The British Heart Foundation (BHF) have issued a press release which claims that heart attack and stroke deaths related to air pollution could exceed 160,000 by 2030. The charity says air pollution presents a major public health emergency which the Government must urgently address.
What is the basis for this claim? It relies on an “estimate” of deaths attributable to particulate air pollution and on research they have funded. One of those research studies looked at how nanoparticles of gold were absorbed into the blood after inhalation and were retained for some time. They claim this is analogous to PM2.5 particulates in vehicle emissions. But they don’t prove any link to actual heart disease or deaths. Other studies of the impact of small particulates have failed to show any impact on health or life expectancy.
The BHF is a typical large charity that raised £138 million last year. Only 72% of the money raised was actually spent on medical research or other charitable activities. The rest was spent on fund raising. It is a very professionally run organisation with a well-designed web site. The CEO got paid £211,105 in 2108-19.
They are effectively using such scare-mongering to raise funds for the charity by running a “toxic air campaign” if you look at their web site. In other words, they have a direct financial incentive to promote this idea and exaggerate the impact of air pollution on health. They have jumped on the bandwagon of all the air pollution scaremongers.
Vehicles will no doubt get the blame for these scares, but in reality air pollution from vehicles has negligible impact on people’s health or life expectancy. See https://www.abd.org.uk/air-quality-vehicles-truth/ for the evidence.
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