Monday December 17, 2018

Children at 800 Schools, Nurseries and Colleges in London being exposed to illegal levels of Air Pollution: Report

The study, commissioned by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, suggests thousands more children and young people are at risk from toxic air than previously thought

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School children, Wikimedia
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London, Feb 25, 2017:  Tens of thousands of children at over 800 schools, nurseries and colleges in London are being exposed to illegal levels of air pollution that risk causing lifelong health problems, a media report said on Saturday.

A study identified 802 educational institutions where pupils as young as three are being exposed to levels of nitrogen dioxide that breach European Union (EU) legal limits and which the government accepts are harmful to health, the Guardian said in the report.

The study, commissioned by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, suggests thousands more children and young people are at risk from toxic air than previously thought.

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Khan said the results were devastating and warned that it was the capital’s poorest children who were bearing the brunt of the air pollution crisis.

“It is an outrage that more than 800 schools, nurseries and other educational institutions are in areas breaching legal air pollution limits,” he said.

“This is an environmental challenge, a public health challenge but also – and no one talks about this – it is fundamentally an issue of social justice. If you are a poor Londoner you are more likely to suffer from illegal air.”

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Khan called for the government to introduce a clean air act and for a diesel scrappage scheme to take polluting cars off the road quickly, the Guardian report added.

The study shows 802 out of 3,261 nurseries, primary and secondary schools and higher education colleges, are within 150 metres of nitrogen dioxide pollution levels that exceed the EU legal limit of 40 micrograms per cubic metre of air.

A third of state nursery schools in the capital (27), nearly 20 per cent of primaries (360) and 18 per cent of secondary schools (79) are in areas where toxic levels of nitrogen dioxide threaten children’s health.

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Of the further education colleges in the capital, 43 per cent (30) were in areas of illegally toxic levels of nitrogen dioxide.

The study, based on modelling of data from 2013, was carried out by experts from the environmental research group at King’s College London and Aether, the environmental data analysts. (IANS)

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Exposure To Air Pollution Linked To Breast cancer: Study

Government can plan for new designs for industrial and commercial facilities to cut down on the occupational exposures.

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Air pollution shortens life by more than one year in India. Wikimedia Commons

Women working near busy roads are at high risk of developing breast cancer, due to traffic-related air pollution, researchers have warned.

The team, from University of Stirling in Scotland, analysed the case of a woman who developed breast cancer after spending 20 years working as a border guard at the busiest commercial border crossing in North America.

The woman was one of, at least, five other border guards who developed breast cancer within 30 months of each other and, at another nearby crossing, a cluster of seven other cases was noted.

Pollution, pollutants, India, air pollution, WHO, diwali
India’s Rashtrapati Bhawan, or the Presidential Palace is partly visible due to smog as traffic plies on Rajapth, the ceremonial boulevard in New Delhi. VOA

According to Michael Gilbertson, the findings “infer a causal relationship” between breast cancer and very high exposures to traffic-related air pollution containing mammary carcinogens. A link between nightshift work and cancer was also identified.

“This new research indicates the role of traffic-related air pollution in contributing to the increasing incidence of breast cancer in the general population,” Gilbertson said.

The group of women all developed a cancer believed to have been caused by exhaust fumes in what researchers have branded a ‘new occupational disease’.

There is a one in 10,000 chance the cases were a coincidence, the study published in the journal New Solutions said, because the cancers were all so similar and close together.

air pollution, breast cancer
Breast cancer cell, Wikimedia Commons

A review of previous research confirmed that BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes — which try to stop tumours growing — can be “silenced” by exposures to dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – both found in exhaust fumes.

BRCA2 gets rapidly degraded in the presence of aldehydes – also components of exhaust fumes.

Also Read: Chemotherapy May Not Be Needed To Treat Breast Cancer: Study

“There is much more research to be undertaken,” Gilbertson said. “But we now have plausible mechanisms for inferring how the BRCA1/2 tumour suppressors in this highly-exposed border guard became dysfunctional and likely contributed to the ongoing epidemic of sporadic, early onset, premenopausal breast cancer among her colleagues.

“With this new knowledge, industry and government can plan for new designs for industrial and commercial facilities to cut down on the occupational exposures to traffic-related air pollution,” Gilbertson said. (IANS)