Photo Credit: Pexels Matthias Zomer

One in five residential homes in areas with high air pollution levels

Elderly vulnerable people in care homes are at risk from the polluted air surrounding care homes, according to a new study conducted by the British Lung Foundation (BLF).

According to the report released by the BLF, 59 per cent aged 65 and over reside in areas with harmful levels of PM2.5 pollution.

Furthermore, the report found that 26 per cent of care homes in England, alongside 3,000 medical centres are placed in areas where particulate matter levels exceed the World Health Organisation safe guidelines.

The organisation highlighted that the findings of this report are particularly worrying as the elderly are most at risk of the health effects air pollution causes, such as developing breathing difficulties and even asthma attacks or COPD.

Exposure increases the likelihood of premature death, a separate study revealing that 8.7 million premature deaths are caused by fossil fuel emissions alone. Other research has found air pollution can even cause neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s Disease.

In light of this study, Asthma UK and the BLF urge Government to produce a national health protection plan for England to be implemented by the newly reinstated air quality minister, in order to effectively safeguard the vulnerable from adverse effects of poor air quality.

The plan supports adequate air pollution training for health care professionals, and an alert system to inform both the public and medical centres. These are also targets of the WCRAQ Air Health working party.

Green organisations also call for government to commit to the WHO air pollution guidelines by 2030 in the context of the Environment Bill.

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