This note discusses the possible adverse health effects of photochemical smog in British cities during hot weather. On hot, still days, the chemicals from vehicle exhausts, together with low concentrations of industrial pollutants, accumulate over cities; sunlight then catalyses further reactions, to form ozone and acidic aerosols. The health effects of this mixture are complex and difficult to evaluate. The general consensus of various groups of experts is that air pollution is an important though not critical health issue in the UK. This supports the view that, even at present concentrations, air pollution has harmful effects on health. More monitoring and more research into the effects of different pollutants are needed. The recent Environment Act has given local authorities additional powers, but no more money, to clean up the environment. As the required improvements to air quality will take time, medical practitioners should advise their patients on how to minimise the effects of pollution on their health, and reassure them that air pollution is not a cause for panic.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    British Medical Association

    BMA House, Tavistock Square
    London WC1H 9JR,   United Kingdom 
  • Authors:
    • Green, M
  • Publication Date: 1995-8-12


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: p. 401-2
  • Serial:
    • BMJ
    • Volume: 311
    • Issue Number: 7002
    • Publisher: British Medical Association
    • ISSN: 0959-8138
    • Serial URL:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00714496
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Dec 27 1995 12:00AM