Study links more than 1,000 deaths in Liverpool to air pollution

Air pollution is linked to more than 1,000 deaths in the Liverpool region every year, new research suggests

  • Study linked more than 1,000 deaths a year to air pollution in Liverpool region
  • The link was made in a study commissioned by the British Lung Foundation (BLF)
  • Traffic pollution was identified as the primary source of the toxic air in the area

More than 1,000 deaths a year can be linked directly to air pollution in the Liverpool region, researchers have claimed.

Primary school children born in Liverpool from 2011 could have a reduced life expectancy of up to five months on average as a result, a study commissioned by the British Lung Foundation (BLF) found.

Traffic pollution was identified as the primary source of the toxic air.

The British Lung Foundation found primary school children born in Liverpool from 2011 could have a reduced life expectancy of up to five months on average as a result of air pollution. (Stock image)

All the local authority areas in the city region – Knowsley, Halton, Liverpool City, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral – had areas that either breached legal pollution limits set by the EU, or exceeded World Health Organisation guidelines.

Up to 1,040 deaths a year were linked to exposure to dirty air, according to the report by King’s College London and UK100, a network of local authorities.

The Government recognises air pollution is the greatest environmental cause of harm to health, contributing to 36,000 early deaths annually, the BLF said.

Similar recent studies showed there were up to 709 deaths annually in Birmingham linked to air pollution, and 1,459 in Manchester.

Researchers examined levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fine particulate matter – the air pollution most harmful to human health – across the Liverpool region.

They found the greatest impact was on the poorest households, in areas with the highest concentrations. Car ownership was low among these groups, meaning those most affected were the least responsible.

Liverpool is one of 62 local authority areas ordered by the Government to reduce NO2 levels.

The primary source of the toxic air was identified as traffic pollution. (Stock image)

Zak Bond, of the BLF, said: ‘Liverpool has some of the highest levels of lung disease and deprivation in the country. We need politicians to remove the dirtiest vehicles from the most polluted roads.’

Dr Rob Barnett, of Greenbank Road Surgery in the city, said: ‘A patient in their mid-twenties had long-standing breathing problems.

‘Their job took them overseas for six months. Within a week, their symptoms had subsided, and they required no medication. Within weeks of returning to Liverpool, their symptoms had returned.’

Air quality scientist Dr David Dajnak, of King’s College London, said: ‘In Liverpool city region, people’s lives are being cut short. The most vulnerable could benefit the most from immediate, ambitious actions to reduce air pollution.’

 

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