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Every breath we take: The lifelong impact of air pollution

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Every breath we take report coverToday the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) released the report “Every breath we take: The lifelong impact of air pollution”. The report covers the health effects of air pollution across our lifetime, from before birth to old age. The issue of air pollution is very important. In the UK around 40,000 deaths a year are estimated to be attributable to outdoor air pollution. However the report emphasises that air pollution is not just an outdoors problem. We spend most of our time indoors, so pollution of indoor spaces such as homes, workplaces and schools is just as crucial.

In addition to activities like heating, cooking and smoking, indoor sources of air pollution include fittings and furnishings. Solvents that seep from paints, plastics and furnishings can expose home occupants to indoor air pollution. We need to consider the effect that the products we bring into the home may have on indoor air quality.

Recommendations for action are included in the report. Maintenance of good ventilation and controlling the sources of indoor air pollution are major priorities. Source control can include choosing items that have been proven to be low emission products.

The report has received widespread media attention. As our mission is to prevent ill health caused by exposure to indoor air pollutants, airmid healthgroup welcomes the publication of this report and the focus it brings to the issue of indoor air quality.

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Royal College of Physicians. Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution. Report of a working party. London: RCP, 2016.