Am I – and my family – at risk? DRAFT

There is no safe level for air pollution.
But some groups of people are more at risk. Both from spikes, and with ongoing levels of dirty air:

Children and young people have lungs that are growing (until age 20).
Younger people are physically smaller, and breathe faster – so air pollution has worse effects.
And the bad effects continue when individuals get older: a 72-year follow-up study (wow! ) from Scotland has found that higher air pollution exposure in early life is associated with worse health among older adults.

People with lung and/or heart problems get worse more quickly with dirty air.

Older people were children in the dirty years before the 1956 Clean Air Act.
Their growing lungs were affected all those decades ago.
And their bodies (its not just lungs!) are more affected by dirty air now.

Deprivation and ethnicity. Those exposed to the worst air pollution – and so most at risk – are more likely to live in deprived areas.
The same is true for those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities.

But, just to repeat, there is no safe level of air pollution – and everyone is at risk:

For example, when there are higher pollution levels (though still within WHO limits) adolescent elite football players have been found to run less in matches, have higher heart rates, perceive increased exertion and report reduced wellness the next morning. Adult football players make less passes when particulate matter (PM10) is higher.
These effects cant only be for football players – but must effect other athletes!


If you’re in a high risk group, please sign up for a free bad-air-spike advisory service like

You’ll get specific advice – tailored to whatever postcode you supplied.
Maybe check out spikes at your work, as well as your home?
If your grandma doesnt have a smart phone, either get her one – or make sure you keep an eye out for spikes where she lives?

There’s evidence that the bad effects of bad spikes continue for AT LEAST FOUR or FIVE days after the spike. Keep alert during those days, even if you are (somehow!?) sure the air pollution is less bad

Though high spikes are bad, even ‘low’ continuing levels of air pollution can cause problems!
Even for people who arent in the high risk groups.

Please don’t stop sport! Its still more healthy to be active, even if you live somewhere as filthy as I do! But runners should avoid running along busy roads. And footballers could avoid walking home along busy roads after a match – at least ensure you’ve cooled down fully so your breathing and heart rate is back to normal, and you’re not gulping down even more pollution.

Do you want to know whether the area where you live is a problem?
Click here.

If you are very short of breath or have chest pain, please call 999.
If you have any symptoms that youre concerned about, please call 111 or your GP.

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