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Air_pollution_main report_WEB

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Countries across Europe, including the UK, have already paid a high price for failing to act more strongly earlier. The longer action is delayed, the more this damage will mount up. Key facts • Exposure to particulates and nitrogen dioxide is linked to around 40,000 early deaths in the UK each year. • Air pollution is also linked to illness. For an individual, this can range from a minor illness that requires some medication, to a very serious situation – such as admission to hospital caused by a stroke, heart attack, lung condition or a range of other diseases. • The health problems caused by air pollution impose many costs on society, through reduced productivity and an added burden on the health service. • Overall, the estimated cost to individuals and society is more than £20 billion annually for the UK. • According to 2010 estimates, the economic impact of exposure to air pollution across the European Union is more than €240 billion each year. • We have less evidence about the costs of indoor air pollution. However, second-hand tobacco smoke and radon gas also cause deaths, and impose a significant burden on the NHS. © Royal College of Physicians 2016 79 6 Summary

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