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Latest Air Pollution Scare Debunked

August 3, 2018

By Paul Homewood


H/t stewgreen


The BBC has gone to town on this latest pollution scare research:

Low levels of air pollution linked to changes in the heart

Regular exposure to even low levels of air pollution may cause changes to the heart similar to those in the early stages of heart failure, experts say.

A study of 4,000 people in the UK found those who lived by loud, busy roads had larger hearts on average than those living in less polluted areas.

This was despite the fact people in the study were exposed to pollution levels below the UK guidelines.

Researchers called on the government to reduce air pollution more quickly.

A team of scientists, led from Queen Mary University of London, analysed health data of people who had no underlying heart problems and were part of the UK Biobank study, including the size, weight and function of their hearts.

Researchers also looked at the pollution levels in the areas they lived in.

Their study found a clear link between exposure to higher pollution levels and larger right and left ventricles – important pumping chambers in the heart.

For every extra one microgram per cubic metre of PM2.5 – small particles of air pollution – and for every 10 extra micrograms per cubic metre of nitrogen dioxide, the heart enlarged by about 1%.

The changes were comparable to being consistently inactive or having elevated blood pressure, said Dr Nay Aung, who led the study’s data analysis.

“Air pollution should be seen as a modifiable risk factor,” he said.

While the exact locations where people lived were not included in the study, most were outside of the major UK cities and all of them were exposed to levels of PM2.5 air pollution well below current UK limits.

In the study, average annual exposures to PM2.5 ranged from eight to 12 micrograms per cubic metre.

This is lower than the UK limits of 25 micrograms per cubic metre but closer to the World Health Organization’s recommended limit of 10 micrograms per cubic metre.

This fine particle pollution is particularly dangerous because it can penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system.

Exposure to nitrogen dioxide in the study ranged from 10-50 micrograms per cubic metre – the UK and WHO limits are 40 micrograms per cubic metre.


It’s hard to know where to start with this junk science that a sixth former should be ashamed of putting forward.

For instance, what about a whole range of social factors, such as smoking, alcohol, diet, exercise etc. Are people who live in areas of high pollution also likely to be more exposed to these risks?

And as Stew points out, your heart does not suddenly change as a result of pollution, or anything else. It could have taken decades to reach the current state.

The study explains that it is based on 3920 individuals’ cardiovascular images taken in 2010, and correlated to air pollution stats in 2005.

But the key parameter is that the studied cohort was 62+/- 7 years old.

In other words, they have all lived most of their lives amongst far greater pollution than they do now. And it’s highly that those still living in areas of heavy traffic have been exposed to much greater pollution in past decades.

There is zero evidence that current, low levels of pollution have had impact at all on the health of the sampled population.


This is the link to the study:



  1. MrGrimNasty permalink
    August 3, 2018 5:59 pm

    It’s depressing, but even the Daily Mail keeps publishing this sausage machine of junk pollution ‘research’ propaganda.

  2. August 3, 2018 6:56 pm

    It wasn’t like this in my days. Nowadays most of what passes for science is junk science, The BBC laps it up because they wouldn’t know the difference between a spanner and a banana (as somebody else said).

  3. saparonia permalink
    August 3, 2018 7:07 pm

    “The changes were comparable to being consistently inactive” it’s a joke! The hearts were Weighed so all from dead people who had previously been inactive and between 62 and 69!! It says the results were based on “cardiovascular images” but also that the data was Inclusive of “the size, weight and function” which is a bit of a contradiction.
    Soon we will be told that having trees in the garden will damage our health due to too much oxygen, or that butterflies have grown teeth due to a lack of nectar.

  4. A C Osborn permalink
    August 3, 2018 7:21 pm

    Anyone who has lived in London or any other major city should be dead of Heart Attack at that rate.
    Just think about all those Deisel Cabs, Lorries, Vans and Busses in the old days when their exausts were completely uncontrolled.
    They used to belch black smoke all the time when their injectors were not correctly set or worn.

    • Fred Streeter permalink
      August 4, 2018 10:48 am

      Agree. I trained every evening for 10 years (1958-1967) in London SW1/3. As you say, nose to tail exhaust fumes and smoke. Added to which, I cycled to and from work for a couple of years (via Hyde Park Corner).

      Heigh-Ho. There was I thinking that my being able to run for a bus was due to past healthy youthful exercise. But no, my increased cardiac musculature is down to PM 2.5. All that effort to no purpose.

