‘Striking association’ found between nine-year-old’s hospital admissions and local spikes in air pollution
Sandra LavilleWed 4 Jul 2018 16.18 BST
The repeated hospital admissions of a girl who died in an asthma attack at the age of nine show a “striking association” with spikes in illegal levels of air pollution around her home in London, legal documents have revealed.
Ella Kissi-Debrah, from Hither Green, near the capital’s busy South Circular Road, experienced seizures for three years prior to her death in February 2013. Her family are calling for a new inquest into her death following fresh evidence that air pollution was a contributory factor.
Documents submitted to the attorney general by the family’s lawyers show that Ella’s increasingly frequent hospital admissions from asthma attacks in her last three years coincided with spikes in illegal levels of air pollution, primarily from diesel cars and vans. Ella’s home was 25 metres from the South Circular, one of London’s hotspots for high levels of air pollution.
“There was a striking association with air pollution episodes,” the legal papers state. Ella’s last hospital admission took place on 7 February 2013, just eight days before her death and during one of the worst air pollution episodes in her local area.
“The dramatic worsening of her asthma in relation to air pollution episodes would go a long way to explain the timing of her exacerbations across her last four years,” the documents say.
The government has been breaching the law since 2010 by failing to put in place plans to reduce air pollution and reduce the public’s exposure to it.