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Truth Behind the Headlines: Indoor air pollution has a negative impact on childhood health problems
(26/05/20)

UK media report that medical experts are calling for councils to be given new powers to tackle indoor air pollution amid mounting evidence it is threatening the health of children in schools, nurseries and homes across the UK. Reports highlighted the negative impact indoor air pollution has on a range of childhood health problems from asthma to conjunctivitis, dermatitis and eczema as well as children in the UK spending most of their time indoors. 

 

Coverage was based on a report which is based on a review of the science of indoor pollution, and conversations with children, young people and families. It also makes recommendations for Government and local authorities as well as guidance for families. 

Using our recommended five tips, Global Action Plan reviewed the study:

 

Questions to ask to get to the truth Our response
1. Does the article refer to a report to back up its claims? Yes, "The inside story: Health effects of indoor air quality on children and young people", published January 2020.
2. Who is behind the study it refers to? Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health - is the professional body for paediatricians in the UK. It is a British professional body dedicated to improving the practice of medicine, chiefly through the accreditation of physicians by examination.
3. How fantastical and radical is the claim that is being made? The literature review analysis is plausible and was conducted by air pollution experts. However, there is little commentary on critiquing the studies being reviewed.
4. What geographical region does the claim refer to? United Kingdom
5. What is the sample size of the study?

The authors of the report reference 221 studies which is a large sample. It is also difficult to get population level data on the quality of indoor air given it has not been highly researched in the past.

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