Witnesses seem to have a political, personal or professional interest in implicating air pollution from traffic as a cause of death.
The second inquest into the tragic death of Ella Kissi-Debrah in 2013 began on 30th November (1). Interested parties include Transport for London, The Mayor of London’s Office, Lewisham Council, the Department of Health, the Department of Transport, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Professor (Sir) Stephen Holgate.
ABD Environment spokesman Paul Biggs said: “I contacted the Inner South London Coroner’s Court on 14th October expressing my concerns about the apparent lack of witnesses giving evidence to counter the claims of air pollution being a cause of death and asked if I could give evidence, but my request was refused on the grounds that I am not an ‘interested person.’ I made the points that the nearest air pollution monitoring station is a mile from the Kissi-Debrah family home, which can hardly be regarded as ‘close.’ Was Ella’s actual individual exposure to anything outdoors or indoors actually measured? On average 90% of our time is spent indoors where air quality can be much worse than outdoors (2). Spikes in air pollution can be related to hot and cold weather conditions. Hot and cold weather conditions are also asthma ‘triggers’ (3). There really is no hard evidence to implicate air pollution as a cause of death in this or any other case.”
The inquest will also look at the steps taken to reduce air pollution. Ella’s mother, Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, has also described Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTN) in Lewisham as “insane” (4) due to the resultant increase in air pollution – a criticism that the ABD supports.
Paul Biggs recently had a letter published highlighting the false claims, deep flaws and uncertainties associated with air pollution epidemiology (5).
Paul Biggs is a Biological Sciences graduate who retired from a career in medical research in 2014.
Notes for editors
(1) London Inner South Coroner’s Court Diary: https://www.innersouthlondoncoroner.org.uk/court-diary?f=30%2f11%2f2020&t=06%2f12%2f2020
(2) Indoor Air Pollution: https://www.indoorairpollution.co.uk/
(3) NHS – Asthma: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/asthma/causes/
(4) Air quality voice Rosamund Kissi-Debrah slams Lee Green LTN: https://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/18616846.air-quality-voice-rosamund-kissi-debrah-slams-lee-green-ltn/
(5) Air pollution does not cause 40,000 deaths per year: https://www.abd.org.uk/letter-air-pollution-does-not-cause-40000-deaths-a-year/