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  1. ITV Report

'NHS health centres in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution'

Credit: Frank Rumpenhorst/DPA/PA Images

More than 2,000 GP surgeries, clinics and hospitals across the UK are in areas which breach safe pollution limits, with people breathing "toxic air" as they seek medical care, analysis suggests.

The British Lung Foundation says they are in areas where average levels of tiny particle pollution known as "particulate matter" or PM2.5 are above limits recommended by the World Health Organisation.

The particles, the majority of which come from road transport in urban areas, are linked to causing and worsening diseases including asthma, coronary heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer.

In Wales, 54 GP surgeries and three hospitals are in polluted areas, with Cardiff seeing the highest levels of PM2.5.

It's unacceptable that vulnerable people with NHS appointments are being exposed to toxic air that could make their health worse.

– Alison Cook, British Lung Foundation

The UK currently meets legal limits for PM2.5 but these are more than twice as high as the recommended ceiling from the WHO.

The British Lung Foundation is urging the UK Government to put the WHO limit for PM2.5 into UK law in the forthcoming Environment Bill.

We’re grateful to the British Lung Foundation for its report and will consider its findings as we develop our wider policy to improve air quality and protect public health in Wales.

We are currently assessing the practical aspects of adopting the World Health Organisation guidelines for air pollution in Wales. We will also publish our Clean Air Zone Framework for Wales by the end of the year.

– Welsh Government spokesperson