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30th Oct 2019

Some asthma inhalers as bad for environment as eating meat, says study

Jade Hayden

“An important step towards creating a zero carbon healthcare system.”

Some asthma inhalers are as bad for the environment as eating meat, a new study has shown.

Research conducted by the University of Cambridge found that the most common inhalers used in the UK make up four percent of greenhouse gasses emitted by the NHS.

The metered-dose style of inhaler contains HFA, a prominent greenhouse gas.

Sky News reports that researchers have said replacing just 10 percent of the metered-dose inhalers with the cheapest equivalent of dry-powder inhalers could reduce the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions by 58,000 tonnes per year.

This could have the same individual effect as a person becoming an avid recycler, or switching to a vegetarian diet.

“Our study shows that switching to inhalers which are better for the environment could help individuals, and the NHS as a whole, reduce their impact on the climate significantly,” said Dr James Smith, from the University of Cambridge.

“This is an important step towards creating a zero carbon healthcare system fit for the 21st century.”

However, it is noted that any patient considering a change should consult their GP, as some people need to be prescribed the specific metered-dose style of inhaler.

As well as this, patients can also make sure that they are disposing of their used inhalers correctly.

Used inhalers can be returned to pharmacies to be disposed of properly. Similarly, half-empty inhalers should not be thrown away.

If you are considering switching from any kind of medication, you should always consult your doctor.