A GREEN campaigner believes figures linking 276 deaths in Oxfordshire to air pollution are further proof that is what caused her city councillor husband’s fatal lung cancer.
Deborah Glass Woodin, 52, of Marlborough Road, South Oxford, spoke out after new Government figures linked the deaths in 2010 to pollutants.
Her husband Mike Woodin, the city’s first Green Party councillor, died in July 2004 despite never smoking, and leading a healthy life that included eating only organic food and cycling around the city.
Mrs Glass Woodin said: “There is nothing to prove he died from air pollution but intuitively, I think it may have been. If you are breathing in small particles every day it seems quite obvious.
“Why would we die of cancer from smoking cigarettes but not cars and buses, when it’s the same particles?”
Mr Woodin, who lived in Oxford for 15 years, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.
Mrs Glass Woodin, who became asthmatic within six months of moving to the city in 1992, said: “A consultant said he didn’t expect to see that type of cancer more than every four years and a GP would one see once in their lifetime.
“But within six months a friend of ours who also lived in North Oxford, where we were at the time, and also cycled to work, died from a similar type of cancer.
“It just seemed like such a coincidence. Everyone knows someone with breathing difficulties in Oxford. When Mike was first diagnosed, his consultant asked if he had ever smoked, been exposed to asbestos or down a mine.
“They should have asked how many years of his life he was living and working in Oxford city centre.”
Mrs Glass Woodin, who was also a Green councillor until 2009, said she was “not surprised” at the figures from Public Health England, which showed that 5.6 per cent of Oxfordshire deaths could be linked to air pollution.
Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council have worked together in tackling air pollution by introducing a low emission zone in January. It requires buses to comply with European standards for levels of nitrogen.
But Mrs Glass Woodin said: “It’s one thing to measure how much pollution there is and another to do something about it.
“I cycle through the city centre and I know how challenging it is.”