Emergency hospital visits could be reduced with effective air quality monitoring

A summary of research published in the International Journal for Equity in Health

A system that monitors air quality and takes steps to improve it could reduce emergency hospital visits for lung conditions.

A new study, published in the International Journal for Equity in Health, examined one of these systems that is used in the UK.

What did the study look at?

Researchers looked at data over 12 years for emergency hospital visits in an area that monitored air quality. In this area, if air pollution levels became too high, action plans were in place to reduce the air pollution. Researchers compared the number of hospital visits in these areas to regions where no air quality monitoring exists.

What do the results show?

The findings revealed that when action plans are put in place to reduce air pollution levels, there are fewer emergency hospital visits for lung conditions. The results also showed that these reductions are bigger in poorer areas. This could be because air pollution is often higher in poorer areas, so positive effects are more obvious.

Why is this important?

Health is not always considered when policymakers look at whether air quality monitoring is effective. This study shows that reducing high levels of air pollution can improve health, especially within poorer communities. The researchers believe that the health effects of policies should be considered when looking at whether air pollution strategies are working.

Read the original research paper

Title: Impact of local air quality management policies on emergency hospitalisations for respiratory conditions in the North West Coast region of England: a longitudinal controlled ecological study