Misconceptions about air pollution – Air quality is better than it was

Founder & Director of Clean Air London, Simon Birkett recently wrote an article for Environmental Health News on the Misconceptions about air pollution.

The piece contains a series of cartoons which the campaign group Clean Air in London commissioned to address the capital’s environmental challenges. Beautifully crafted by Andy Davey (@DaveyCartoons), the cartoons address matters such as London smog, wood burning, the tube, cycling and taxis.

The first misconception mentioned within the article ’12 Misconceptions about air pollution’  is that ‘air quality is better than it was’.

Air quality is better than it was The Facts:
Visible coal smoke disappeared after the Clean Air Act and has been replaced by diesel exhaust and other largely invisible particles and gases. During this time, the certainty and scale of the health effects of air pollution have rocketed upwards while public understanding has remained where it was 30 years ago for smoking. To find out more, click here.

What you need to know:

Outdoor air pollution infiltrates into buildings. Without appropriate ventilation, it accumulates and can even react with other indoor air pollutants.

Indoor air pollution is made of outdoor air pollutants, including heating and traffic particles and gases that infiltrate into our buildings as well as chemicals emissions from building materials, DIY products, cleaning products, air fresheners, combustion particles from heating, cooking and candles, pets allergens, electronics and appliances off-gasing.

air environment

The most important part of indoor Air quality is the cleanliness of the air.

Air contamination consist of particles, gases and vapours that may reduce the well-being and health of humans and decrease the output and efficiency of production processes.

We breathe 25kg of air per day. If that air is polluted or unclean, what are the implications on work place productivity and more importantly, what is the impact on human health?

Air pollution, both outdoors and Indoors, impact on health results from acute or chronicle exposure. It causes or aggravates eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, respiratory diseases or asthma, impairs lung function and children lung development.
  • Living near busy roads is responsible of 15 to 30% of all asthma and respiratory diseases
  • WHO confirmed in 2013 diesel engines exhausts cause cancer
  • 450 000 Europeans die prematurely from health impact of air pollution
  • European population loses close to 9 months life expectancy on average due to health impact of air pollution

To find out more about improving the air quality within your workplace, click here.

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