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Nothing should be healthier than lungfuls of fresh air — the oxygen energises our body and calming breaths ease our mind. But unless we live in the wilds of the countryside, the air we breathe is likely to be anything but ‘fresh’.
In fact, it’s almost certainly a toxic cocktail of pollutants, affecting our physical and mental wellbeing each time we step outside our front door. Thirty UK towns and cities exceed air pollution limits set by the World Health Organisation (WHO), according to its latest report, including Manchester, Leeds, London and Swansea.
Cities - WHO - List - Towns - Storrington
But it’s not just big cities on the WHO list; smaller towns like sleepy Storrington in West Sussex, Sandy in Bedfordshire and Leamington Spa in Warwickshire are also over acceptable air pollution limits — and the latter two have dirtier air, according to the WHO, than London.
Polluted air — caused by traffic fumes, particularly diesel, the burning of fossil fuels, and chemicals and heavy metals released by industry — kills an estimated seven million people worldwide every year.
Problems - Risk - Cancer - Dementia - Heart
It triggers asthma and the bronchial problems you might expect, but has also been linked to increased risk of cancer, dementia, heart disease and diabetes.
It can also have a pervasive affect on mental health, according to a study earlier this year, which found a clear association between low levels of happiness in city dwellers and levels of air pollution.
Dietitian - Years - People - Conditions - Day
As a dietitian for more than 30 years, I see and support people living with these conditions every day in my London clinic.
As a mum to a 16-year-old daughter, Maya, I feel frustrated that despite my best efforts to keep her healthy and happy with our lifestyle at home, I can’t control her exposure to pollutants outside the house.
Patients - Foods
But I can help her, and the patients I treat, to eat well and choose foods...
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