Allergy UK celebrates Clean Air Day – Why clean air matters
Allergy UK, the national patient charity for people living with allergic disease, is a leading partner in the fight for increased recognition of the devastating effect that poor indoor air quality can have on human health. The charity supports Clean Air Day (https://www.cleanairday.org.uk) as a way to bring the issue of poor indoor air quality and its impact on human health to the attention of politicians, decision makers in the building and construction industry and the broader public. UK children have the highest reported symptoms of asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema rates in the world with factors such as poor ventilation, mould and house dust mite triggering and exacerbating a number of allergic conditions.[i]
Good indoor air quality is crucial for human health[ii] and particularly important for vulnerable groups i.e. babies, children, the elderly, as well as people living with respiratory and allergic diseases. Allergy UK is a key partner for organisations such as the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products (ASPB), Public Health England (PHE) and the UK Indoor Environment Group (UKIEG) in their collaborative initiatives to identify practicable solutions to help tackle and reduce indoor generated air pollution.
Our Head of Clinical Services, Amena Warner explains more: “We all know that breathing is the prerequisite to life, we need to breathe from the moment we are born until the moment we die. Social behaviour has changed and today people spend on average 90% of their time indoors. Our indoor environments are often poorly ventilated causing humidity to rise and creating ideal conditions for mould and house dust mites to thrive in our soft furnishings and bedding. We are a nation of pet lovers, with our pets often living indoors which can also add to allergens in the indoor environment.
“A minimum of 9,000 deaths every year are attributed to indoor air pollution in the UK[iii] and indoor air levels of many pollutants may be 2-10 times higher than outdoor levels[iv]. This is shocking and we are encouraging everyone to use Clean Air Day as an opportunity to learn more about indoor air quality and why clean air matters. We need to act now to protect future generations by working together to find solutions to improve the quality of the air we breathe in our own homes.”
[i] Source: House of Parliament. Post Note Number 467 July 2014. Childhood Allergies:
‘The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has described allergy in the UK as ‘epidemic’. Evidence shows that asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema rates have stabilised, but reported symptoms in UK children are the highest internationally.
[ii] WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould. Geneva: World Health Organisation, 2009
Joint Research Centre. The European Commission’s Science and Knowledge Service. Indoor Air Quality. Available at: http://indoor-air-quality.jrc.ec.europa.eu/
[iii] Royal College of Physicians. Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution. Report of a working party. London: RCP, 2016)
[iv] European Commission. HealthVent Project. Indoor air quality and its effects on health. Clean Air for All - Green Week, 2013. [Online]. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/archives/greenweek2013/sites/default/files/content/presentations/4-1_wargocki.pdf. [Accessed 21 March 2018].