Saturday, 24 July 2010


The final common pathway of metals and particulates (oxidative stress),allergens (asthma) and gases (noxes and ozone).The picture above shows leakage,the black lines, into inflammed tissues

Most people think of inflammation as a small red painful itchy lump, or a swollen knee or ankle. They think of it as local. A real flu gives a hint at how it can be a whole body response. You won’t hear about this in relation to air pollution from the newspapers, TV, parliament or government bodies. Plausible deniability is one of the reasons for “not knowing” why the body’s rhythms of inflammation make a nonsense of the way averages of pollution, and the general numbers game, are played out in London. Self-amplifying cascades are the order of the day. A single peak episode will trigger an unstoppable, uncontrollable immune reaction leaving the whole body more sensitive to the next lot of pollution and awash with activated cells, new cells breeding fast and swamped with little known hormones, some of which stay around for 24 hours or longer. When this pollution becomes long term, or when we have a long heat wave this gets really serious and leads to permanent scarring and damage. If a child has lived long enough in such conditions the lungs never grow properly, the wounded lungs scarring, if it is in the womb its development is affected.Low birth weight,preterm delivery and therefor infant mortality all rise in frequency. Most politicians prefer to talk about the end stage, dying early, rather than the damage that affects babies or youngsters for their whole life ahead.


Inflammation 1 the horrible hidden hormones

These substances are not made by distinct, specialised glands, but by a variety of cells (see inflammation 2). The great majority of their actions are on site. In some cases they circulate in the blood to exert hormonal effects on distant organs and tissues involved on our defences, and also on the guerrilla army of cells that have moved from the blood into places like the brain, gut, heart and placenta to lie in wait for infection and ambush any viruses or bacteria.

a) cytokines (over a hundred), the interleukins
b) chemotaxins
c) kinins
d) Complement
e) Products of blood clotting
f) Histamine
g) Eicosanoids
h) Lysosomal enzymes and nitric oxide

You get the picture, you probably haven’t heard of many of these…but I haven’t made them up. A completely up to date textbook would list more, show up more connections, describe a bigger circulation.

If ordinary hormones are the long range parcel service, then cytokines start out as notes from next door neighbours, except that they are a windswept snowstorm of paper, of many colours.

They were the killers in Spanish Flu, and create the final stage of lethal Bird Flu. We need them to fight viruses and bacteria, and heal cuts and stings, but when they are switched on by the wrong things, or get too active, they get too damaging.

When the amounts are too high they stop being local (microscopic distances) and go global. They hang around for many hours, some for days others for weeks. They leave the lungs ready to react faster and more intensely to the next lot of pollution. This makes such biological nonsense of the common number averages used in counting pollution. Their switch is on/off, and gets more sensitive as the day goes on *see the nox/ozone graphs of lethal London levels.


Inflammation 2 the the cells that try too hard, sometimes

Neutrophils chomp, send messages to dilate blood vessels and make them leaky

Basophils like mast cells,but in the blood, release histamine,a potent chemical

Eosinophils special parasite killers, and mediate allergic reactions

…munchers,killer chemical secretors….move out of blood into all tissues, to become the guerrilla army

Lymphocytes…..memory recognition cells

B cells …start an antibody response

T cells…..killers

Plasma cells…..make antibodies

Macrophages (including the brain microglia), munchers,chemical killers,rubbish processors helping T cells learn what rubbish is

Mast cells release histamine and other chemicals in an on/off burst….anaphyllactic shock is when all their fireworks go off at once.

In the bloodstream there are a number of specialist white cells…recognition scouts, dispatch riders, memory cells and heavyweight munchers. They send orders and messages to each other, and when things get too hot their messages are carried to everywhere in the body (going global).Munchers are good at digesting bugs and worn out cells,they clean up stuff. But when its soot, or coal dust, or asbestos, or cigarette smoke or rock dust or fibreglass, or particulates, they just can’t…so they die….and their neighbours get the message to clean things up, eat the rubbish (literally), and fail again….
Once you see a smokers lung at post mortem, you never forget it. We have taken action against passive smoking…but not against air pollution to anything like the same extent.


Inflammation 3 Chronic Inflammation and Scarring,

(top) brain chronic inflammatory changes

(bottom) lung with spaces where air used to flow (arrowheads),scar tissue (arrows) and collections of white cells (star)

Lung, Brain, Heart and Placenta.

If the inflammation is bad enough or frequent enough the white cells and their messages can “reach the parts other beers cannot reach”, switch on their cousins in the brain, heart ( where lung blood reaches first) and womb. Probably lots of other places that have not been studied yet as well.

The wound healing part of inflammation takes place, and microscopic scarring, like any scars you have that you can see on your skin, but inside.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010



Lethal London Ozone levels have been recorded over the last few days, in the current heatwave.

The government, via DEFRA, love to blame the “foreign” transboundary air flowing from the industrial areas of Northern Europe…and see no reason to change transport policy here. They say only winds from the east cause pollution.

Since Monday 19th July 2010, the winds have been SW-SSW, and temperatures 28-29 degrees centigrade… the levels in London, shown above, are all our own work !!!

130 =6%
150 = 8%

180-190 = 10% DAILY DEATHS MOVE UP!

200 people a day die in London on an average day, so that's an extra 10, 12,16 or 20


The average death rate for people over 55 (the elderly are much more at risk here) can go up from 9/100,000 to 20/100,000 in extended heatwaves....where ozone and temeperature combine.

For a fixed temeperature...the higher the ozone, the more die

For a fixed ozone level.... the higher the temperature the more die

The death rates are much higher amongst the working class in all cases.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Careful Disposal Of Fly Ash

Yes,this is how a hazardous waste site in England is managing some of the most carcinogenic substances known to man.."carefully sealed containers"....I DON'T THINK SO !!!