21st June is Clean Air Day. Teresa met this week with Unicef and British Heart Foundation to discuss the issue of air quality. Air pollution is now the largest environmental risk factor linked to deaths in England, with the majority of air-pollution related deaths worldwide (58%) caused by heart disease or stroke. The British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) research has shed light on how health-harmful pollutants such as particulate matter (PM) – small particles found in emissions from diesel engines and wood burning stoves- can cause damage to people’s cardiovascular health and increase the risk of potentially deadly heart attacks and stroke.
Air pollution also represents a major children’s health crisis and immediate action should be taken to address these impacts. While all children are vulnerable to air pollution, Unicef UK’s research shows the youngest children are most at risk – children contribute least to the problem yet they are being affected most.
Teresa Pearce, MP for Erith and Thamesmead, said:
“According to UNICEF research 26,700 under 5’s in Greenwich are living with unsafe levels of air pollution. In Bexley there are 19,600. This is one of the biggest health issues facing London and I pledge to put pressure where ever I can to safeguard our children’s health. Clean air is also very important to my constituents with a heart and circulatory conditions so they don’t need to worry about dirty air damaging their health when they leave the house. Research has shown that even the smallest reduction can make a big difference in preventing new cases of coronary heart disease.”
To find out more about the BHF’s research and work on air pollution by visiting https://www.bhf.org.uk/airpollutionpolicy