Cleanzine: your weekly cleaning and hygiene industry newsletter 16th March 2023 Issue no. 1056
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Pollution damages health of street cleaning crews and other outdoor workers
New research from King's College London proves that people are needlessly suffering thanks to air pollution levels which are higher in nine major English cities than they are elsewhere.
The research shows that hospital admittances related to cardiac arrests, strokes and severe asthma attacks increase during key periods when pollution is at its greatest.
Commenting on the data from King's College London, Matthew Holder, British Safety Council head of campaigns, said: "The more we learn about the health impacts of air pollution, the more concerning it becomes. The latest research from King's College London provides evidence that even relatively short-term exposure to air pollution at high levels causes immediate and serious health conditions.
"At the British Safety Council, a charity focused on occupational issues, we are very concerned about the health of outdoor workers who spend week after week in the ambient environment, breathing in toxic air. Outdoor workers face a potentially higher risk of heart attacks, strokes and acute asthma than many people who live and work in our cities."
In March 2019, the British Safety Council launched its Time to Breathe campaign, which is focused on the protection of outdoor workers from air pollution. The cornerstone of the campaign is Canairy, the first mobile app that gives outdoor workers and their employers insights into pollution and how to reduce staff exposure to it. It has been created in co-operation with King's College London.
"Although Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said that King's research provided the evidence of a 'health emergency', the Government, the regulator and employers are complacent about this risk and are reluctant to take urgent and appropriate action," added Matthew. "That is why we launched the Time to Breathe campaign.
"We are calling for adoption of the World Health Organisation's (WHO) exposure guidelines for nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) and ozone in the UK by 2030,
pollution alerts issued by Defra to reference outdoor workers when necessary and
better measurement of the exposure of workers, as well as comprehensive cohort studies into the health impacts of air pollution."
24th October 2019