Children and vulnerable adults are particularly at risk, she said, and air filtration systems for schools, hospitals and other public buildings are now being looked into.
The station was funded by the EU’s Interreg IVB NWE programme and the University of Brighton as part of the Joint Air Quality Initiative (JOAQUIN). It comprises part of a wider “next-generation” monitoring network spread across North West Europe.
The university’s Air Environment Research team will use the station to investigate a range of modern day air pollutants, including so called ultrafine particles, nanometer-sized material suspended in the air that is capable of penetrating deeply into the human body where it can cause a range of negative health effects.
Dr Smallbone and Dr Kevin Wyche, lead scientist, both from the College of Life, Health and Physical Sciences, welcomed the MEP’s visit and said communicating and raising awareness of the hidden dangers of air pollution was vital to seeking solutions.
They said: “Poor air quality is believed to result in around 50,000 deaths per year in the UK, according to Public Health England, and is thought to reduce people’s life expectancy by an average of nine months across the European Union.
“Additionally, the World Health Authority reported that outdoor air pollution kills more people worldwide than road traffic accidents, smoking and diabetes combined.
“Brighton is still exceeding air quality limits set by the government…and air pollution is suspected of causing 115 deaths per year in Brighton and Hove.
“In light of such dramatic statistics and estimates, it is crucial that we enhance our understanding of the relationships that exist between pollutants and health, and the station will provide a solid platform for us to do just this; it will provide unparalleled insight into the kinds of pollutants we breathe, their complex interactions and how they evolve.
“It will give us the unique ability to provide policy makers, scientists and the general public with the vital information required to help improve the quality of our air and protect our health.”