London smog incident

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London smog incident2016-12-13T06:00:42+00:00

London smog incident

London smog incident image from New Medical Terms

London smog


An infamous post-war smog “attack” that resulted in an excess mortality of at least 4000 deaths in London, 1952. 

The London smog incident began on 5.12.1952 when a severe temperature inversion—a blanket of warm air settling over a layer of cooler air, preventing the latter’s diffusion—caused a substantial accumulation of air pollutants from fossil fuel–in particular coal–combustion, and an abrupt increase in mortality, attributed to respiratory disease; this unique form of London fog “…left little doubt that air pollution was the cause of the deaths”. While the number had long been pegged at 4000, recent re-evaluation of historical data suggests that excess mortality might have been closer to 12,000. 

Synonyms The Big Smoke, the Great Smog of ‘52  


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