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The start of 2017 saw legal levels of annual traffic fumes exceeded in 120 hours on Brixton Road, London, putting the stark reality of the dangers of indoor and outdoor air pollution into the spotlight just five days into the New Year.
European law limits how much nitrogen dioxide (NO2), the toxic gas emitted by diesel engines, which residents, pedestrians and cyclists should be exposed to on an annual basis. On 5th January, a monitor on Brixton Road, situated on eight city bus routes, recorded more than 20 hourly readings of concentrations exceeding 200 micrograms of NO2, when the legal limit for such high readings is 18 times per annum.
Over the past 12 months, the issue of air quality has frequented the headlines as research has continued to highlight the impact that air pollution can have on our health and well being. The World Health Organisation has labelled ambient air pollution as ‘the greatest risk to environmental health’, contributing to a range of health issues, from less serious ailments leading to time off work, to asthma and more recently, Alzheimer’s disease.
With campaign group, Clean Air in London, is calling for a ban on alfresco dining at cafes and restaurants in some of the most at risk areas, it’s essential that the air inside buildings and workplaces is clean and safe. In many of our towns and cities simply opening the window to ensure a clean supply of fresh air is not an option.
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) essentials
While buildings can do little to contribute to the improvement of outdoor air quality – this is something that needs to be looked at on a global scale – they can take control of their IAQ by creating safe spaces for occupants.