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Respiratory physios urge action on air pollution

The CSP has released a UK guide to air pollution 'hotspots' in a bid to steer motorists towards cleaner and healthier pursuits.

The study reveals 25 places which exceed recommended levels of nitrogen dioxide, a gas which can irritate the airways of the lungs and cause serious ill health. The figures were compiled using information from 110 automatic monitoring points - in city centre locations and at roadsides. The list has attracted widespread media coverage, with the Society's warning featuring in newspapers, on radio and television.

Jennie Edmondson, the Society's head of press and public relations, said the media initiative had proved 'hugely successful'. 'In just a few days, we've seen over 40 pieces of regional and national coverage and we expect this figure to at least double in the next couple of weeks,' she told Frontline.

Members of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Respiratory Care helped in the Society's promotion, to raise the profile of their work in treating illnesses such as asthma and chronic bronchitis. CSP chair of Council Grahame Pope said: 'Every year, physios treat thousands of patients whose respiratory problems are made worse by air pollution.'

The Society's guidance suggests drivers should switch from cars, the main culprits for nitrogen dioxide, or at least stop their engines in traffic jams. Mr Pope added: 'Using public transport would cut the number of cars on the road, but for cleaner air, healthier lungs and fitter bodies, we are urging people to walk or cycle where possible.'

People with respiratory problems concerned about cycling in dense traffic could consider wearing masks, suggested respiratory physios. These act as a filter and could therefore offer some protection against pollutants. The figures show pollution is worst in London's Marylebone Road, where levels of nitrogen dioxide are almost three times above the government target of 40 micrograms per cubic metre. The worst 'hotspots' outside London are in Glasgow, Bury, Oxford, Bath and Bristol.

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