Report sparks concerns over poor air quality on London Underground

“Passengers are exposed to the same concentration of particulates in an hour on the tube as they are during a full day above ground in ambient London air.”

Pollution in tube stations 30 times higher than beside busy roads in capital, experts say

Fresh concerns over air quality on the London Underground have been raised after researchers found that the concentration of particulate pollution in tube stations was up to 30 times higher than beside busy roads in the capital.

Click here to read the full article by Gwyn Topham, reported in The Guardian: Wed 9 Jan 2019


Air pollution experts have called for more analysis of the possible harmful effects of the underground’s particulates.

In a report, the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) warned Transport for London (TfL): “Given that there is strong evidence that both long- and short-term exposure to particle pollutants in ambient air are harmful to health, it is likely that there is some health risk.”

Tests found that the Northern Line had the highest concentration of PM2.5 (tiny particles linked to health problems) with the air on platforms at Hampstead station – the deepest on the tube network at 60 metres (200ft) below ground level – recording an average 492 micrograms per cubic metre (μg/m3) of air, compared with an annual average of 16 μg/m3 from a roadside monitoring site in the capital.

The hitherto unpublished findings from air quality experts at King’s College London were included in the report from COMEAP, commissioned by TfL.

“We’ve got all this information about the health impacts of the particles above the surface. Below ground, we know we have a higher mass but of a different type – we don’t yet have the research into the level of the toxicity, and hence the heath risk.” Prof Frank Kelly, chair of COMEAP

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