Health impact of PM10 studied as London breaches limit

Air quality monitoring in Upper Thames Street, London, has detected more ‘bad air days’ in six months than EU air quality legislation permits in a year

Air quality monitoring in Upper Thames Street, London, has detected more ‘bad air days’ in six months than EU air quality legislation permits in a year.

The monitoring site is one of nine that last year overshot the allotted 35 days in which levels of coarse particulates (PM10) can exceed a 24-hour mean value of 50 micrograms per cubic metre.

The breach poses a problem for the government’s efforts to gain more time to meet the limit, which entered force in 2005 (ENDS Report 424, p 25). To do so, it must persuade the European Commission that no more breaches will occur after June 2011.

Meanwhile, the Mayor of London has published a report by the Institute of Occupational Medicine estimating deaths attributable to fine particulate pollution (PM2.5).1

The report gives a detailed breakdown for each London ward. On average, Londoners could live three weeks longer if PM2.5 levels were cut by just one microgram per cubic metre against the current average of 15µg/m3.

The report concludes the pollutant had an impact on mortality equivalent to 4,267 premature deaths in 2008, within a range of 756 to 7,965.

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