Via The Guardian: UK air pollution: ambulance services report spike in 999 calls. Excerpt:
Ambulance services are reporting a spike in 999 calls thought to be related to the record levels of air pollution lingering over large parts of Britain as experts warned that conditions would not improve until the weekend.
A government helpline advised people to avoid physical exertion in areas of very high air pollution, with the worst-affected areas in the south-east of England and East Anglia.
The London ambulance service reported a 14% rise in 999 calls for patients with respiratory issues on Wednesday, and on Thursday it continued to experience higher volumes of calls about people with breathing difficulties, asthma and heart problems.
David Cameron was accused of trying to shirk responsibility for the smog by describing it as a "naturally occurring weather phenomenon".
Keith Taylor, a Green MEP for the south-east of England, said the prime minister's remarks were "utterly disgraceful". "To wilfully ignore this threat to our health is unforgivable," he said.
Amazon said sales of face masks were up 15% compared with last week. The British Lung Foundation said there had been a 16% increase in calls to its helpline and was braced for a further surge over the coming days.
Sand from the Sahara, gases from the continent and domestic pollution have created the thick blanket of smog across large parts of Britain.
Late in March, The Guardian ran a story on the connection between Saharan dust and the "meningitis belt" running from Senegal to Ethiopia. If Britain also sees an increase in meningitis, we can expect political repercussions.