Heart char­ity in calls for toxin test on city street

Evening Times - - NEWS - By CARO­LINE WIL­SON

CALLS have been made for Scot­land’s most pol­luted street to be rou­tinely tested for a toxin that is linked to heart at­tacks and stroke.

The Bri­tish Heart Foun­da­tion (BHF) say Hope Street should be mon­i­tored for lev­els of PM10 (Par­tic­u­late Mat­ter) – ex­tremely small par­ti­cles and liq­uid droplets that get into the air.

PM10 is among the most harm­ful of all air pol­lu­tants.

Once in­haled, these par­ti­cles can af­fect the heart and lungs, par­tic­u­larly in those who al­ready have long-term con­di­tions.

For ev­ery 5mg per cu­bic me­ter of PM10, the char­ity say the chance of a heart at­tack and stroke is in­creased by 16%.

The mon­i­tor­ing sta­tion on Hope Street only tests for lev­els of Ni­tro­gen Diox­ide, which is linked to lung dam­age.

The coun­cil say the Hope Street mon­i­tor is owned by the UK gov­ern­ment and that lev­els of PM10 have been trend­ing down over the past few years. Tests are only car­ried out else­where in the city cen­tre and the West End.

A spokes­woman for the Depart­ment for En­v­i­ron- ment, Food and Ru­ral Af­fairs (DE­FRA) said the gov­ern­ment will pub­lish a new strat­egy next year look­ing at “other sources of air pol­lu­tion.”

David McCol­gan, Pol­icy & Pub­lic Af­fairs Man­ager Bri­tish Heart Foun­da­tion Scot­land, said: “Around 2,500 peo­ple die a year and a con­trib­u­tory fac­tor is air pol­lu­tion. Around 80% of these are from a heart at­tack or stroke.

“We are look­ing into why some peo­ple test for some things and not oth­ers.

“Hope Street is the most pol­luted street in Scot­land for Ni­tro­gen Diox­ide.

“In Hope Street the pol­lu­tion mon­i­tor tests for Ni­tro­gen Diox­ide but the most deadly part is the par­ti­cle mat­ter that is emit­ted from ex­hausts.

“For ev­ery 5mg per cu­bic me­ter of PM, the chance of a heart at­tack and stroke is in­creased by 16%.

“For some­one with heart fail­ure, that’s a huge thing.

“Peo­ple who live with an ex­ist­ing health con­di­tion are more at risk.

“The big­gest emit­ter of PM is diesel en­gines. There is a so­cial jus­tice as­pect to this. Peo­ple who live in poorer ar­eas are more likely to be af­fected by heart dis­ease, they are more likely to suf­fer from air pol­lu­tion and they are less likely to be con­tribut­ing to the prob­lem as fewer peo­ple have cars.”

A city coun­cil spokes­woman said: “Hope Street (the mon­i­tor­ing sta­tion) is owned the Depart­ment for En­vi­ron­ment, Food and Ru­ral Af­fairs.

“We are sat­is­fied that we mon­i­tor suitably across the city. There are 10 fixed PM10 mon­i­tors and one mo­bile in use across the city. None of these found lev­els above the ob­jec­tive in 2016.”

A Gov­ern­ment spokes­woman said: “Re­duc­ing road­side pol­lu­tion is a pri­or­ity for this gov­ern­ment.

“Next year the Gov­ern­ment will pub­lish a com­pre­hen­sive Clean Air Strat­egy which will ad­dress other sources of air pol­lu­tion.”

Hope Street is thought to be the most pol­luted in Scot­land

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