Pollution causes premature deaths, says environment agency

Air pollution reduces life expectancy in the UK by six months, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has warned.

At a conference to mark the first World Environmental Health Day in September, David Kidney, CIEH head of policy, warned that in 2008 nearly 29,000 people died prematurely because of air pollution, with London alone accounting for 4,000 deaths.

“Poor air quality, both indoor and outdoor, is a major cause of ill health and can cause asthma and even death,” he said.

In a separate development, research has argued that high pollution levels are linked to an increase in the risk of heart attack.

High pollution levels can heighten the risk of having a heart attack for up to six hours after exposure, the study published on the British Medical Journal website concluded.

However, the researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that there was no increased risk after the six-hour timeframe.

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