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Why is air pollution damaging to my body?


Air pollution is in the air that we breathe in.

Air pollution particles and gases enter our bodies and can damage our cells in different ways. They usually get into our lungs first and can then move into our blood to reach organs such as our heart and brain.


Any amount of pollution can be damaging to our health, but the more that you are exposed to, the bigger the risk and the larger the effect it can have on you and your family.


Some people are more vulnerable to the impacts of air pollution than others. Those more at risk from air pollution include:


  • Children
  • Pregnant people
  • Older people
  • People with lung conditions such as: asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer
  • People with heart conditions such as: coronary artery disease, heart failure and high blood pressure.


There are things we can all do to protect our health from air pollution. If you are concerned that you may be more vulnerable to air pollution, further advice is also available here.  

A line illustration of a person breathing in pollution. You can see the particles entering their lungs.

This video shows Mala and Ariyan's story, about how air pollution can impact children's health.


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If you would like to find out more about where all the stats, facts and figures have come from, see our references page