Little Things Matter


Little Events that Make a Big Difference

Sometimes history happens when nobody is watching or it isn’t splashed across the media. Little Changes Big Impact highlights the often small but significant events that leave an imprint, initiate change or trigger new policy. 


Cause of death: Air Pollution

In this landmark case, a coroner in London made legal history by ruling that air pollution was a cause of the death of nine-year-old, Ella. It was the cumulative effect of the toxic air that Ella was breathing in living within 30 metres of the highly polluted road that caused her final acute asthma attack.

So often, we learn history by acts though there are people working for decades before an act is even considered by a government. Landmark rulings often follow years, if not decades, of institutional reluctance to recognize proven scientific truths.
Ella’s mother Rosamund Adoo Kissi-Debrah fought for years to have an earlier autopsy re-examined in light of a clear pattern of seasonal spikes in air pollution. “Action needs to be taken now or more people will simply continue to die.” 


Smoking ban leads to drop in pre-term births

The introduction of national, comprehensive smoke-free legislation in Scotland in 2006 is linked with significant falls in preterm delivery and small for dates (gestational age) infants according to a new study led by Jill Pell from the University of Glasgow and published in PLoS Medicine.

According to the authors, although survival from preterm deliveries has improved, these infants are at risk of developing long-term health problems and state “Any intervention that can reduce the risk of preterm delivery has the potential to produce important public health benefits.”

“The results of our study add to the growing evidence of the wide ranging health benefits of smoke-free legislation and lend support to the adoption of such legislation in countries where it does not currently exist.” Source: Library of Science

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Researchers from Mongolia and Canada found that reducing #AirPollution among pregnant women led to better birth outcomes and higher IQ scores in their children.

Pregnant women in this study were either randomly assigned to use a HEPA air filter air cleaner during their pregnancy or not.

It’s clear. Cleaner air = healthier brain development.

Air cleaners are only a partial solution. The ultimate goal is to reduce sources of air pollution to protect ALL children. 

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Over 200 schools, parks, and neighborhoods are now free from toxic pesticides thanks to Non-Toxic Neighborhoods, which champions removing harmful chemicals from the spaces where children live, work and play.

Non-Toxic Neighborhood’s first victory in Irvine, CA in 2016 banned the pesticides RoundUp and 2,4-D in the City. This was followed by the City of Irvine adopting a historic and award-winning organic and regenerative landscaping policy in February 2016. Since then, the City of Irvine has maintained more than 570 acres of community and neighborhood parks and athletic fields without harmful pesticides. That is over 6,000 acres of open space and 800 acres of public right-of-way, including street medians and parkways. This victory removed chemicals from 70,000 trees and nearly 1.5 million square feet of facilities. Pesticides like those found in RoundUp have been shown to cause birth defects, slow neurodevelopment, and decrease fertility. 

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