Online Map Shows Local Health Risk: A new map, provided online, allows residents in England and Wales to log on and review their community’s risk of developing a number of conditions, including heart disease, lung cancer and skin cancer such as malignant melanoma. The tool has been developed by Imperial College London – although the researchers stress that it cannot be used to identify the risk to a specific individual.
The Imperial College researchers looked at more than 8,800 wards in England and Wales, each with a population of 6,000, and utilised data from the Office of National Statistics and cancer registries for 1985 through to 2009. This data was then mapped, in a similar way to the way Localise can be used, and shows the impact of regional variances in things such as air pollution, sunshine and pesticides. The figures have also been adjusted to take in to account data relating to age, deprivation and any small sample sizes.
Some wards in Manchester, Leeds and the Wirral were identified as having higher health risks, whilst areas of London, Norfolk and Suffolk performed better in terms of health.
Dr Anna Hansell, who led the research, noted that environmental factors such as air pollution accounted for between 5-10% of a person’s risk of disease, she stated that this was significant in terms of a population study such as this.
The site provides a number of maps, one of which shows the relative risk of lung disease in females for instance. As can be seen in the map, there are pockets of much higher risk to communities in the North West centered around Liverpool. When compared to a map of particulate matter, this correlation becomes more understandable.