Tag Archive: health

  1. Health-damaging polluted air – EU citizens could sue their governments

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    Source: euractiv, Georgi Gotev

    A top court advisor shared that citizens in European Union countries may be able to sue their governments for compensation if their health is damaged by illegal levels of air pollution

    The European Environmental Agency estimates air pollution to be responsible for roughly 300,000 premature deaths a year in Europe. Following 10 EU countries being found guilty of illegal air pollution by the Luxembourg Court of Justice of the EU in the last 10 years, an advisor to the court has stated that citizens may be able to sue their home countries.

    An infringement of the limit values for the protection of air quality under EU law may give rise to entitlement to compensation from the State,” the court said in a statement.

    An individual must be able to prove that the damage to their health was caused directly by air pollution. “This legal confirmation that there are routes to hold those in power to account is a major breakthrough in the fight for clean and healthy air,” said Irmina Kotiuk, lawyer at environmental law firm ClientEarth.

  2. Harmful noise pollution impacts 60 million Europeans at home

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    Source: Mayor.eu, Tzvetozar Vincent Iolov

    The Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) releases figures obtained from the study of 749 continental cities, projecting potential health detriment.

    ISGlobal recently shared its noise pollution findings via the Environment International Journal, highlighting that 60 million people across Europe are negatively impacted by noise pollution. View the full breakdown of observed cities here.

    The main cause of environmental noise in urban areas is road traffic, with previous research linking high levels of sustained environmental noise to a range of health impacts. Such impacts include a sustained stress response, in which stress hormones increase heart rate, blood pressure, and vasoconstriction. With time, such reactions may lead to chronic illnesses including depression, anxiety, and cardiovascular diseases. Even with this in mind, it is still surprising to learn of a further conclusion in the study: if cities committed to complying with World Health Organisation (WHO) noise-level guidelines, 3,600 ischaemic heart disease deaths could be prevented annually.

    Of the 123 million adults that partook in the study, 48% were exposed to levels of environmental noise that averaged above 53 decibels in any given 24 hour period, exceeding guidelines by the WHO. Furthermore, 11 million adults admitted to being highly annoyed by road traffic noise, heightening associated stress levels.

    It should be noted that results are not fully comprehensive and standardized as varying methodologies and datasets were utilized in the study. However, there can be no doubt that this extensive noise pollution study provides insight into a worrying traffic trend.

  3. Air pollution linked to 1.8 million deaths annually

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    Source: Euractiv

    Recently published studies in The Lancet Planetary Health journal link some 1.8 million excess deaths and nearly 2 million asthma cases to air pollution globally in 2019.

    These findings reveal the desperate need for strategies to improve air pollution and reduce harmful exposures – particularly to the most vulnerable groups in society, children and the elderly. It has been revealed that 2.5 billion people, 86% of those living in urban areas worldwide, are exposed to unhealthy particulate matter levels. World Health Organisation (WHO) states, “there is a close, quantitative relationship between exposure to high concentrations of small particulates and increased mortality or morbidity, both daily and over time.”

    The European Commission is currently preparing a legislative proposal that acts to more closely align EU air quality standards to those recommended by WHO; this will make up one part of the flagship European Green Deal, planned for late 2022. The deal is crucial as many European locations fall behind the NO2 limit. There are currently 13 infringement cases open against member states, with NO2 concentrations in these locations continually exceeding the upper limit of 40 μg/m3.

    It should be noted, that pollution in the EU has seen a general decrease in the last two decades, including key pollutants PM2.5 and NO2. While this is positive, there is a long road to cleaner air and a healthier society; even with these improvements, NO2 was still associated with 1.85 million new pediatric asthma cases in 2019.

    The full studies can be read here, and here.

  4. Europe’s 10 noisiest cities revealed

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    Source: TheMayor.eu

    Noise pollution in cities across Europe continues at a dangerous level, with the potential to significantly impact citizens’ health.

