Poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the United Kingdom. Long-term exposure to air pollution can cause chronic conditions such as cardiovascular, respiratory diseases and cancer, leading to reduced life expectancy.
Air pollution has a particular impact on children as they grow. There is evidence that the process of normal lung function growth in children is suppressed by long-term exposure to air pollution.
The effects of air pollution on children’s health are being studied in research projects. The EXHALE Programme is a London study on air pollution and children’s lung health. The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants has started work to consider the evidence for the effects of air pollution on adverse birth outcomes. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health is working on a report on ‘Indoor Air Quality on Children and Young People’s Health across the Life Course’.