Air pollution could shorten a child's life by up to seven months, a study on Birmingham has suggested.
Researchers at Kings College London have found that an eight-year-old child in Birmingham born in 2011 may die between two to seven months early if exposed over their lifetime to projected future pollution concentrations.
It is the first time new Government guidance on "mortality burdens" of airpollution has been applied in practice in a large city area.
The study looked at the combined impact of two pollutants - particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide - two of the leading causes of poor health from air pollution.
The impact was considered to be worse than some other major cities in the UK - with the report finding a higher loss of life expectancy in Birmingham than Manchester.
The study calculated the annual health cost of air pollution in Birmingham as between £190 million to £470 million per year.
Local leaders are calling for clean air zones to be established in major cities across the country.
Polly Billington, director of the UK100 network, which commissioned the research, said:
This report should be a wake-up call to policymakers not just in Birmingham but across the country.
A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said:
Air quality has improved significantly in recent years, but air pollution continues to shorten lives which is why we are taking concerted action to tackle it.
The NHS says it welcomes the call for action.
2.6 million children in England are breathing in toxic fumes every day and now there is clear and frightening evidence that this could also shorten their lives. The NHS is taking practical steps to reduce our effect on the environment, as well as treating those suffering the consequences of air pollution, yet we cannot win this fight alone and the growing consensus on the need for wider action across society is welcome." >