Heart charity in calls for toxin test on city street
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