  5. Mike Jackson permalink
    August 3, 2018 8:19 pm

    I’ll say it again: the day I see “air pollution” on the death certificate I might start to listen!

  6. Athelstan permalink
    August 3, 2018 9:23 pm

    But there is no real evidence that ‘our’ governors have ever listened to any evidence.

    Policy ambitions mean electric vehicles end of debate.

    YES – it’s all been decided – listen up you eejits!

    Now what they have to do, is, to browbeat docile joe and joanna public, wiv da the hair polluting mythologizing, it is the commencement of this new campaign softening up process – and the real policy diktat is, emissions testing and strangulation – slowly upping the ante and surely erasing, rubbing out all diesel/petrol engines.

    It’s all ready been ordered, that’s how they, the PTB and the corporate blob + pols: do things. It’s the EU way, consumerism by diktat, you will be made to bow, it’s inevitable.

  7. Athelstan permalink
    August 3, 2018 9:26 pm

    sorry one or two, too many apostrophes (ha) in there, to all pedants, profuse and insincere apologies. 😉

  8. Bitter@twisted permalink
    August 3, 2018 10:07 pm

    Hasn’t air pollution fallen by 90% over the last 10 years.
    It is amazing that anyone survived to the present day.

  9. markl permalink
    August 4, 2018 2:14 am

    So the “press” just keeps supporting the CAGW theory because it attracts readers? If you don’t even trust the polls (understood) even you can’t deny it’s last on the list for interest. Someone(s) is pushing the CAGW narrative and they need to be exposed.

    • A C Osborn permalink
      August 4, 2018 9:44 am

      They only support CAGW because it supports Globalisation, Agendas 21 & 30 and “Sustainability”.

  10. John F. Hultquist permalink
    August 4, 2018 2:42 am

    ” . . . those who lived by loud, busy roads . . .”

    Did I hear someone mention stress? I hate loud and busy roads.
    Stress is known to affect people.
    Unless they have a way of controlling for stress, this is junk.

  11. tom0mason permalink
    August 4, 2018 7:37 am

    There are not any studies that show PM2.5 particles cause any detrimental health effects — no standardized, controlled, objective research has been done!
    Do the vast majority of healthy people just cough out, or by some other method remove such very small particles fro their lungs and skin — no one knows.

    Fear of the unknown rules again but the unknown could kill you!

    Of note is that many of the oldest people who have lived in modern times have been city dwellers who often were smokers or ex-smokers.


  12. August 4, 2018 8:21 am

    I’m not clear on your point Paul. If the study shows an association what’s the problem with pointing it out? Having skimmed through it, it doesn’t claim causality, or am I missing something?

    • August 4, 2018 9:17 am

      If there is no causality, how can there be an association.

      From the BBC report:
      “Regular exposure may cause changes to the heart”

      This is sheer, unfounded speculation

    • Sheri permalink
      August 5, 2018 3:33 pm

      Would it be wrong to point out that there is an association between the sun rising and people dying? Associations are meaningless. Using them to scare people is wrong.

      As Paul points out, “may cause” is the term they use. This is a scare tactic. Virtually anything “may change” the heart. Anything.

    • August 6, 2018 8:56 pm

      @PM the radio reporter Emily Unia said
      “….. they looked at 4,000 people in the UK and found a clear LINK between an exposure to higher pollution levels and higher right/left ventricles
      (Bias #1 “Link” ? ..she means “correlation”)
      (she then admits she knows Correlation is NOT equal to causation)

      Emily :”THE PROBLEM is the study cannot prove a CAUSAL link between air pollution
      .. nor whether these people will definitely go on to get hear disease, cos they didn’t include all the other factors …”

      (Bias number #2 : why use the words “THE PROBLEM is “?
      that makes it sound like you are desperate to pin ventricle abnormalities on Air Pollution )

  13. Gamecock permalink
    August 4, 2018 12:30 pm

    Steve Milloy at has been debunking the phoney PM2.5 risk for years.

    A C Osborn is correct. It’s just another enviroscare tactic like ocean acidification to get us to accept more government intrusion into our lives.

    • Hivemind permalink
      August 4, 2018 1:29 pm

      It looks like another part of ‘proving’ that we need extreme new laws to control PM2.5 particles. I won’t dignify them with calling them pollution, since trees and bushes put out more PM2.5 particles than you are exposed to living in the city.

      • August 4, 2018 2:34 pm

        That’s interesting Hive. Please can you give me a link to an article on this? I have suspected it may be so, but unable to support it.

