London Air Pollution: Hazards & Solutions for Clean Indoor Air | Air Hygiene

6th February 2017

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.

  • System design – the selection of appropriate Air Handling Units and ventilation systems is key to good IAQ, ideally when a building is constructed.
  • Ongoing maintenance – Once in situ, a regular but flexible maintenance schedule is essential to keep air moving and plant working efficiently, without contamination.
  • Air Quality Monitoring – regular monitoring of air quality will help building managers to ensure the air hygiene as well as flagging up operational issues that could cause problems in the future. For employers, it has the additional benefit of contributing towards compliance with Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations.
  • Keeping ductwork and ventilation clean – systems must maintain a general level of cleanliness. Filtration will ensure that ventilation and ductwork systems are free from grime and dust which could restrict airflow, cause unwanted germs and even stop the unit working altogether.  Coil sections should be cleaned on a six to twelve monthly basis as a minimum requirement and filters changed every three to six months, depending on the usage of the area served by the system.

Click the links to find out more about the Air Hygiene Services that we offer, including IAQ monitoring, air hygiene assessments, kitchen extract cleaning and ventilation and ductwork cleaning.