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The Meuse Valley fog of 1930: An air pollution disaster

by Benoit Nemery, P. H M Hoet, Abderrahim Nemmar
Lancet ()

Abstract

Most courses, lectures, textbook chapters,1,2 articles36 and review referring to the London fog of December, 1952, which led to an increase in deaths of about 4000.7 on the health effects of air pollution begin by The London fog became a landmark in air pollution epidemiology because of the scale of the disaster and because it allowed researchers to do the first detailed analysis of the relation between levels of air pollutants and increased morbidity and mortality.8,9 However, an earlier landmark is the fog that affected the Meuse Valley, Belgium, in December, 1930. This episode led to the first scientific proof of the potential for atmospheric pollution to cause deaths and disease, and it clearly identified the most likely causes. Although many present-day investigators1,2,6,9 mention the Meuse Valley fog, few people have probably read the original report, which was presented to the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium on May 19, 1931.10 The report was also published, in 1933, as part of a book on air pollution11 1936.12 and a short version appeared in English in

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