Launched last night on the roof of St Thomas’ Hospital, the animation, created from more than a thousand pencil drawings of Dryden Goodwin’s five-year-old son, is displayed on a large video screen on Gassiot House.
The ‘Breathe’ exhibition, running from 9 to 28 October, ties in with the Exploration of Health and Lungs in the Environment (EXHALE) research programme at King’s, which explores the effects of the Congestion Charge and the Low Emission Zone on the lung health of children living in East London.
Despite air pollution having a well-recognised effect on health, London is still one of the most polluted cities in Europe. Official studies show that air pollution – mainly from traffic – causes more premature deaths than passive smoking and traffic accidents combined, at a cost of around £2bn per year.
Professor Frank Kelly, Director of the Environmental Research Group at King’s and Chair of COMEAP (Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants), a Government medical advisory committee on air pollutants, said: ‘Children are more vulnerable to air pollution because their lungs are underdeveloped at birth and mature slowly during childhood. Several studies have shown that breathing polluted city air is associated with significant adverse effects on children’s respiratory health.
‘Our work with Invisible Dust artist Dryden Goodwin enables a deeper understanding of the effects of invisible air pollution. The EXHALE study is important because it will help inform future public health policy.’
As part of the ‘Breathe’ campaign, Professor Kelly, Director of the Environmental Research Group at King’s, will present findings from the EXHALE programme to the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) at the Houses of Parliament on 16 October.
‘Breathe’ is part of the ‘Invisible Dust’ series on air pollution and breathing, supported by the Wellcome Trust and funded by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, and Arts Council England.
The EXHALE research programme is being carried out by researchers and clinicians at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, the MRC-Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma, and Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry. It is funded by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre and King’s College London.
Notes to editors
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About the EXHALE Programme
EXHALE (Exploration of Health and Lungs in the Environment) is a research initiative into the implications of the Low Emission Zone on the lung health of eight year olds in East London. Children from Tower Hamlets and Hackney attending schools located close to main roads are being studied to define the effects of traffic emission reduction, using comparative pollution and respiratory health data from before the introduction of the Low Emission Zone.
The EXHALE programme involves researchers and clinicians working in the NIHR Guy’s and St Thomas’ Biomedical Research Centre, the MRC-Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma, and Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, focusing on children whom researchers believe are most at risk from the negative effects of pollution on respiratory health.
EXHALE is funded through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London.
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