The Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists (ARNS) and Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have today responded to the publication of ‘Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution’ by the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
The report demonstrates both the immediate and long term effects of air pollution on respiratory and general health, and calls for action to prevent air pollution from damaging and shortening the lives of future generations.
Amanda Cheesley, Professional Lead for Long Term Conditions and End of Life Care at the RCN said:
“People with any kind of respiratory problem can often be acutely aware of high levels of pollutants in the air, and these frequently cause asthma attacks or other distressing respiratory symptoms. This report makes clear that air pollution is a threat to the health of everyone – whether they know it immediately or not.
“Children who are exposed to polluted air can start storing up problems from the earliest years, and it is hard to overstate the effects that this can have on the development of or exacerbation of other long term conditions.
“Air pollution is a public health issue – it often affects those who are already the most disadvantaged, such as people living in poor housing, leading stressful lives and with a poor diet or lifestyle. Cuts to public health budgets mean that these health inequalities will only get worse – and the impact will be felt across the whole of society.
“The UK needs to make a concerted effort to reduce air pollution as part of its overall ambition to improve the health of all of its residents. Failing to tackle this problem will lead to premature deaths, pain and misery for many, and a health system which simply cannot cope with an ageing population with multiple, complex conditions.
“There is a moral imperative to act now to prevent this and to make sure future generations breathe better air than this one.”
Dr Matthew Hodson, MBE, specialist nurse and Chair of the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists said:
‘ARNS welcomes this reports that highlights the impact of poor air quality and the effects of lifelong impact on health. I have seen examples of this where people living with conditions such Asthma and COPD have been affected by the current quality of air exacerbating symptoms and affecting quality of life’
You can read the report Every Breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution which is available to download from the RCP website here