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Open AccessArticle

Inequalities in Exposure to Nitrogen Dioxide in Parks and Playgrounds in Greater London

1
MRC Centre for Environment & Health, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG, UK
2
Centre for Environmental Health and Sustainability & School of Geography, Geology and the Environment, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
3
Centre for Health Economics and Policy Innovation, Imperial College Business School, Imperial College London, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2AZ, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(17), 3194; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16173194
Received: 30 July 2019 / Revised: 19 August 2019 / Accepted: 21 August 2019 / Published: 1 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
Elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) have been associated with adverse health outcomes in children, including reduced lung function and increased rates of asthma. Many parts of London continue to exceed the annual average NO2 concentration of 40 µg/m3 set by the EU directive. Using high-resolution maps of annual average NO2 for 2016 from the London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory and detailed maps of open spaces from Britain’s national mapping agency, Ordnance Survey, we estimated average NO2 concentrations for every open space in Greater London and analysed geospatial patterns comparing Inner verses Outer London and the 32 London Boroughs. Across Greater London, 24% of play spaces, 67% of private parks and 27% of public parks had average levels of NO2 that exceeded the EU limit for NO2. Rates of exceedance were higher in Inner London; open spaces in the City of London had the highest average NO2 values among all the London Boroughs. The closest play space for more than 250,000 children (14% of children) under 16 years old in Greater London had NO2 concentrations above the recommended levels. Of these children, 66% (~165,000 children) lived in the most deprived areas of London, as measured by the Index of Multiple Deprivations, where average NO2 concentrations in play spaces were on average 6 µg/m3 higher than for play spaces in the least deprived quintile. More action is needed to reduce NO2 in open spaces to safe levels through pollution reduction and mitigation efforts, as currently, open spaces in Greater London, including play spaces, parks and gardens, still have dangerously high levels of NO2, according to the most recent NO2 map. View Full-Text
Keywords: nitrogen dioxide; children; exposure; play area; green space; London nitrogen dioxide; children; exposure; play area; green space; London
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Sheridan, C.E.; Roscoe, C.J.; Gulliver, J.; de Preux, L.; Fecht, D. Inequalities in Exposure to Nitrogen Dioxide in Parks and Playgrounds in Greater London. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 3194.

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