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Clean Air Day Survey Reveals 83% of People Want to Know More About Indoor Pollution

Clean Air Day Survey Reveals 83% of People Want to Know More About Indoor Pollution
26 June 2023

A survey conducted for Clean Air Day found that 83 per cent of respondents wanted to know more about the air quality inside their homes, 1/6 said they worried about outdoor pollution and 1/10 had the same level of concern about the indoor threat.

The survey was discussed at an event hosted by Building Engineering Services Association (BESA). They reported that more studies had highlighted health problems linked to ultra-fine particulate matter since last year’s Clean Air Day (CAD), and the World Health Organisation (WHO) had identified air pollution as the biggest environmental risk to health – killing nine people annually. In 2013,  Ella Roberta Kissi-Debrah was the first person in the world to have her death directly attributed to air pollution. Ella was just nine when she died of an acute asthma attack, having been exposed to “excessive” levels of air pollution near her home.

“Although air quality has gradually improved in recent times, air pollutant concentrations still exceed the 2005 WHO air quality guideline levels in many areas,” said Stuart Smith, Commercial Director of Zehnder Group UK. “This means they are above the levels associated with serious risks to public health.”

He said the building services industry was primarily focused on addressing levels of PM 10 and PM 2.5, but the picture created by measuring ultra-fine particulate matter, down to PM1, was “more frightening” as these tiny particles can enter the bloodstream and reach the brain. 

“We need to make more effort to understand the levels of ultra-fine particles in our air,” added Smith. “Unlike PM2.5, PM1 is unregulated and monitoring technology is limited. We also need more research into the specific harm caused by PM1.”

This year’s Clean Air Day theme was “Clean up our air to look after your mind” and encouraged people to consider the impact of poor air quality on mental health just as much as physical wellbeing.


Indoor Air Quality in Schools


Dan Fraser from ventilation manufacturer Nuaire highlighted the specific problem in schools pointing out that in London alone, over 400 primary schools were in areas that breach WHO guidelines for air pollution (GLA 2018).

“Their exposure to high levels of air pollution can lead to behavioural problems, asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases. Poor IAQ can cause headache, eye irritation, fatigue, dry throat, sinus congestion, dizziness, and nausea. Improving air quality in and around schools needs to become a top priority for local authorities."

Picture: graphic showing a person breathing in visible air particles. Image Credit: BESA

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 26 June 2023


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