Respiratory Disease

Influenza, pneumonia, air pollution

One of the preventable big killers – though preventable in a difficult way that you may have to sacrifice your job, community and city life to avoid it.

I’ll keep track on these pages of big studies on mortality and also any studies on effectiveness of masks or other measures that could reduce the impact.


Real time Air Quality map – World Air Quality Index (AQI)

Consumer Grade Air Quality Monitors

Must be able to monitor PM2.5



Latest News

Air pollution directly linked to child’s death – BBC News – 3-Jul-2018
Nine-year-old girl suffered a fatal asthma attack.
Attack linked to illegally high levels of air pollution.
Child lived 25m (80ft) from a notorious pollution hotspot.
Local air pollution levels breached EU legal limits.
No individual death has previously been directly linked to air pollution.
Striking association between her admissions and spikes NO2 & PM10s.
Mother says no one explained that air pollution worsen the asthma.

Face masks may be ineffective against air pollution – Reuters – 3-May-2018
Face masks vary widely in their real-world performance.
Filter tiny particles as advertised but suffer from leakage.
Face size and shape plus movement can lead to 68 percent leakage.
Masks sold for workplace use generally must meet rigorous standards.
Masks don’t reduce the concentration of pollution gases.

Wall of moss to fight air pollution – The Argus – 3-Apr-2018
CityTree to sit above a bench in Edward Street, Brighton, UK.
Wall incorporates varieties of moss which naturally absorb pollution.
CityTree has same air purifying power as 275 real trees.
Powered by solar panels and collects rainwater for inbuilt irrigation.

Cleaning products linked to poorer lung function – BBC News – 16-Feb-2018
Regular exposure to cleaning products significantly affects lung function.
Chemicals cause long-term damage the mucous membranes that line the airways of the lungs.
Most cleaning chemicals are unnecessary.
Microfiber cloths and water are enough for most purposes.
6,000 adults were followed for more than 20 years.

Wood-burning stoves face curbs under government proposals – Financial Times – 21-Dec-2017

About 40 per cent of harmful particulate matter emitted in the UK comes from the burning of wood and coal in home Increased popularity of wood-burning stoves and other traditional fires.Damp wood is less energy efficient than dry wood and produces more smoke. Environmental interest groups are lobbying for a prohibition on the smokiest type of coal.Government is expected to launch a consultation in the new year.

Why do we put up with polluting cars that kill us? – The Guardian – 11-Dec-2017
What possible justification could be for allowing unchecked ownership of petrol and diesel vehicles ?
Knowing all we do about the damage wrought by burning fossil fuels – both to our immediate health and to the long-term viability of our habitat – it would seem an act of obscene, destructive decadence.
We might not be able to save the planet by driving less frequently, but we could make a meaningful difference to our and others’ health.

New UK map of air pollution provides insights into NO2 levels – Science Daily – 30-Nov-2017
MappAir® is the first ever high resolution nationwide map of air pollution.
Combining data from satellites and its own air quality monitoring sensors together with open source data, EarthSense has used complex modelling techniques to create the highly accurate map
MappAir® can provide a street-view to city-wide visualisation of air pollution, and is the first in a series of nationwide products that are coming to market in the next year.

Airbubbl aims to clean air inside our cars – BBC News – 9-Nov-2017
Cars trap nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and soot-like particles.
Air intake ir near the exhaust of car in front of you.
Airbubbl removes nitrogen dioxide and pollutants.
Kickstarter campaign launched – 50% to early birds.

The Kiwi face mask breathing new life into clean air – The Spinoff – 17-Oct-2017
O2O2 Facewear is on the forefront of anti-pollution technology, it comes to replace multi-billion dollar industry of woven cloth masks .
It cleans the air of pollutants and pathogens using the nanofibers developed with Revolution Fibres.
The facewear then engineers the air by using a fan to create positive air pressure behind a clear shield to protect the user without needing any seal.

UK-Dutch-built satellite to track air quality – BBC News – 13-Oct-2017
Sentinel-5P is a UK-assembled and Dutch-designed satellite launched from Russia.
It is an instrument which will make 20 million observations daily, building maps of polluting gases and particles known to be harmful to health.
One major use for the data will be in delivering air quality forecasts, including providing warnings when citizens are likely to encounter problems like smog or high UV (ultraviolet light) levels.

Air pollution blamed for 500,000 early deaths in Europe in 2014 – New Scientist – 12-Oct-217
According to European Environment Agency filthy air killed half a million people in Europe prematurely in 2014.
Air pollution is the single largest environmental health risk in Europe.
The two worst hotspots for PM2.5 pollution were Poland and northern Italy, where dozens of cities exceeded the EU’s annual mean limit of 25 micrograms of particles per cubic metre of air.

8 conditions made worse by pollution outdoors – WebMD – 11-Oct-2017
1. High blood pressure
2. Heart conditions and strokes
3. Dementia
4. Asthma
5. Lung conditions and COPD
6. Cancer
7. Type 2 diabetes
8. Pregnancy

London Mayor calls for ban on wood-burning stoves – The Guardian – 29-Sep-2017
According to research domestic wood burning contributed half the toxic emissions in some areas of London in January.
It is estimated that between a quarter and a third of all of London’s fine-particle pollution comes from domestic wood burning.
Sadiq Khan has asked the environment department to amend the Clean Air Act to allow for the creation of zero-emission zones where the burning of solid fuel is not allowed from 2025 onwards.

Lung cancer deaths to double in non-smokers – Independent – 12-Aug-2017
A new study by the Royal Brompton Hospital and Harefield NHS Trust in London claims that deaths from lung cancer increased twice among non smokers.
Smoking is an established cause of cancer but according to study air pollution is the another possible cause.
Cancer Research UK estimates that pollution accounts for 3,500 cases of lung cancer each year.

