Air pollution causes harm at all stages of life: Study
Air pollution causes harm to people at all stages of life, researchers from Imperial College London have found.
The report, commissioned by the Greater London Authority, found exposure to certain particles could lead to miscarriages, cause low sperm count and stunt children's lung growth.
Later in adulthood, it could also cause chronic illnesses, cancer and strokes.
In response, the government said it fully understood the importance of improving air quality.
The team from Imperial's Environmental Research Group looked at evidence from more than 35,000 studies over 10 years.
As part of the research, the team looked at studies from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the UK Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution (COMEAP), the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), the Health Effects Institute, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
'Harms foetal development'
The review found air pollution harmed fetal development during pregnancy and could cause low birth weight and miscarriages, as well as a low sperm count in men.
It also found air pollution could stunt lung growth in children, cause asthma, and affect blood pressure, cognitive abilities and mental health.
Researchers identified particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) - both of which come from vehicle exhausts - as particularly harmful.
There was no evidence to identify a threshold where PM2.5 did no harm, and even those living in the least polluted suburbs of London were affected, they said.