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Health stats, pollution, legionaella and inertia

on Wed, 06/27/2012 - 16:57

A pertinent blog on the Edinburgh Guide site that merits a read.

Although starting from a possible cover-up around the recent Legionella outbreak it moves into the bizarre situation around the large traffic (ie pollution) in residential streets.

At a council meeting a while back now I remember a fairly worrrying contribution from a person representing Lothian Health when asked about the upsurge in people experiencing respiratory conditions in a defined area sufficent to lead to hospital admission being necessary.

Fears that this may be the first signs of traffic related pollution allying to prolonged high pressure, low wind conditions (the mini ice age conditions of recent winters) were pooh-poohed and the idea it was 'Swine Flu' related offered instead.


The fact that the stats for the rest of the city showed no increase whatsoever in respiratory condition admissions (left alone the enormous double digit ones in the area under discussion) seemed to be no cause for second thoughts on behalf of this expert--basically testifying in support of the City of Edinburgh Council's contention that there is nothing to worry about from traffic created pollution.

This despite

  • FACT A well respected and widely quoted paper maintains 4,500 deaths PER YEAR in Greater London are down to traffic created pollution. (Transposing the  figure to EDinbgurgh gives 250 or higher)
  • FACT The Institute of Occupational Medicine calculated a few years back that the deaths (or to be more accurate ..lost life hours... from traffic created pollution was three times larger than the lost life hours due to Road Traffic Accidents AND Passive smoking COMBINED
  • FACT traffic created pollution creates asthma and other chronic respiratory conditions in children and babies while it kills older people through strokes and heart attacks because of the effect of thickening blood...and finally, in the last month the World Health Organisation have updated their official advice to confirm traffic created pollutants DO cause some cancers.

In the face of all this concrete, accepted evidence of health effects, it is obtuseness bordering on criminality to continue to deny that putting traffic off suitable roads onto less suitable ones, thereby creating more congestion and thus more pollutants, in streets where the people exposed, are exposed for longer than those shopping in the now emptied former main streets.