The chair of the Department of Health’s Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution, Professor Frank Kelly, has given a stark warning on the risk to children posed by the smog currently swamping London and other areas in England and Wales.
Kelly has advised schools in regions most severely affected – such as London – to keep children indoors at playtime, or they risk swathes of asthma attacks and potentially life-long lung damage.
Kelly told the Guardian: “Besides those children whose asthma may be exacerbated by pollution and who would then need to increase their medication, the main issue is related to pollution exposure on a chronic basis as current evidence indicates that lung growth is restricted. If there is no subsequent catch-up lung growth then this respiratory deficit is carried forward through life.”
His warning comes as a host of schools in London announced they will be keeping pupils indoors at break times and at lunch.
Kelly added: “As a general response this is a good approach as children tend to run around outside and therefore breathe deeper. Thus on days like this they will be inspiring a lot more pollution if outdoors than when they are breathing normally (hopefully) inside.”
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