  14. August 4, 2018 5:44 pm

    Always remember that the BBC has no correspondent/analyst who has a degree in any kind of real/hard science.

    • August 6, 2018 9:00 pm

      It used to have good science presenters, but they were kicked off and replaced by cherry picked Metro-lib activist types : Adan Rutherford, Jim Al-Khalili, and Brian “married to TV-executive” Cox

      • August 7, 2018 1:23 pm

        And as if by magic 10 hours after I post Jim shows his class

  15. August 5, 2018 11:42 am

    Decades ago, studies here on coal miners with black lung disease showed that almost 100% were also cigarette smokers. So their lungs were already damaged and thus more susceptible to disease. That study quickly disappeared in order to go after the tobacco companies for hiding the effects of cigarettes. Why, then, were cigarettes known as “coffin nails” in the WV coal camps in the 1880’s?

    Once more, I will point out that I grew up on the property I now own and where I live in Morgantown, WV. As a child we did not leave porch furniture out as it would be covered with grime. On an evening we sometimes drove out Rte. 7 beyond Dellslow to pull over and watch the row of beehive coke ovens burning. There were gob piles of coal tailings piled up which caught on fire by spontaneous combustion. Finally they figured out how high to pile it without the smoldering fire. There was the DuPont Ordinance Works. Plastics and nylon fabrics would change color. A trip to Pittsburgh, 72 miles north, was to come home grimy as the the steel mills were belching smoke. BTW they are coming back there and OH and WV without the belching smoke of yore.

    No one in my family has suffered from any lung ailments. Not my late parents nor my 2 brothers nor myself. None of us ever smoked either.

    • Sheri permalink
      August 5, 2018 3:30 pm

      I noticed that the coal miners in Wyoming who had lung problems were also the ones that smoked. Who would have imagined that could be part of the problem? /s

      • August 9, 2018 11:25 am

        I am going to say that those studies here came out in the ’60’s and disappeared like a drop of water on a hot sidewalk. The unions made a huge push to go after the tobacco companies for a large pile of cash, so any study to the contrary was not appreciated.

        My late brother, Jim, lived in Fort Collins, CO. He was at CSU in chemistry and later director for many years of the Natural Resources Ecology Lab.

  16. Sheri permalink
    August 5, 2018 3:28 pm

    Aging changes the heart. Are we supposed to just die to prevent that?

    • Athelstan permalink
      August 5, 2018 8:17 pm

      ask a silly question……………

      Aging no one cares about it, the post modernist era: this is the age and da cult of youf, all is about “protecting our childrens future” and such an altruistic and boldly noble a chant it is, I mean who would dare gainsay it? What a motto and people like Dale ‘robber baron’ vince whirlygig investor al beachfront condos Gore have made fortunes selling indulgences and egregious cons and strapping the public.

      Yet the future of aging people, no one cares a wht.

      And furthermore the quicker that they can off the elderly is good – ain’t it?

      The universe, cultural Marxism turned it all inside out – I mean ‘green energy’…. now come on!

      Someone please, please and soon take the con out of FUSION!

  17. Europeanonion permalink
    August 6, 2018 7:16 am

    Statistics published recently conclude that less people are listening/watching news programmes. Ill-informed, crafted misinformation and Metropolitan obsessives cannot be helping much. I switched my bedside radio on this morning and was quickly appraised that if there were not sufficient local tragedies and dire warnings to be mustered then there was a whole world of tragedies and pseudo tragedies to be mined. Everything was intractable and there was a commonality in the presentations, that lives should be trouble free and if they were not then someone was to blame, never any suggestion that diverse man is all too often the author of his own difficulties and that in normal life we rarely defer to authority, in fact, rather regard such edifices as intrinsically suspect. I switched it off. It is not that I wish to be insular but rather I have enough in my life to feed my anxieties without the constant drip-drip of ‘what ifs’ and analysis; tragedies, seemingly, proliferate to fill the time available and with so many staffers to find work for the BBC ensures that their schedules are filled with enough news orientated programmes to prevent them from being idle hands, the devil’s work.