Cruise ship air quality worse than polluted cities – Independent – 4-Jul-2017

Each day a cruise ship emits as much particulate matter as a million cars.
Air on the deck downwind of the ship’s funnels had 84,000 ultra-fine particulates per cubic centimetre.
Figure for London’s Piccadilly Circus was only 38,400.
Short term exposure can cause increasing respiratory symptoms.

Flow is a wearable air pollution tracker that might help you live longer – Wareable – 3-Jan-2017
Small memory stick-like dongle.
Crowdsources data with other devices to build a map of air quality.
Tracks PM2.5, NOx, Ozone and VOCs.
Glanceable LED interface as well as app.
The Flow will launch later this year, with a price yet to be announced.

Can we rely on DIY air pollution sensors? – The Conversation – 2-Dec-2016
There has been a rapid growth of small, inexpensive sensors, but do they measure what users think they are measuring?
Readings can be affected by conditions such as varying temperatures or relative humidity.
If we rely on poor measurements and reach incorrect conclusions, we will fail to protect public health.

Giant air cleaner unveiled – BBC – 26-Oct-2016
Envinity Group has unveiled a large outside air purifier that can clean about 800,000 cubic metres of air per hour.
8m long steel industrial filter works like a big vacuum cleaner.
Sucks in air from a 300m radius and up to 7km above.
Filter out 100% of fine particles and 95% of ultra-fine particles.
About 90% of EU residents are said to be exposed to high levels of such particles.

World’s largest air purifier to clean up smog in China – Wired – 3-Oct-2016
Daan Roosegaarde’s seven-metre purifier has been installed in Beijing 751 D.Park
Smog Free Tower is the largest air purifier in the world.
Cleans 30 m3 per hour using ozone-free ion technology.
Captures and collects more than 75 per cent of the PM2.5 and PM10 airborne smog particles.

Health of more than 90% of world’s population affected by air pollution – Independent – 27-Sep-2016
Interactive map produced by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Vast areas of the world are bathed in tiny particles from pollutants such as sulphate, nitrates and black carbon.
These PM2.5 and PM10 particles can cause heart attacks, strokes and lung cancer.
In England, only the rural north-west and parts of Cornwall and Devon are below WHO safety limit.
ClientEarth is using the courts to force governments to uphold people’s right to clean air.
COMMENT: its surprising that there isn’t a big orange patch over London

Link Between Air Pollution and Stroke Risk – Fight Aging! – 10-Jun-2016
10 leading risk factors for stroke:
– high blood pressure
– diet low in fruit
– high body mass index (BMI)
– diet high in sodium
– smoking
– diet low in vegetables
– environmental air pollution
– household pollution from solid fuels
– diet low in whole grains
– high blood sugar
10% of disability associated with stroke is linked to air pollution.
This is only half of the risk attributed to smoking.
Data from the Global Burden of Disease Study to estimate the disease burden of stroke associated with 17 risk factors in 188 countries.
COMMENT: consider buying a PM2.5 air filter for your home

Farming is biggest cause of worst type of air pollution in Europe – Guardian – 17-May-2016
When nitrogen compounds from farming mix with air already polluted from industry, they combine to form solid PM2.5 particles.
Nitrogen compounds come from fertilisers  and animal waste.
PM2.5 particles penetrate deep into people’s lungs and can cause breathing problems and also heart disease.

Benefits of exercise outweigh air pollution – BBC News – 5-May-2016
You breath more during exercise – so what if the air you’re breathing is polluted?
Cambridge University have used computer simulations to balance the harm and benefits.
In a typical city you’d have to cycle for 7 hours, or walk 16, in a day before the air pollution cancelled out the benefit of exercise.
Air pollution contributes to 40,000 early deaths each year in the UK.
Regular exercise reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and several cancers.
Dr James Woodcock added: “It is not an argument for inaction in combating pollution.”

How bad is UK air pollution? (VIDEO) – BBC News – 1-Mar-2016
Market towns as well as big cities regularly breaking EU nitrogen dioxide limits.
Problem similar to 1950s smog – but is invisible.
Simulation shows canyon effect trapping vehicle pollutants between tall buildings.
Linked to heart and lung disease as well as strokes.

Air pollutants in our homes claim thousands of lives – Telegraph – 20-Feb-2016
Indoor air pollution contributes to 99,000 deaths annually in Europe.
Causes include:
1. carbon monoxide from faulty boilers and heaters
2. particulates and nitrogen oxides from heating and cooking appliances
3. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in air fresheners, deodorants and cleaning products.

Polluted air causes 5.5 million deaths a year – BBC News – 13-Feb-2016
Most of these deaths in rapidly developing economies.
In Beijing or Delhi PM2.5 levels can be 10 times recommended limit.
In the US for every dollar spent on air improvements there is between $4-$30 benefit in reduced health impacts

Indoor air purifiers may aid heart patients – Reuters – 28-May-2015
Significant improvements in inflammation and blood clotting after only 48 hours

Court orders UK to cut NO2 air pollution – BBC News – 29-Apr-15
29,000  early deaths a year in the UK from air pollution – more than obesity and alcohol combined

Breathe Cam Lets Citizens Document Pittsburgh’s Visual Air Pollution and Its Sources – Breathe Project – 3-Dec-14

The Breathe Project is a coalition of residents, businesses, government and many other groups in southwestern Pennsylvania that are working together to clean up our air for the health of our families and economy.

Air pollution to blame for 60,000 early deaths per year – The Independent – 30-Nov-14

EU court rules UK government must clean up dangerous air pollution  – The Guardian – 19-Nov-14


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