    British-based financial service provider money.co.uk has recently published a ranking of European cities based on noise level. The findings were calculated taking into account population density, Mimi noise pollution score, land and air traffic, and congestion. The final rankings were:

    1. Paris, France – Score: 8.40
    2. London, United Kingdom – Score: 8.21
    3. Rome, Italy – Score: 4.96
    4. Madrid, Spain – Score: 4.69
    5. Barcelona, Spain – Score: 4.55
    6. Manchester, United Kingdom – Score: 4.40
    7. Vienna, Austria – Score: 4.33
    8. Berlin, Germany – Score: 3.66
    9. Birmingham, United Kingdom – Score: 3.64
    10. Milan, Italy – Score: 3.41

    Long-term exposure to levels of noise pollution this high may lead to a range of health consequences including noise-induced hearing loss, sleep deprivation, increased stress and blood pressure, and cognitive impairment in children. With such a range of detrimental effects, reducing the level of noise pollution in our largest urban areas is key to securing population health. The question remains, how can this be achieved, and what role could light electric vehicles be set to play?

  5. E-cyclists breathe less polluted air

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    Source: Fietsberaad Crow

    E-bike users saw a pollutant intake 33% lower than pedal cyclists

    It’s well known that during exercise the body requires more oxygen, breathing more intensely. A new study published in the Journal of Transport & Health now places this extra exertion in the context of urban settings that many cyclists ride through.

    Polluted air intake was found to be reduced by 33% across nineteen participants when using an e-Bike, compared to a non-assisted bike. Variation of intake was seen across bicycle type, gender, speed, and route typography. The conclusion reached is that the assisted movement of an e-Bike reduces the rate of respiration, and therefore exposure to polluted air.

    The study shines a light on the potential for further research into e-Bikes, and the additional health benefits associated with riding one.

  6. Vanraam Duo bike supports elderly facing social isolation

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    Many lonely elderly live with social isolation, and with a growing group of elderly people, this will in all likelihood only increase. Fortunately, there are many people who work on combatting this issue, and various initiatives. An example of such an initiative is: duo cycling with elderly people.

    A lot of older adults feel lonely. The loneliness of the elderly often starts by stopping work, but causes also include children leaving home, the loss of a partner and a limited social network. Loneliness or social isolation of the elderly is a growing problem and can have major consequences, especially for the elderly themselves. These include increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, health problems and even premature death. But how can we help lonely elderly? Keep in touch, become a volunteer or start an initiative yourself. An example of such an initiative is duo cycling with the elderly. In recent years, many (lonely) elderly people have been on the road with this initiative, or still, regularly go out on a duo bike.

    Help lonely elderly: Why a (duo) bike?

    Cycling is healthy! You are active in the open air, and cycling strengthens the heart, lungs and resistance. By exercising, the brain stays younger, you stay mobile longer, and you produce endorphins that make you feel better. Thus, cycling is a valuable activity to do with lonely elderly people, and you take them out of their social isolation.

    What is a duo bike?

    You have probably seen them before: a bike where two people sit side by side. One user controls the bike, and both users can pedal. The users both have good visibility and can easily communicate with each other because of the sitting positions next to each other. Many elderly people are no longer able to cycle independently, but the duo bike offers new opportunities. The passenger is not required to pedal along. With the optional disengagement hub, you can decide how you cycle together: the co-pilot is obliged to cycle along, the co-pilot cannot cycle along, or the co-pilot cycles along at his or her own pace. This makes the duo bike suitable for elderly people who can both actively or inactively pedal and feel the wind in their hair.

    The Fun2Go duo bike from Van Raam

    Van Raam is a manufacturer of unique special needs bikes. These are individual and multi-person bikes for people who can not (or can no longer) cycle on a regular bike. The Fun2Go duo bike is a bike with many features. For example, the duo bike is available with electric pedal assistance, which means that the cyclist(s) need less strength and effort and you can even cycle backwards with the assistance.

    The duo bike has a lot of advantages. It not only promotes conducive loneliness among the elderly and is very cosy and healthy, but the Fun2Go also has many benefits:

    • No step in, easy to take your seat
    • Very agile, duo bike can rotate around its axis
    • Multiple gears
    • Shopping basket
    • Parking brake
    • Stable and firm
    • Best tested

    Many riders have already enjoyed the duo bike. For example, the organization Fietsmaatjes has been working for years to combat loneliness among the elderly, and even Dutch King Willem-Alexander has participated as a cycling buddy on the duo bike Fun2Go.

    Source: https://www.vanraam.com/en-gb/advice-inspiration/news/duo-bike-for-lonely-elderly-against-social-isolation

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