cue evil laughter, Smog

May 17, 2011 § 4 Comments

so says Polluto to his cat in my 3yo’s favourite cartoon, Tommy Zoom. Polluto is on a mission to pollute the world and only the Geordie lad Zoom and his pooch Daniel (surely not an obvious choice of name for a superhero dog?) can stop him. I’ve just come back from a lunchtime stroll around the beautiful avenues of Victoria, London W1 and I think I need Tommy’s services. It’s an overcast day, but the traffic fumes made me feel quite unwell.

A quick google search informs me that  according to EU rules, air pollution from tiny sooty particles (PM10s) – mainly caused by traffic – must not exceed certain levels in London for more than 35 days in any year. Legal limits had been exceeded for the 36th time this year at the end of April. I also found the London Air Quality Network site which offers a great search facility and live pollution reports.  Presumably Tommy and Daniel keep a close eye on this website when mum lets them use the computer.

For years I didn’t trouble my pretty little head about pollution, but now, being a mum and all that, these things seem to take on a whole new significance. I have also been following with interest the news stories this week about the Council of Europe report on the potential impact of wireless and mobile technology on children’s developing brains, including cordless telephones and baby monitors, which rely on similar technology. I like to treat such stories with a healthy dose of scepticism, and avoid ever reading the Daily Mail on this kind of subject (or any kind of subject for that matter – take a look at the Daily Mail ‘list of things that give you cancer’) but it’s been on my radar for a while as my osteopath had suggested I turn off my baby monitor and wireless internet at night to improve my baby’s sleep patterns. Weirdly it did seem to work. If you’re interested in this story, it’s worth looking at this feature from the Telegraph, but also the comments, which offer interesting perspectives about how in fact the story is being sensationalised and the report itself hasn’t yet been debated or approved. I am awaiting with interest the outcome of the debate by the Council of Europe, which is scheduled to take place on May 27th.

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