BSE is not the only example of the Government putting profit before health. It is now widely accepted that at least 10,000 premature deaths per annum in England and Wales are attributable to particulate matter primarily from vehicle exhausts. Levels of tropospheric ozone (a by-product of exhausts) in the summer are frequently above EU and DoE guidelines and on several occasions above limit values. Other air pollutants produced from motor vehicles are also of increasing concern. Yet the Government is very dismissive of health risks. Benzene, a known carcinogen, is a prime example of government attitude. WHO scientists have said that there is no safe limit, yet our government has said that annual averages of 5 parts per billion (ppb) constitute an exceedingly small risk. Sound familiar?
The Government sites air pollution monitors in parks and open spaces and records data averaged over 24-hour periods. When measurements are taken at kerbsides using continuous monitoring, high levels are recorded. For example in Hove, benzene levels have been recorded over 80 ppb for periods of one hour, but annual averages are within government limits of 5ppb. This is typical of any large town.
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