Inquest to find if air pollution caused my daughter's death
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My beloved daughter Ella died in February 2013 - aged just nine years old. At the time we were told she died because of her asthma. But new evidence has come out linking her death to illegal levels of air pollution - so I’m calling for a new inquest into her death.
I’ll never forget the day we lost Ella. It was in the early hours of the morning on the last day of term. She had already picked out her outfit for the end of term disco. But just a few hours later she suffered coughing fits followed by several seizures. She was hospitalised and we lost her. She never made it to the party.
Ella was born healthy. She was an active and happy child - cycling, skateboarding, playing football and excelling at swimming. She dreamt of becoming a pilot. Then when she was six she developed asthma, and the frantic hospital visits began.
An inquest in 2014 into her unexpected death concluded that Ella died due to a severe asthma attack followed by a seizure, possibly caused by an allergic reaction to something in the air. But the exact cause has remained a mystery. Since then, coverage of the UK’s toxic air pollution increased and I began to think this could be the missing link.
New medical research shows that Ella’s frequent hospital admissions were linked with spikes of illegal levels of air pollution around our home near the south circular road. Her final hospital admission took place during one of the worst air pollution episodes in our local area.
A renowned medical consultant studying our case found there was a “real prospect that without illegal levels of air pollution Ella would not have died”.
This isn’t just about Ella. Air pollution causes around 40,000 premature deaths per year in the UK (1), and levels of nitrogen dioxide have been illegally high since 2010 in the vast majority of urban areas in the UK (2). The government has been taken to court three times over the illegal levels of air pollution in the UK and lost each time. And yet still the authorities are failing to act.
A new inquest wouldn’t just help me get answers about my daughter’s death. Linking air pollution to her death would be a legal first and would make the government look at how to learn from this to avoid future loss of life. It would pile pressure to clean up our toxic air and make sure what happened to Ella never happens to another child.
Please sign to call for a new inquest into Ella’s death
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