Breathe GB warns of damage to lungs and performance in survey of training grounds
Britain’s future sporting performance could be hampered by air pollution because some training grounds are in areas with dangerously high pollution levels, a report has revealed.
The Breathe GB study analysed pollution levels at 94 sporting sites, with one of the highest recorded levels at Birmingham’s Perry Park, host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Other important training grounds, such as the running track where Sir Mo Farah and Christine Ohuruogu trained, have pollution levels that breach World Health Organization (WHO) recommended limits.
The study suggests children exercising in areas of high pollution will experience stunted lung function that will limit their future sporting performance.
Dr Ian Mudway, a senior lecturer in respiratory toxicology at King’s College London, said: “A child growing up with asthma in a polluted city will have worse symptoms that will limit their potential to train … which is likely to have an impact on their optimal level of performance.”
Jonathan Grigg, a professor of paediatric respiratory and environmental medicine at Queen Mary University, said: “There is very strong evidence that exposure to air pollution stunts children’s lung function. Children with clinically low lung function will have reduced exercise capacity.”
At the launch of the report on Tuesday morning, Mark Bergin, a PE teacher from Manorfield primary school in Poplar, east London, said: “There are elements that we can see now because there is such an increase in the number of children who have asthma pumps; I’ve noticed that over the last 10 years or so of working in education.”