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In a historic first, a coroner lists a nine-year-old's cause of death as 'air pollution'

By PhilSTAR L!fe Published Dec 20, 2020 11:49 pm

After succumbing to an asthma attack that led to cardiac arrest in February 2013, a young girl in the UK now has air pollution listed as a cause of her death alongside acute respiratory failure and severe asthma. 

This is according to a landmark coroner’s ruling reported by CNN International, where assistant coroner Philip Barlow described air pollution as “a significant contributory factor to both the induction and exacerbation of her asthma.” With traffic emissions as a principal source of her exposure, she was exposed to nitrogen dioxide and a “particulate matter in excess of World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.” 

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At the time, the kid was situated along the busiest roads of Lewisham, southeast London and “there was a failure in this period to reduce the level of nitrogen dioxide to within the limits set by EU and domestic law,” the article read. 

The nine-year-old’s mom said it’s high time for governments around the world to prioritize having a Clean Air Act. "I still think there's a lack of understanding about the damage it does to young lungs, especially (those) that are not truly formed,” she declared. 

As written in the same report, a spokesperson of the UK government, for their part, said they were “delivering a £3.8 billion plan to clean up transport, tackle NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) pollution and go further in protecting communities from air pollution, as well as setting ambitious new air quality targets."