Asthma inhalers emit as much carbon as 300km car journey

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
Lifestyle,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 9 April 2019, 3:35p.m.
Just five doses of some types of inhalers can have the same effect as a 14km car journey. Photo / Getty Images
Just five doses of some types of inhalers can have the same effect as a 14km car journey. Photo / Getty Images

Patients suffering from asthma are being told to try and choose more eco-friendly inhalers by a health watchdog.

UK based watchdog, Nice, published the damning information which looks at the carbon footprint of the medical device.

Nice hope that new guidelines will help patients to choose an inhaler which has less of a negative environmental impact.

Metered dose inhalers, commonly used by asthmatics, contain substances known as hydrofluorocarbons, which help propel the dose into the patient's respiratory system.

This device in particular has a carbon footprint of around 500g of carbon dioxide per dosage.

That means that just five doses of a metered inhaler would have around the same carbon emissions as a 14km car trip.

The inhalers contain around 100 doses each, meaning each inhaler is emitting the carbon equivalent of a 290km car trip, according to Nice.

In comparison, inhalers containing dry powder, contain just 20g of carbon dioxide per does, and provide good results for most patients.

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive of Nice, said: "People who need to use metered dose inhalers should absolutely continue to do so

"But if you have the choice of a green option, do think about the environment.

"Cutting carbon emissions is good news for everyone, especially those with respiratory conditions."

Nice urges patients to return used inhalers to local pharmacies so that they can be safely disposed of, or to recycle them where possible.

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