London is famous for a being a very foggy place, and for generations, that fog was also exceptionally dirty. So when a particularly dense pea-soup smog descended in December of 1952, nobody realized anything unusual was going on at first. But this time, the fog went on for days, and it wound up killing thousands of people.
Our listener mail is from Mary about the 1918 influenza pandemic.
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Episode link: The Great London Smog
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- Mayor of London. "50 Years On: The Struggle for Air Quality in London since the Great Smog of December 1952." Greater London Authority. http://legacy.london.gov.uk/mayor/environment/air_quality/docs/50_years_on.pdf
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- Nielsen, John. "The Killer Fog of '52." All Things Considered. NPR. Dec. 11, 2002. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=873954.
- Pearce, Fred. "Back to the days of deadly smogs: Forty years ago this week, four thousand Londoners died in the worst air-pollution disaster on record. London has cleaned up its act, but smog is killing again in other cities." New Scientist. December 5, 1992. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg13618504.600-back-to-the-days-of-deadly-smogs-forty-years-ago-this-week-four-thousand-londoners-died-in-the-worst-airpollution-disaster-on-record-london-has-cleaned-up-its-act-but-smog-is-killing-again-in-other-cities.html
- Timms, Claire. "Great Smog 60 years on: 'New laws needed to clean London's air.'" BBC News. 12/4/2012. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-20269309
World Health Organization. "7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution." 3/25/2014. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/