● More than a third of hospitals in London are in areas where air pollution is ‘likely to rise above legal levels’
● University College Hospital in Fitzrovia and Marylebone-based Western Eye Hospital are surrounded by the most polluted air
● A further 20 hospitals are in areas of the capital there is a strong chance of NO2 levels exceeding the annual legal limit or it is ‘likely’ they will be breached
London, 5 September 2018 – More than a third of London’s hospitals are located in areas where air pollution caused by vehicle exhausts is likely to breach legal limits, new research from Commercial Air Filtration has revealed.
Of 58 hospitals analysed in the capital, 22 of them were located in postcodes where NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) levels are expected to breach the annual legal limit1.
The law prescribes that hourly levels of NO2, a toxic gas associated with higher levels of harmful PM2.5 particulate matter in the atmosphere, must not exceed 200 micrograms per cubic metre more than 18 times a year.
It means patients with respiratory conditions could be worsening their health just by travelling to hospital for treatment, sitting in waiting rooms and being treated in wards which might have inadequate or non-existent air filtration.
Commercial Air Filtration’s analysis found that the two hospitals most likely to suffer illegally-high levels of air pollution are Western Eye Hospital, in Marylebone, and Fitzrovia’s University College Hospital.
Both sites’ postcodes scored a rating of five out of six, according to data from EarthSense, which indicates “a very strong chance of nitrogen dioxide levels exceeding the annual legal limit”.
Meanwhile, St Thomas’ Hospital, on Westminster Bridge Road, Moorfields Eye Hospital, on City Road and The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, in Bolsover Street, scored ratings of four out of six, meaning there is “a strong chance of nitrogen dioxide exceeding the annual legal limit”.
A further 17 hospitals were located in postcodes where “it is likely that nitrogen dioxide levels will exceed the annual legal limit”.
Christian Lickfett, Managing Director of Commercial Air Filtration, said:
“For people with respiratory issues or a weakened immune system, hospitals are meant to be an oasis or, at least, somewhere untainted by the hazards of air pollution. With airborne contamination levels in certain London boroughs at such elevated levels, that’s no longer the case.
“It is very unfortunate that patients, some of whom will suffer from respiratory illnesses, are still being exposed to potentially dangerous levels of air pollution by simply travelling to, waiting for and attending, their hospital appointments.
“Awareness of the negative impact air pollution has on our health is growing every day, and particularly the harm that ultra-fine particulates have on our well-being. But as things stand right now, some of the best hospitals the UK has to offer are literally shrouded in very low quality air.
“Patients should feel empowered to ask hospitals how they measure internal air pollution and what purification systems they have in place in waiting areas and treatment rooms.”