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Wednesday, 25 April 2018

NHS urged to take action on climate gases in asthma inhalers

Written by Emily Beament

The NHS and medical companies should take action to reduce the impact of climate change-causing gases in asthma inhalers, MPs have urged.

Tackling "F-gases", which have a powerful global warming effect, from sources such as fridges, asthma inhalers and air conditioners worldwide could curb rising temperatures by half a degree Celsius, a report said.

The parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) called on the NHS to reduce reliance on metered dose inhalers which use F-gases by increasing the use of the alternative dry powered inhalers.

A report by the committee also urges the NHS or medical companies to set up a pharmacy recycling system for existing inhalers to ensure the gases in them are recycled, not released in landfill.

The Government should also ensure that heat pumps, a renewable energy alternative to heating homes with gas, use refrigerants with a low impact on global warming, and use its buying power to promote cleaner alternatives more widely.

Ministers should enforce existing F-gas regulations in areas such as car air conditioning units to curb their use and and meet the UK's climate emissions targets, the EAC said.

Mary Creagh, chairwoman of the Environmental Audit Committee, said: "Global warming is a clear and present danger and the UK should be doing all it can to bend the curve of global temperature rises.

"Some F-gases make a much bigger contribution to global warming, and are found in everyday items such as inhalers, fridges, and air conditioning units.

"At present, the Government is failing to enforce the regulations surrounding F-gas emissions, particularly on car air conditioning units, while the NHS remains reliant on F-gas fuelled inhalers despite less damaging alternatives being available and widely used in other European countries.

"The Government, the NHS, manufacturers and medical companies should be doing much more to address F-gas emissions."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Tracey Nearmy / PA Wire.