Air pollution causes 40,000 deaths each year, report claims

23 February 2016        

Air pollution

Around 40,000 deaths a year are linked to air pollution, according to a report.

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) state in the report that there is no level of exposure that can be seen to be safe, with any exposure carrying an associated risk.

Research that we have funded has shown that that air pollution can make existing heart conditions worse and can cause heart attacks and strokes amongst vulnerable people. 

Professor Jeremy Pearson, our Associate Medical Director, said: “This report adds to the growing body of evidence that shows the detrimental impact that air pollution is having on the public’s health. Our research has shown that both long-term and short-term exposure to air pollution can increase people’s risk of a heart attack or stroke and worsen existing heart conditions. Using this evidence, we need to work in partnership with the Government and other health bodies to identify robust measures to tackle many of the causes of harmful air pollution including our congested roads.”

Air pollution research

Last year, research from BHF Professor David Newby found that recent exposure to air pollution increases the risk of hospitalisation or death from stroke. 

Read more about how air pollution affects our hearts