Thousands of deaths caused by pollution predicted for next decade

PUBLISHED: 11:11 18 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:11 18 February 2020

Photo: Tuned_In/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Photo: Tuned_In/Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Thousands of deaths caused by pollution were predicted by a UK charity for the region.

According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF), more than 15,000 heart and circulatory disease deaths caused by particulate air polution could be recorded in the East of England for the next decade, unless the government takes "bold action".

Essex was identified as the East of England county with the highest number of air pollution-related deaths over the next ten years: 4,900. By comparison, Cambridgeshire's were recorded at 1,900, Hertfordshire's at 2,400, Bedforshire's at 1,400, Suffolk's at 2,300 and Norfolk's at 3,000.

The charity is calling for stricter air pollution limits and calls the problem "a major public health emergency", which must be urgently addressed through the adoption of World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines into UK law - and met by 2030.

The call comes as BHF has launched a campaign called 'You're full of it', to highlight the dangerous levels of air pollution inhaled in the UK daily. The consequences include an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke, with research funded by the charity showing that particulate matter builds up in the human body, including in the fatty plaques of diseased arteries.

Jacob West, executive director of healthcare innovation at the British Heart Foundation, said:

"Every day, millions of us across the country are inhaling toxic particles which enter our blood and get stuck in our organs, raising our risk of heart attacks and stroke. Make no mistake - our toxic air is a public health emergency, and we haven't done enough to tackle this threat to our society.

"Decision makers across the country owe it to future generations to help stop this alarming figure from becoming a reality. That's why we are urging people to contact their MP and demand a change in the law."

Dr Mark Miller, a British Heart Foundation-funded researcher, specialising in air pollution, said: "While there is no safe level of air pollution exposure, adopting stricter guidelines will do a great deal to protect our health, allowing people to live healthier lives for longer."

Should you want to join the BHF's campaign against toxic air, please visit www.bhf.org.uk/demandchange.

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