HC Deb 21 April 1999 vol 329 cc540-1W
Mrs. Brinton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is his estimate of(a) the annual number of early deaths and hospital admissions currently attributable to particle pollution, (b) the reduction in early deaths and hospital admissions by 2005, if the whole of the UK were to meet its current national air quality objective for particles and (c) the reduction in early deaths and hospital admissions by 2005, if the whole of the UK were to meet the proposed EC Air Quality Daughter Directive Stage 1 limit value for particles. [80782]

Ms Jowell

The Department has quantified the impact on health from current and future levels of airborne particle (PM10) concentrations in the United Kingdom as follows.

The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants' report 'Quantification of the Effects of Air Pollution on Health in the United Kingdom' concluded that PM10 concentrations in 1996 were likely to have brought forward the deaths of around 8,100 people in the UK. It also concluded that PM10 concentrations in 1996 contributed to about 10,500 respiratory hospital admissions, which may have been brought forward or additional. In both cases the people most at risk are likely to be the elderly suffering from chronic heart and lung diseases.

The Government recently published their proposals for review of the National Air Quality Strategy, and, in particular, their proposals for revised and additional objectives for the pollutants. During the review process, as a result of a better understanding of the sources and types of particles in the UK provided by the work of the Airborne Particles Expert Group, it became apparent that the current PM10 objective would not be achievable in a number of local authority areas with any measures that are currently practicable. The Expert Group's work also revealed the importance of non-UK sources and the limit to which local authority and central Government action alone could control levels of PM10 The Government are consulting on a proposal to replace the current PM10 objective with the Stage 1 limit values in the European Community Air Quality Daughter Directive, while retaining the current objective as an indicative level. Although sufficient information was not available to estimate the benefits of meeting the current objective across the whole of the UK, further work is planned to estimate the benefits of reducing levels of PM10 below the limit values as part of the next review of the Strategy.

The Government will reconsider the indicative level for particles once clear evidence is available on the significance of PM2.5 for health with a view, potentially, to setting an objective based on concentration of this finer fraction. Discussions are also in progress with the UK's EC partners to explore ways of reducing the transboundary particle problem.

There is expected to be a cumulative reduction of about 5,000 early deaths and about 4,000 respiratory hospital admissions over the period 1996 to 2005 as a result of agreed measures to reduce PM101 (Calculations for the year 2005 alone would give about 900 fewer early deaths and about 750 fewer respiratory hospital admissions than in 1996). In a typical year, the predicted concentrations of PM10 in 2005 would meet the proposed EC Stage 1 limit value at all urban background locations. There are however likely to be exceedences at busy roadsides in some large urban areas and possibly in the vicinity of some industrial plants.

1 Review of the National Air Quality Strategy Report, 1999.

Patient sex Suspect drug Reaction Outcome of Reaction
F Pripsen Allergic reaction Recovered after drug withdrawal
F Colpermin Allergic reaction Not known
F Ledermix dental kit Anaphylactic reaction Recovered after treatment
F Anusol cream Allergic reaction Recovering after treatment
F Arnica extract Allergic reaction Not recovered
M Quiet Life Allergic rash Recovering
F Colpermin Allergic reaction Not known
M Regulan Allergic rash Recovered after drug withdrawal

The Yellow Card Scheme for reporting adverse drug reactions was extended to include unlicensed herbal medicines in October 1996.The total number of suspected adverse drug reaction reports for any medicine containing one or more of the drug substances: ascorbic acid, retinol, riboflavine, thiamine, pyridoxine, nicotinamide, cyanocobalamin, tocopherol, folic acid, iron, calcium,

Patient sex Suspect drug(s) Reaction(s) Outcome of Reaction
F Redoxon, Calpol Allergic reaction, face oedema, pyrexia, eye inflammation Not known
F Folic acid, Ferrous gluconate, Ascorbic acid Anaphylactic reaction Recovered after treatment

The number of suspected adverse drug reactions reported for a particular drug substance depends on a number of factors, including the extent of use of the drug and the reporting rate for the drug. Medicines in the above categories are often supplied without prescription and it is generally recognised that the reporting rate for medicines supplied over the counter is lower than that for prescription medicines.