How might air quality affect me?

These days, many people are concerned about air pollution and whether it might affect their health. The fact is that most of the time, air pollution levels are low. The air is certainly a lot cleaner today than in the days of the smogs of the 1950's, when factory chimneys belched out smoke and nearly everyone had a coal fire.

If your health is good, the levels of air pollution we usually experience in the UK are unlikely to have any serious short-term effects. But on the rare occasions when air pollution levels are high, some people may feel eye irritation, others may start to cough, and some may find that breathing deeply hurts. People with lung diseases or heart conditions are at greater risk, especially if they are elderly. Daily changes in air pollution trigger increased admissions to hospital and contribute to the premature death of those who are seriously ill.

The Government and the devolved administrations' Air Pollution Information Service is managed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). It provides detailed and easy-to-understand information on air pollution, completely free of charge. This information can be particularly important to people with medical conditions which air pollution may make worse. Further information on this service can be found by clicking the link below: