News roundup: air quality in offices, contaminants lurking in tap water and wildfires and air pollution
Our latest monthly roundup of headline-grabbing air and water quality news highlights recent research into office air quality and its surprising impact on mental agility. Plus, one school’s research shows the heavy weight of contaminants in UK tap water and we take a look at the impact of wildfires on the air we breathe.
Poor office air quality impacts worker cognition
A recent study has linked poor concentration and slower response times with indoor air quality in offices. The research focused on PM2.5 and low ventilation rates, both of which were found to lead to impaired cognitive function when they were particularly high. Especially significant when considering the number of people who work in offices and spend time indoors, the science suggests that high levels of PM2.5 can lead to inflammation.
Even more interesting was the finding that opening a window would do little to improve air quality – the majority of offices are based in cities, by busy roads, and much of the poor air quality indoors could actually be attributed to outdoor pollution. Although building structure is important here, a quick solution is investment in air purification – find out more about the benefits here.
Lead, chemicals and contaminants – how clean is our tap water?
An article in The Conversation referred to news that the US has announced a renewal plan which commits to removing all lead pipes in homes. This comes alongside shocking news this month that a school project found five times the recommended maximum amount of lead present in UK water samples.
It’s estimated that around eight million old buildings may still use lead pipes. The contaminant has been linked to nervous system damage, autism, reproductive problems and prostate cancer.
Not only this, the article also identifies PFAS contamination as cause for concern. If you’re worried about the quality of your local tap water, check for yourself here.
Wildfire air pollution kills thousands each year – even in the UK
The Times reported last week that air pollution from wildfires is affecting, and even killing, people in the UK. In a huge study, it was found that over 33,500 deaths per year around the world are directly cause by wildfire pollution – 200 of these were in the UK.
Air pollution from wildfires generates PM2.5 pollution and has been noted by researchers to be even more toxic when generated by wildfires.
Our free, on screen checkers are based on updates by EarthSense, an air quality monitoring and modelling specialist – the use of their MappAir API is part of our air quality reporting. MappAir is an air quality model which uses a range of data inputs including weather, traffic, and Zephyr® sensor data to provide hourly information regarding a range of pollutants including NO2, SO2 and particulate matter PM2.5 and PM10.
The reports can be viewed here. Check your local postcode and we’ll help guide you through any pollutants found.