According to new information published by the British Lung Foundation and Asthma UK six million people in the UK who are over 65 are at high risk of asthma attacks and possible lung damage due to exposure to fine particulate pollution. These pollutants are classified by particle size with those of less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) being of particular concern. The particles are so small that they can become lodged in the lungs and even pass into the bloodstream. The WHO classifies airborne particulates as Group 1 carcinogens and studies have shown that pollutants of this size give rise to increased levels of lung cancer.
Particulate pollution is produced in a number of ways including road dust produced by vehicles and the internal combustion engine.
The World Health Organisation recommends that concentrations of PM2.5 should not exceed 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air. The BLF and Asthma UK looked at care home locations across the UK and found that in 36 local authorities every single care home was within an area where PM2.5 WHO limits were exceeded. In addition, there are 3000 hospitals and GP practices within areas where WHO limits are exceeded.