A study of 13 cities in the UK and Poland has found that living near a busy road can stunt children’s lung growth by 14%.

Air pollution has been found to directly impact children’s still-developing lungs and those with a lung condition already can find their symptoms are made far worse by poor air quality.

The report written by King’s College London analysed health conditions in people living in high pollution areas and compared them to the general population. It focused not just on hospital admissions and deaths but also symptoms such as chest infections. The study found roadside air pollution stunted lung growth in children by approximately 14% in Oxford, 13% in London, 8% in Birmingham, 5% in Liverpool, 3% in Nottingham and 4% in Southampton.

As well as this, living within 50m of a major road could increase the risk of lung cancer by up to 10%, and that air pollution contributes to a higher chance of heart disease, strokes, heart failure and bronchitis.

This research has shown that air pollution is a public health crisis. “Air pollution makes us, and especially our children, sick from cradle to the grave, but is often invisible,” said Dr Rob Hughes, senior fellow at the Clean Air Fund. He explains that “this impressive research makes this public health crisis – which affects people all across the UK – visible, and shows the urgency with which all political parties must prioritise cleaning up our air.”

This study highlights the danger of air pollution and the need for action groups such as Camden Clean Air to get involved. Air pollution is a health crisis and we intend to fight it.