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Six million at risk of lung damage due to air pollution

Six million aged over 65 in England are at high risk of lung damage and asthma attacks due to dirty air, new report reveals

Older people and those with lung disease are most vulnerable to the effects of pollution but are also the most often exposed, a document published by the British Lung Foundation and Asthma UK.

This comes as MPs demand the government to set tougher targets for air pollution to be set in the delayed Environment Bill, in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) air quality guidelines.

The British Lung Foundation and Asthma UK found air pollution across the country tended to be highest around care homes, and in 36 local authorities, every single care home is located in PM2.5 hotspots where limits exceed the recommended WHO levels, including Epping Forrest, Dartford, Reading, Slough, and Watford.

Medical Director of the British Lung Foundation, Dr Nick Hopkinson highlights the health impacts of air pollution, estimating that up to 40,000 premature deaths each year can be attributed to poor air quality.

‘Older people are more likely to be exposed to particulates and we know that air quality is worse where poor people live,’ Hopkinson elaborated.

Air pollution increases the likelihood of a person developing lung cancer and heart disease. There is also a link between toxic air and cognitive decline, including dementia.

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