FOI Ref: FOI/2022/3839
1) Please supply the official death figures for all of the UK where continued exposure to pollution or poor air quality was listed as either the cause of death, or a contributing factor leading to death, between the dates of 1st January 2001 to 31st December 2021. Please provide the figures for England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland separately.
2) Please supply the official death figures for all of Greater Manchester where continued exposure to pollution or poor air quality was listed as either the cause of death, or a contributing factor leading to death, between the dates of 1st January 2001 to 31st December 2021.
Thank you for your enquiry.
ONS are responsible for the production of Mortality data for England and Wales, this is driven by information collected from the death certificate at death registration. National Records Scotland (NRS) and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) are responsible for statistics pertaining to Scotland and Northern Ireland. They can be contacted at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org respectively.
Causes of death are certified in most cases by a doctor, who records the sequence of medical conditions and relevant events leading to, or contributing to, the death, based on the deceased's healthcare records and other available information, such as laboratory tests or post-mortem investigation. Some deaths are certified by a coroner who determines the causes of death following an inquest, based on all the available evidence.
It is unusual for wider contextual factors, such as exposure to pollution or air quality, to be recorded among the causes of death. One death in England and Wales in the period 2001 to 2021 had exposure to air pollution (International Classification of Diseases, Tenth revision (ICD-10) code Z581) recorded on the death certificate.
No death registrations in Greater Manchester in the period 2001 to 2021 had exposure to air pollution recorded on the death certificate.
It may be more informative to consider epidemiological studies which estimate numbers or proportions of deaths which can be attributed to exposure to pollution or poor air quality. A number of reports have been published by Public Health England (now the UK Health Security Agency) on different aspects of air pollution and health.
The UK Health Security Agency can be contacted at InformationRights@UKHSA.gov.uk.
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