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Researchers are on the pulse of pollution problem

Scientists studying the effects of air pollution on public health have identified a link between poor air quality and an increased risk of developing an irregular heartbeat and blood clots on the lung.

It’s the latest in a series of health complications to be associated with exposure to high levels of air pollution, following previous revelations that it can lead to an elevated risk of heart attack and cause low birth weights in babies.

Air pollution resulted in seven million deaths in 2012 according the World Health Organisation, which linked dirty air to heart disease, breathing difficulties and cancer.

Many reports attribute the greatest contribution to poor air quality to diesel vehicle emissions. Further attention has recently been drawn to the potential harm diesel is doing to the local environment, with the RAC Foundation and a special adviser to London Mayor Boris Johnson both calling for measures to encourage drivers out of cars that sip fuel from the black pump.

While they are advocating a return to greater popularity for petrol, we can demonstrate that stronger manufacturer support for LPG autogas powered vehicles could make even more difference to cutting pollution.

We’ve known for a long time that LPG autogas burns cleanly and typically produces up to 120 times less of the harmful small particulates found in the tailpipe emissions of some diesel vehicles, as well as 20 times fewer oxides of nitrogen than diesel and 50 per cent fewer than petrol.

A recent European study we commissioned went further, examining the emissions data of 9,000 vehicles to compare the green credentials of LPG autogas with those of petrol, diesel and CNG. The study’s author, Dr Eric Johnson, found that LPG outperformed the other products for a number of environmental criteria, reinforcing its position as the leading clean fuel.

So to us the message is clear – LPG autogas must be part of a serious and sustained effort to address the air pollution that is shown to cause widespread health concerns such as irregular heartbeat. The challenge is to get manufacturers ‘on the pulse’ as well.

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