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Air pollution deaths are comparable to Covid total

Trevor Ellis Director Trevor Ellis Consulting Limited Haddenham HP17
02 November 2020

Your correspondent from the Association of British Drivers (Letters LTT 16 Oct) is not correct in calling the comparison of air pollution and Covid-19 deaths “unsubstantiated scaremongering and false allegations”.  

In 2016 the Royal Colledge of Physicians published a report called Every breathe we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution. This estimated the annual premature deaths caused by air pollution in the UK as 40,000 per year, which is comparable to the 41,000 so far from Covid-19. There has been much debate and professional scrutiny of this figure, and of course doctors do not put air pollution as a cause of death on death certificates (just as for example doctors do not put obesity as a cause of death). It is, however, widely accepted as a reasonable estimate. Some subsequent reports put the figure even higher. A report in 2019 by the European Society of Cardiology Research estimated that air pollution causes more premature deaths in Europe than smoking (presently estimated at around 78,000 per annum in the UK). 

This hardly fits the description of “unsubstantiated scaremongering and false allegations”, it’s more like estimates generally accepted by the scientific community. 

As I have previously pointed out, one big difference between Covid-19 and air pollution is that there is no prospect of a vaccine for air pollution.    

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