Air quality has improved dramatically in recent decades due to the reduction in the amount of coal being burnt in homes and industry.
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But air pollution caused by cars, lorries and buses on our roads is still seen as a significant threat to public health.
Fine Particles can come from a wide range of materials but the most common source is from combustion engines, mainly road traffic.
Attention is increasingly focusing on fine particles, or particulate matter, which can be carried deep into the lungs, causing inflammation and increasing the risk of heart attack. Most monitoring sites record levels of PM10 , but the greatest threat to health is thought to come from the smallest particles, PM2.5 and below.
Coal-fired power stations are the biggest source of sulphur dioxide (SO2) in the UK. Asthmatics may experience health problems even when concentrations of sulphur dioxide have reached only moderate levels. The health effects of sulphur dioxide are thought to be more serious when levels of particulate matter are high.
Nitric Oxide comes from road transport and electricity generation. Once released into the atmosphere, it becomes nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is harmful to health. Nitrogen dioxide lowers resistance to respiratory infections and is linked to a higher incidence of acute respiratory illness in children.
most people associated air pollution with asthma or pneumonia or lung problems, However, most people did not know heart disease was the leading cause of death attributed to or associated with air pollution.