Man standing near moving bus

Health effects of air pollution

Demonstrating the links between air pollution and health

Understanding the symptoms of people most affected by air pollution will demonstrate how poor air quality leads to poor health in minoritised communities. This will strengthen the case for polluters to clean up their act.

Key info:

What are we doing together?

There is plenty of evidence that shows air pollution devastates health. We want to demonstrate the direct links between exposure to air pollution and poor health outcomes to help communities hold polluting industries accountable and to demand cleaner air. That’s why we are partnering with Centric Lab, an organisation which uses health-based scientific evidence to support justice movements.

Centric Lab will bring together a team of academics, scientists, and policy experts. This group will collaborate with people experiencing the worst injustices of air pollution.

Centric Lab will run a series of workshops to co-create a symptom tracker and to collect information about people’s symptoms of ill-health. Local people involved in the project will lead decisions on how to use the resulting data and insights. Finally, Centric Lab will co-create a new toolkit for communities to use to gather evidence and campaign for cleaner air.

As experts in this field, Centric Lab previously created this toolkit for communities, which enables people to discover how their health is affected by where they live.

Aim of the partnership

We want to learn more about the direct and causal link between poor air quality and ill-health. We hope to have new knowledge to: 

  1. understand if and where there are clusters of symptoms in areas that consistently record high levels of air pollution  
  2. track how symptoms lead to diseases related to air pollution, including lung and heart disease, and cancer. 
  3. create an open access database to demonstrate the link between exposure to air pollution and ill-health.

By uncovering irrefutable scientific evidence of clusters of symptoms experienced by people living in highly polluted areas, we can strengthen the local and national case for clean air. This data would also provide healthcare professionals with the information they need to better support communities most at risk of these harmful effects.

By the end of this project, the clean air toolkit will be ready to be widely used in communities across London and the UK. Centric Lab have plans to continue the work and share the project insights, including through Urban Health Council programme events.

Connection to our strategy

A core principle of our Health effects of air pollution programme is equity. We focus on people who are disproportionately affected by air pollution, who often have done the least to contribute to the problem. This means that addressing air quality is a social justice issue, as well as a health issue.  

Air pollution has a disproportionate effect on people in lower income areas. Black people, and people from other minoritised communities, are also more likely to be affected by air pollution. By funding this project, we want to support justice for communities experiencing the worst health effects of air pollution.

Centric Lab’s approach will engage with, and amplify the voices of, those most affected by air pollution. And we hope that the evidence gathered will drive the change that is needed to improve air quality and health in these communities.

Olamide Raheem

Want to find out more about this project?

Contact Portfolio Manager Olamide Raheem

Contact Olamide