Public Health and Environment (PHE)

Health impacts

What are the health consequences of urban outdoor air pollution?

Air pollution can affect our health in many ways with both long and short term effects. Urban outdoor air pollution increases the risk of acute (e.g. pneumonia) and chronic (e.g. lung cancer) respiratory disease as well as cardiovascular disease.

Different groups of individuals are affected by air pollution in different ways. More severe health impacts are seen among those people who are already ill. In addition, more vulnerable populations like children, the elderly and those households with lower incomes and limited access to health care are more susceptible to the adverse effects from exposure to air pollution.