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M40 in Buckinghamshire Jan 09

Air pollution has reduced considerably since the early 1990s but there is still more to be done to reduce the effects of air pollution on health.


In the UK alone, it is estimated that the burden of long-term exposure to anthropogenic particulate air pollution in 2008 was an effect on mortality equivalent to nearly 29,000 deaths at typical ages and an associated loss of total population life of 340,000 life-years.

Other air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ozone and volatile organic compounds, have a range of adverse effects on human health.

The Air Pollution and Climate Change (APCC) Group is part of the Toxicology Department of the Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards (CRCE).

The roles and responsibilities for the APCC Group include provision of  research on the health effects of air pollution and climate change, evidence-based advice to internal and external stakeholders, scientific secretariat to expert committees,training and dissemination.

Key research themes of the group are: Health effects of air pollutants, asthma and respiratory allergies, Health effects of climate change, Exposure and risk assessment,  Indoor Environment and urban Heat Islands.

Below are some of the air pollution projects of  the APCC group. 

  • Research projects on air pollution exposure and related health impacts in urban areas and within buildings, in collaboration with the University of Birmingham, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University College London, University of Edinburgh, University of Manchester and other research institutions.
  • Public Health Outcomes framework for England - Public Health England publishes an estimate of the percentage of mortality attributable to long term exposure to man-made particulate air pollution in local authority areas in England as one of the indicators within the Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF). Inclusion of this indicator in the PHOF will enable Directors of Public Health to prioritise action on air quality in their local area to help reduce the health burden from air pollution.Indicator 3.01 - Fraction of mortality attributable to particulate air pollution [external link]
  • Provision of advice on the health effects of air pollutants to government departments and other agencies including the Department of Health (DH), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Department for Transport (DfT) and the Environment Agency (EA).
  • CO awareness and research into the adverse health effects of exposure. Read about carbon monoxide