Britain’s toxic air – especially PM2.5 particulates – ‘could cause dementia and diabetes’
The Commons health committee has warned toxic air could contribute towards dementia and even diabetes, as well as lung and cardiovascular effects. A new Inquiry by 4 parliamentary select committees, in to UK air pollution, has been started. Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, chair of the health committee, said: “There is an increasing amount of evidence showing the impact of nitrogen dioxide and invisible particulates on human health. Many people are aware of their impact on our lungs and hearts, but new evidence suggests that they could also contribute to diseases as disparate as dementia and diabetes.” The 4 committees launched a similar Inquiry in March, ending on 12th May. However, the General Election was called, and finally committees were re-constituted in September, with different membership. The Chair of the Transport Committee was Louise Ellman, and is now Lilian Greenwood. She commented that “Real change is possible if Government leads from the front to co-ordinate an effective response to one of the biggest issues of our time.” The mechanism by which PM2.5 particles could increase dementia may be through a critical Alzheimer’s risk gene, APOE4, interacts with air particles to accelerate brain ageing but the science is unclear. The mechanisms by which diabetes risk is raised are also unclear.
Britain’s toxic air ‘could cause dementia and diabetes’
By SAFEEYAH KAZI (Evening Standard)
The Commons health committee warned toxic air could contribute towards dementia and even diabetes
The alarm was raised over these potential health risks as four Commons committees re-launched a “super inquiry” into improving air quality across London and UK. New Inquiry.
Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, chair of the health committee, said: “There is an increasing amount of evidence showing the impact of nitrogen dioxide and invisible particulates on human health.
“Many people are aware of their impact on our lungs and hearts, but new evidence suggests that they could also contribute to diseases as disparate as dementia and diabetes.”
After the Government’s plans to cut nitrogen dioxide air pollution were deemed inadequate by the High Court, an inquiry was launched by four Commons committees in March into toxic air – but this was postponed by the general election.
Relaunching it today, Lilian Greenwood MP, chair of the transport select committee, said: “Real change is possible if Government leads from the front to co-ordinate an effective response to one of the biggest issues of our time.”
The “super inquiry” will explore whether the Government’s latest anti-pollution plans go far enough to deliver the maximum environmental and health benefits, as well as looking at how effectively departments work together across Whitehall to tackle the problem.
Neil Parish MP, chair of the environment food and rural affairs committee, expressed a “cause for concern” as London and other major cities are unable to meet legal pollution limits.
He added: “Our joint inquiry allows MPs to hold to account ministers from key departments on how effectively the Government is joining up work to clean up the UK’s air.”
The Government’s plan includes proposals for ‘clean air zones’ and an end to the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.
Mary Creagh MP, chair of the environmental audit committee, said: “Ministers will now face unprecedented scrutiny in Parliament to ensure they are doing everything necessary to protect people from filthy air.”
There is some information about what the mechanism by which particulate air pollution, from PM2.5, could increase the risk of Alzehimer dementia
Air pollution exposure may increase risk of dementia
For the link with Diabetes, see
Air Pollution as a Risk Factor for Type 2 Diabetes
Heathrow hopes to overcome its immense problem of air pollution, for a 3rd runway, by increasing the uptake of electric vehicles. However, these do not remove the pollution caused by PM 2.5 particles:
London’s air pollution from PM2.5 is widespread and bad – electric vehicles don’t solve the problem
New research shows just how bad air pollution by PM2.5 is across London. The latest updated London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory, shows that every area in the capital exceeds WHO limits PM2.5, which are particularly bad for health as they penetrate deep into the lungs. The particles have serious health implications – especially for children – with both short- and long-term exposure increasing the likelihood of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Young people exposed to these pollutants are more likely to grow up with reduced lung function and develop asthma. However, the main sources of PM2.5 emissions in London are from tyre and brake wear, construction and wood burning. A recent European commission research paper found about half of all particulate matter comes from tyres and brakes. Cutting the number of diesel vehicles helps reduce NO2 levels, but even converting to electric does not solve the problem of the particles from tyres and brakes. Heathrow hopes getting more vehicles on the road network near the airport might reduce air pollution enough to get its runway – but that will not solve its PM2.5 problem.