PEOPLE may be at added risk of dementia due to pollution, according to an MEP.

Keith Taylor, MEP for the South East, said Brighton and Hove has been found to be in breach of World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended levels of PM2.5 – a tiny pollutant found in the air.

The WHO guideline for PM2.5 is 10 micrograms per metre cubed of air, however measurements read in the city stood at 11 micrograms.

PM2.5 mainly comes from power plants and vehicles.

The measurement was taken at the monitoring station in North Street, one of Brighton’s busiest streets for buses.

Speaking at the Breathe in Brighton meeting at the Brighthelm Centre, in North Road, on Thursday night, the MEP flagged up research released earlier in the year that PM2.5 particles had been found to raise the likelihood of people developing dementia in later life.

The study, led by the University of Southern California, suggests that the tiny, dirty airborne particles “invade” the brain and increase the risk of both dementia and dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

He said: “Exposure to PM2.5 is nearly doubling the risk of women over the age of 65 developing dementia.

“When we’re talking about the health impacts of pollution, it needs to go beyond cardiovascular.

“We need to be wary.

“As part of the European Parliament, we are working to achieve this.”

Brighton and Hove has been recognised by the Government as one of the cities that would be unlikely to meet the EU air quality requirement by the deadline 2020.

Instead, like London, the city aims to reach the legal limit by 2025.

As a result, the city has launched the Low Emission Zone (LEZ), and invested in schemes to lower pollutants such as PM2.5 in the air.

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “We have taken substantial and effective action in recent years to improve air quality in the city.

“We have set up the low emission zone and we have won external funding for retro-fitting taxis and buses with clean-air technology.

“We’re constantly working to make alternatives to the car more viable and attractive. Examples include the recently launched Brighton Bikeshare scheme.

“Most of the city is below the WHO recommended maximum level. Our measurements for this have shown steady improvement in recent years and with the actions we are taking we expect this trend to continue.”