    Jeremy Paxman, not an easy referral, reflecting on his time presenting the current affairs programme ‘Newsnight’ was quite scathing about what its immature direction often involved him in; its regular lady presenter even made accusations of ‘up-skirting’ pranks by the production crew. To see the daily outpouring of BBC twenty-four hour televised news we see zombie presenters regurgitating whatever is put before them, largely un-attributable. Whereas, for all their faults, newspapers have an editor in chief, the BBC has programme editors, detracting from the idea I suppose that there could be any mention of bias but promoting the idea of rogue elements being allowed a free hand and the loss of ultimate responsibility. When the BBC speaks its representatives are immediately promoted to the level of experts and whatever they pronounce become unequivocal. Where did they gain this patina of respectability? But it is salutary to think that without websites such as this so much would pass us by as being authoritative. The BBC is all consensus where no such attribution exists. Especially in the scientific field, they are but one voice that needs to argue with other opinions in unsettled fields such as Climate Change just to find some sort of truth, no matter how feeble.

    The BBC has an opinion which, when analysed, is unflattering and no more valid than any informed opinion cobbled together by you or I. Their programme, ‘The Moral Maze’, is, notionally a valuable contributor to debate and does present arguments quite forcefully. Yet that programme was fatally weakened because David Starkey and Janet Daley were obviously rooted in a creed that of itself the BBC found offensive and too challenging without them opening their mouths. These were people regularly shut-up for telling it how it was and were a very good bellwether as to the tolerance of the BBC model. To think that in a debating programme there could be anxiety generated by knowledgeable people speaking their truth (open to refutation) by invitation, a sop. There was certainly an element that truth could be mined but it had to be the corporation’s truth presented with that received English mock solemnity which is the bedrock of the BBC’s subversion of uncomfortable facts. They pronounced, there and then, that the facts were known and that they were its guardians. You have to ask, then why have a programme that suggests that ambivalence might be at the centre of matters while then policing it to such a degree as to disprove that thesis? The BBC’s bias is so often not so much what is said but what is actually chosen to be discussed and the focus on their issues ends up in psycho-babble and people turning off.

  18. August 6, 2018 9:27 pm

    What’s going on, if you listen to end of a report you find the motivation
    In 10 days time a government consultation ends, so activists have put out a PR report to generate FRAMING.

    It’s PR not news, a good scare story to set the agenda for govt air pollution consultation
    My post on b-BBC
    I posted the first part above
    Here’s the second

    Emily : “.. all the people they used in the study were not exposed to levels ABOVE UK guidelines”

    (Bias #4 How can she know that ? They might do activities taking them well over guidelines: eg a combine harvester driver, glassblower, heavy dope smoke etc.)

    Emily “This suggests that THE SUPPOSED SAFE LIMITS are NOT necessarily that safe”

    (Bias #5 As to the levels where they live : you are talking about air pollution levels TODAY
    ..doh your ventricle doesn’t get enlarged cos of what happened TODAY, it will have happened over the last 10, 20, 30, 40 years so in an era of super falling air pollution, it’s past air levels which are more important not today’s )

    Emily :”The reaction from DEFRA ..the gov has put in place a £3.5bn plan to reduce harmful emissions ..Britain will be the first”
    (Government fallacy there : The fallacy of rushing to be first pioneer, means many mistakes and costs)

    Emily “If you are interested in having a say the govt consultation closes on the 14th of August there is still time to tell the gov what your think”

    Her end take gives the motivation ? Activists want a hard gov approach, so they are getting a scare story before the deadline, and pushing you to put pressure on the gov

    The government consultation with Aug 14 deadline

    \\ As soon as you read the words ‘a recent study’ you know there’s some political motivated group behind it.
    Who funded the study I wonder that’s more interesting, and who’s backing it up, but as long as it meets BBC political agenda they report it no questions asked. //

    • August 6, 2018 10:35 pm

      The BBC article on Friday had open comments
      #2 comment
      \\ The pic of the car belching smoke isn’t belching diesel.
      It clearly has a horribly worn engine and is burning its own lubricating oil.
      That could happen with petrol or diesel engines.
      A car in that state is an MOT fail too so actually illegal.

      That pic is up there with using the steam (water) from power stations to illustrate pollution.. //

      …..Another one
      \\ more agenda driven rubbish by the bbc, perhaps the agendists would like to ban pollen, sand storms,ect.
      perhaps you could show the air particulate readings for the vast amount of the country,instead of choice picking hot spots, more copy and paste biased reporting. hysterical article hysterical comments //

      • dave permalink
        August 7, 2018 7:38 am

        The British Public and the BBC have been “doing their things” for a long time. “The things” are, in the case of the Public to be worried, and angry in a vaguely left-wing way, and in the case of the BBC to provide plausible reasons for being worried and angry, together with a foolish nostrum.
        It is team-work.

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