UNSAFE levels of pollution have been detected around a hospital.

Research from the British Lung Foundation and campaign group UK100 found air around Worthing Hospital was polluted above safe limits.

The report revealed notable levels of PM2.5, which are tiny particles produced by cars and other vehicles.

Researchers found the area around the Lyndhurst Road hospital breached the safe limit set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Harriet Edwards, of the British Lung Foundation, said hospital patients were particularly vulnerable to PM2.5.

“The smaller these particles are, the more dangerous they are as they can get deep into your lungs and eventually into the bloodstream,” she said.

“On the lowest level it can irritate your nose or throat, but this can have a much worse effect on people with lung conditions.

“It can even cause an attack.

“People with existing conditions or a low immune system can also suffer much worse than that, which is why hospital patients are particularly at risk.”

Ms Edwards said research had linked PM2.5 to a heightened risk of heart attacks, strokes, and premature death.

She added there was no such thing as a “healthy” level of PM2.5, even below the WHO limit.

“The WHO says there’s no healthy level,” she said.

“They have set a ‘safe’ level, but they’re currently reviewing that and are likely to reduce it.

“Hospitals have particularly high levels for PM because they are on busy intersections.

“But Worthing is particularly at risk because wind can carry pollution from ships and France into the town.”

The current legal limit for PM2.5 pollution is double that of the WHO recommended limit.

Worthing borough councillor Carl Walker said the council “must do more” to reduce pollution around the site.

The Labour councillor said: “It is imperative our planning and development strategies for the borough invest in clean, green initiatives.

“Transport infrastructure must prioritise public transport, cycling and walking.”

A spokesman for Worthing Borough Council said it was currently focusing on tackling pollution in Lyons Farm and Grove Lodge.

Both sites were found to have high levels of nitrogen dioxide, which can also cause health problems.

The spokesman added: “We will continue to be vigilant should any other areas breach this objective.”