1953 UK flu epidemic
[back] Infectious scares
 50 years after the great smog, a new killer
arises To cover up the true extent of the smog disaster the
government invented an influenza epidemic. In fact research has shown there
was no epidemic and that the thousands more people who continued to die for the
next four months did so because of the air pollution. ....To maximise revenue
the UK was exporting its clean coal and keeping the sulphur laden "dirty" coal
for UK power stations and domestic fires. The result was a combination of soot
laden air and droplets of sulphuric acid lying in a 200ft deep blanket across
London, leading to the worst smog ever recorded.
Devra Davis, honorary professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, in her book When Smoke Ran Like Water - published on December 5, to coincide with the anniversary - blames Harold Macmillan, then minister for housing, for suppressing the truth about dirty coal. A later claim by the Ministry of Health that 5,655 had died of influenza in the first three months of 1953 was a fabrication to hide the smog deaths.
......Government estimates are that 24,000 people a year had their lives shortened as a result of air pollution.
...In 1950 there were 4m vehicles registered in Britain, half of them cars; now there are 28m vehicles, 85% of them cars. Coal provides only 15% of energy for home heating. ......"We have defeated one problem only to create another, and like the government of 1952 this one has yet to come to terms with the problem,"