A breath of fresh air: 5 ways to improve air quality
York Air Map: air pollution hotspots in the city and how it affects our home
On July 5, 2023, Nic Carslaw, the lead PI of the INGENIOUS project, was interviewed by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee on the measures and processes required to establish the adequacy of current measures to promote indoor air quality in people's homes. While discussing the issue, Nic expressed her concern that people are more focused on outdoor air quality and not paying sufficient attention to indoor air quality.
Nic highlighted the need for increased awareness among the public regarding indoor air quality and the potential risks associated with emissions from cooking, cleaning products, and other hygiene products. She emphasized the importance of behaviour change towards the moderation of excessive use of products within our homes that can cause harm to our health.
She also stressed the importance of opening windows, especially as our homes are becoming more airtight due to the outdoor air quality. She noted that improving outdoor air quality would make it easier for people to ventilate their homes and open windows.
Furthermore, Nic highlighted the work, objective, and activities of the INGENIOUS project in Bradford. She shared that the findings from the INGENIOUS project would support the design of interventions and feedback to help improve indoor air quality in high-deprivation and ethnicity homes in Bradford. The chair of the committee, Rt Hon Phillip Dunne, expressed his anticipation to read the findings from the project at its conclusion.
Watch the proceedings here.
Read the oral evidence here.
Call for Evidence: Outdoor and indoor air quality targets
The UK Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee is undertaking a short inquiry to establish the adequacy of current measures to promote indoor and outdoor air quality.
The Committee welcomes written submissions which address any or all of the issues raised, to be received by 5pm on Thursday 25 May 2023. The INGENIOUS project will be submitting evidence.
Indoor air pollution: the dirty secret lurking in our homes?
Nic Carslaw recently gave this public talk as a Merchant Adventurers' Lecture in York. She introduces the many ways in which we can be exposed to air pollution indoors, including through activities such as cooking and cleaning, as well as some less obvious routes of exposure. She shows how indoor air quality is going to become more important in the future, and highlights methods for reducing our exposure to pollution indoors as well as some to avoid. Finally, she explains how the University of York is leading efforts to understand indoor air pollution and its impacts and to provide solutions for better air quality in our homes.
Hepa air filters - useful and necessary?
Nic Carslaw, INGENIOUS PI, was interviewed by The National about the effectiveness of Hepa air filters, following public interest in their widespread use at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this month.
Nic said that, in the right circumstances, air cleaners with Hepa filters could reduce the spread of pathogens in rooms with several people. However, she expressed concern about the lack of standards for air cleaners. "The concern from me and lots of other people that work in the indoor air quality field is the complete lack of regulation around them," she said.
Nic also noted that noted that for many households, air cleaners were probably not necessary, as letting in fresh air from outside did the job just as well. And where they can offer benefits – such as in a classroom or a household in a polluted area – multiple factors determine their effectiveness.
The size of the air cleaner and its location will influence how well it cleans a particular space, but it may be difficult for a non-specialist to ensure a device is used most effectively. Proper maintenance, including changing filters if it is a filtration device, is also important.
"It’s not a simple thing, which is why I worry about a member of the general public buying one. You need to understand what you’re buying, and that information isn’t always provided by manufacturers."
INTERIORS - a new indoor air research facility
INGENIOUS PI Nic Carslaw has gained £0.5M funding from the Wolfson Foundation (with further generous support from the University of York) to build her dream house: a new indoor air quality facility on the University’s Heslington East campus.
Following a design and planning stage starting from spring 2023, the INTERIORS (INTERdisciplinary Facility for IndOoR Air Quality ReSearch) facility will be constructed, instrumented and characterised and hopefully be fully operational by spring 2026.
The facility will be designed as a semi-detached house, with one side that is energy efficient and modern, the other more typical of traditional buildings. The integrated lab between the two buildings will allow the air quality in each side of the house to be monitored as identical activities are carried out under these different ventilation conditions. The facility will also have flexible interiors so the impact of design and internal furnishings can also be explored.
Nic says “The new Wolfson INTERIORS Facility will allow us to explore indoor air quality in more detail, and under more realistic conditions, than ever before. Together with the data we collect from peoples' homes as part of the INGENIOUS project, we will be in a strong position to identify what drives air pollutant concentrations in homes and, more importantly, how we then provide solutions.”
Air purifiers: indoor pollution kills but many devices are ineffective and some may even cause harm
Nic Carslaw, INGENIOUS PI, published a piece under this title in The Conversation on 15 December 2022 . In it she considers the ever-widening range of air-cleaning devices on the market: how effective they are and the issue that many generate undesirable chemical pollutants themselves.
Chief Medical Officer’s annual report 2022: air pollution
This year’s report by Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, published 8 December, lays out the scale of the challenge of reducing air pollution, the substantial progress that has been made and highlights achievable solutions. It puts a strong focus on improving indoor air quality alongside outdoor air quality.
Professor Alistair Lewis (INGENIOUS WPs 1 & 2) co-authored chapter 3 'How air pollution is changing' together with his colleague at the University of York and National Centre for Atmospheric Science, Sarah Moller.
Professor Rosie McEachan, Director of the Born in Bradford Research Programme and INGENIOUS WP2 co-lead, co-authored chapter 6.2 looking at the work done in Bradford.
The report builds on research by a large group of experts, including a number of INGENIOUS team members. In particular, the research of Professor Nic Carslaw, PI of INGENIOUS, is referenced extensively.
INGENIOUS training session
On 5th December a group of INGENIOUS team members got together to learn how to set up the air quality monitors that will be used to collect samples from homes in Work Package 2. Participants included research fellows, research assistants, PhDs students and community project coordinators from Born In Bradford and the Universities of York, Cambridge and Manchester, and also members of Bradford Council.
World Ventil8 Day - 8 November
World Ventil8 Day aims to raise awareness of the importance of ventilation as a crucial part of enabling health and wellbeing of people. It also seeks to recognise and celebrate the ventilation and indoor air quality community. Today's inaugural 2022 World Ventilation Day theme is all about Celebrating Ventilation #CelebrateVentil8. #WorldVentil8Day.
Born in Bradford Open Space Event
Thursday 27th October between 12:00pm - 3:00pm
The Mayfield Centre, Broadway Ave, Bradford BD5 9NP
This is a drop in event where you can speak to staff from various BiB research projects, including INGENIOUS. There may be a short presentation at the start of the session and there will be conversations about the work we are doing and some key findings.
Booking is not necessary and everyone is welcome to come along anytime between 12.30-3pm. Light refreshments will be available.
For more information please feel free to email: Aamnah.Rahman@bthft.nhs.uk
Workshop: Air Pollution: Can Technology Help?
This online workshop aims to give healthcare professionals first hand insight into how technology can help patients who are vulnerable to air pollution.
Organised by West Midlands Health Technology Cluster (WMHTC) and Pollution Avoidance Support Systems (PASS).
Nic Carslaw elected to fellowship of ISIAQ
INGENIOUS is one of three new research projects on indoor air pollution funded by UKRI
INGENIOUS (this project) will look at people living in urban homes.
WellHome (West London healthy home and environment study) will investigate children with asthma
Air pollution hazard identification platform is a project will to build a platform to identify the worst pollutants and establish their link with neurological disease.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:
Are we breathing dirtier air at home than outside?
Erika Ikeda has published a blog about the INGENIOUS project on the website of NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Yorkshire and Humber. Erika is a Senior Research Fellow of the Born in Bradford research programme and contributes to the INGENIOUS Real Home Survey (WP2) and Interventions (WP6).