Every breath we take

The lifelong impact of air pollution in the UK

Each year in the UK, around 40,000 deaths are attributable to exposure to outdoor air pollution, with more linked also to exposure to indoor pollutants.

Air pollution plays a role in many of the major health challenges of our day, and has been linked to cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and changes linked to dementia.

Neither the concentration limits set by government, nor the World Health Organization’s air quality guidelines, define levels of exposure that are entirely safe for the whole population. When our patients are exposed to such a clear and avoidable cause of death, illness and disability, it is our duty as doctors to speak out.

Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution, Royal College of Physicians, 23 February 2016.

The report by the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health examines the impact of exposure to air pollution across the course of a lifetime. It sets out the dangerous impact air pollution is currently having on our health of citizens in the UK.


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