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Approved Research

London Great Smog (1952) and later life outcomes

Principal Investigator: Mr Nicolau Martin Bassols
Approved Research ID: 63270
Approval date: July 28th 2020

Lay summary

In this project we will examine the effects of in-utero and early childhood exposure to the Great London

Smog (1952) on later life outcomes. The Great London Smog (1952) was a severe air-pollution event that

affected London during 5 days of December 1952. Retrospective assessment has attributed 12,000 deaths

to that event during the following year. We will examine if individuals that experienced that acute pollution event in-utero or at early

childhood suffered long lasting detrimental health effects.

The rational of this project is to establish the long term effects of events of extreme pollution on health outcomes. This should have a major impact for developing countries with highly polluted cities. These cities occasionally suffer from pollution shocks, which are events of extreme pollution caused by atmospheric conditions, increased energy consumption during cold waves, etc. An example for this is the city of Beijing (China). According to the US embassy in Beijing, from 2008 to 2015 pollution levels at that city where unhealthy 49% of the time and very unhealthy 14% of the time, but only hazardous 4% of the time. To deal with these hazardous pollution events China has established red alerts, which restrict activities. Our project would directly contribute to the need of establishing these kind of policies. 

It would also have big impact for developing countries suffering natural disasters that raise pollution levels. An example of this could be the bush-fires in Australia of 2020.

The project should last approximately one year.