperial College and Kings College London has demonstrated that closing the shop the door to air pollution on the street during trading hours results in a one-third reduction in the levels of three airborne pollutants hazardous to health - PM2.5 (particulates smaller than 2.5 microns), black carbon particulates and NO2 (Nitrogen Dioxide gas).
This is important because:
- Serious health risks are associated with high levels of air pollution - a particular problem across UK towns and cities due to diesel vehicle emissions(1)
- Diesel vehicle exhaust is classified by the World Health Organisation as a Group 1 carcinogen
- Air pollution caused 29,000 deaths across the UK in 2008(2), and many times that amount of related hospital admissions. The annual number is rising.
- These included 4,300 deaths in London(3). By comparison, 4,000 deaths in the Great Smog of 1952 led to radical action and the Clean Air Act of 1956
- The damaging components of airborne pollution are now largely invisible, odourless and tasteless, leaving people unaware of their presence
- Airborne particulates (PM2.5 and PM10) from diesel emissions are small enough to cross the lung lining and enter the blood stream, to affect the lungs, heart, brain and other organs. NO2 (gas) in air pollution is similarly hazardous to health (1,2,4)
- Closing the shop door is a simple, immediate step to significantly reduce exposure to the serious health risks of high levels of air pollution across our towns and cities, while the complicated issue of cleaning up the air outside is resolved.
(footnotes see here)
About the study
- Independent research, carried out in 2014 on Regent Street, London
- Conducted by the MRC-PHE Centre for Environment & Health, Imperial College and King's College London
- Originally proposed by the Close the Door campaign
Further comments from:
Dr Ben Barratt, KCL