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Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the link between pollen, air quality and health, and what are the costs to the NHS of treating the symptoms?

Pollen Research is not an area that we are involved in. The leading organisation in that area is the National Pollen & Aerobiology Research Unit. They can be contacted via their website: http://www.pollenuk.co.uk

This website reports data collected from the United Kingdom national air monitoring networks. Historically our work focussed on levels of smoke and sulphur dioxide arising from the combustion of sulphur-containing fossil fuels such as coal for domestic and industrial purpose. The major threat to clean air now, however, is from traffic emissions. Petrol and diesel-engine motor vehicles emit a wide variety of pollutants, principally carbon monoxide (CO), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulates (PM10), which have an increasing impact on urban air quality. In addition, photochemical reactions resulting from the action of sunlight on nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and VOCs from vehicles leads to the formation of ozone, a secondary long-range pollutant, which impacts in rural areas often far from the original emission site. Acid rain is another long-range pollutant influenced by vehicle NOx emissions.

Statutory requirements concerning agricultural crops is the responsibility of central government and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) can be contacted on 08459 33 55 77. Defra also produce a very useful "Air Pollution and Health Pack" covering both indoor and outdoor air quality issues. To get hold of a free copy write to:

Department of Health Publications Centre,
PO Box 410,
Wetherby, LS23 7LN.

We do not hold information on the relative costs of different treatments to the National Health Service. The Department of Health can be contacted on 020 7210 4850. For individual health concerns you should contact your GP.

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