In an unprecedented move, parents in London were advised to “take care” when taking their baby outside because of toxic air pollution levels.
The warning - issued last Friday and reported in the Evening Standard - originated from Plume Labs, a company whose aim is “making the air more transparent”. Following hour-by-hour “high” readings, Plume Labs’ advice was for parents to “take care” when they “bring baby out” and when doing outdoor sports, and to “take it easy” when cycling or eating outside.
Plume Labs put the level of air pollution in London as “high”, based on World Health Organisation (WHO) limits, which are stricter for some pollutants than EU rules used by the Government and other experts. The advice from Public Health England for high pollution levels means the general population should consider reducing activity if experiencing discomfort.
Romain Lacombe, chief executive of Plume Labs, said: “We are not saying that you should not go out with your baby. We are advising to avoid major roads and high traffic areas.”
The warning follows London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s electoral pledge to make pollution one of his priorities. As part of this he has agreed to air quality alerts being displayed publically for the first time in the capital, at bus stops, Tube stations and roadsides. Khan said the warnings would help Londoners take "appropriate measures to protect themselves". Khan is also opposing plans for the third runway at Heathrow airport.
Simon Birkett, of Clean Air in London, said: “It’s fair to say that any vulnerable people, young or old, should consider reducing activity if they feel symptoms such as difficulty breathing or tightness in the chest. But please check the official Government advice.”
You can check daily pollution levels in the capital here: http://www.londonair.org.uk/london/asp/nowcast.asp