, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 482–487 | Cite as


  • Arthur RoseEmail author
Books Forum

Kenner, Alison. (2018) Breathtaking: Asthma Care in a Time of Climate Change. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

In February 2013, nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah suffered a fatal asthma attack in her home, 25 metres from the South Circular Road in London.1In the previous 3 years, Ella had been admitted to hospital 27 times for exacerbations of her asthma.2 These occasions often coincided with record levels of air pollution near her home, evidencing the presence of a poorly regulated environmental trigger. Nonetheless, an inquest into Ella’s death found asthma – in other words: not air pollution – to be the cause of death. In July 2018, her mother, Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, petitioned the UK courts to quash this decision in favour of establishing air pollution as the cause. In May 2019, permission to reopen the inquest was granted. If the revised cause of death is accepted, Ella will have been the first person in the UK to die, officially, from air pollution.

The tragic...



  1. Adam, Barbara. 1998. Timescapes of Modernity: Environment and Invisible Hazards. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Bowlby, Sophie. 2012. Recognising the time—space dimensions of care: Caringscapes and carescapes. Environment and Plannig A: Economy and Space 44 (9): 2101–2118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Kenner, Alison. 2018. Breathtaking: Asthma care in a time of climate change. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Langstrup, Henriette. 2013. Chronic care infrastructures and the home. Sociology of Health and Illness 35 (7): 1008–1022.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Laville, Sandra. 2019. Ella Kissi-Debra: new inquest granted into ‘air pollution’ death. The Guardian.
  6. Puig de la Bellacassa, Maria. 2015. Making time for soil: Technoscientific futurity and the pace of care. Social Studies of Science 45 (5): 691–716.Google Scholar
  7. Spahr, Juliana. 2005. This Connection of Everyonewith Lungs: Poems. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  8. Stewart, Kathleen. 2011. Atmospheric attunements. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. 29 (3): 445–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishBristol UniversityBristolUK

Personalised recommendations