Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Heat dangers forgotten in the battle against air pollution

12.10.2005


Ozone is being wrongly blamed for many of the deaths during hot weather spells, finds a new UCL (University College London) study. UCL scientists warn that amidst all the concerns over air pollution, the more basic health message of ‘staying cool when the weather is hot’ may be being forgotten.



The study, published online in the journal Environmental Research, modelled the daily mortality rate of people over 65 (who suffer most of the heat-related deaths) in Greater London from 1991 to 2002. The model included daily temperatures, humidity, sunshine and wind and assessed any effects of atmospheric ozone, particulates and sulphur dioxide. UCL researchers then analysed general mortality trends for days when mean air temperatures exceeded 18OC.

The team found that when temperatures topped 18 OC, mortality rates in the plus-65 group rose progressively as the days grew hotter. They also found that mortality rose more with temperature rises in early summer than in late summer when people had adjusted to heat. High levels of ozone and particulates tended to be associated with sunshine, and high particulates and sulphur dioxide with low wind, both of which can increase heat stress.


The UCL study revealed that most analyses would attribute up to half of the mortality to the pollutants, unless allowance was made for adjustment to heat in late summer, and for sunshine and wind. Most conventional studies have not allowed for these effects. The authors conclude that, contrary to earlier reports, pollutants played little part in the rise in deaths associated with hot weather in the period analysed.

Professor Bill Keatinge, of the Royal Free and University College Medical School, says: “Ozone, particulates and sulphur dioxide have been fingered as the culprits when hot weather is more likely to have caused the deaths. On hot days, older people are more likely to be dying from heat stress than from air pollution. The basic message of ‘keep cool when the weather is hot’ seems to be being drowned out by exaggerated concern over air pollution. Runs of hot days are particularly dangerous.

“The fact that deaths were higher in early summer rather than late summer suggests that some people were unprepared for the hot weather and may not have taken the necessary precautions to keep cool. The heat wave in France in 2003 which killed 14,000 people was an unfortunate example of what happens when people are not prepared for hot weather.

“Even Britain, which has around 800 heat-related deaths in an average summer, had more than 3,000 in the exceptionally hot summer of 2003. Global warming may well produce runs of hotter days than have ever been experienced here before, and we need to be prepared for that happening in the UK with little warning.”

Jenny Gimpel | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ucl.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>