Air Pollution

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 6th February 2019.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether (a) his Department, (b) Public Health England and (c) the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants have (i) made, (ii) commissioned and (iii) received assessments on the comparative levels of toxicity of (A) PM 0.1, (B) PM1 and (C) PM2.5 from different sources of emissions.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Recent assessments have been undertaken of the health effects of long-term exposure to the air pollution mixture in the United Kingdom. This was based on studies reporting associations of mortality risk with fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which includes PM1 and PM0.1, and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), available to view at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nitrogen-dioxide-effects-on-mortality

The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) advised that, although it is unlikely that all components of particulate matter have the same potency in causing health effects, the available evidence is insufficient to allow further quantification. The COMEAP report can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/particulate-air-pollution-health-effects-of-exposure

Reviews by the Health Effects Institute and World Health Organization concluded that there is currently limited evidence on the effects on health of ultrafine particles (PM0.1). These reviews can be viewed at the following links:

https://www.healtheffects.org/publication/understanding-health-effects-ambient-ultrafine-particles

http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/193108/REVIHAAP-Final-technical-report-final-version.pdf?ua=1

Public Health England has no plans to engage in work on the comparative levels of toxicity of PM0.1, PM1 and PM2.5 from different sources of emissions.

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