News

INGENIOUS holds webinar on understanding indoor air quality and social housing in the UK

February 2024

On February 16, 2024, the INGENIOUS project hosted an online meeting focused on addressing indoor air quality (IAQ) in UK homes. Despite the emphasis on outdoor pollution, the webinar highlighted the significant impact of indoor pollution on health and well-being.

 The lack of specific UK legislation on IAQ was brought to attention, along with challenges in the housing sector on indoor air pollutants. The INGENIOUS project aims to raise awareness and develop strategies to mitigate IAQ risks through research and interventions. Key areas of focus include understanding the health risks of indoor-generated particles, promoting proper ventilation practices, and fostering collaboration among stakeholders. 

To read the full story, click here.


Beyond awaab’s law: priorities for indoor air quality action in the UK housing sector

February 2024

INGENIOUS is holding a knowledge-sharing webinar looking at indoor air quality beyond the social housing sector, including privately rented and owner-occupied houses in the UK.

IAQ has become an increasingly important issue for residents and policymakers in the UK. The quality of the air we breathe indoors significantly impacts our health and well-being. In 2023, the UK passed the Social Housing Law, popularly known as Awaab’s law, and in January 2024, the UK government is calling for proposals to implement the law. Among other things, Awaab’s Law provides a framework to address issues like dampness and moulds in social housing.

No existing laws solely focus on indoor air quality in the UK, and the INGENIOUS project is hosting a webinar to discuss how IAQ improvements should cut across all housing types, from social housing to privately rented homes or owner-occupied properties. The webinar is designed to discuss the broader issues of IAQ beyond moulds and spores.

Click here to find out more and register.

Chimney pots across the skyline of York, seen from the city walls 

Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash 

INGENIOUS project sheds light on hidden health hazards lurking in UK homes

January 2024

In December 2023, the researchers from the INGENIOUS project published a protocol paper that uncovered a need for more knowledge regarding indoor air pollution and its impact on human health within UK homes.

In pursuit of providing an in-depth real-home assessment of indoor air quality, the team installed low-cost sensors in three rooms of 300 Born in Bradford households over two weeks to monitor indoor air pollutants continuously.  Residents must complete a comprehensive home survey and a health and behaviour questionnaire to capture a holistic picture of the participants' living environments. Furthermore, they are encouraged to record their daily household activities and any associated health symptoms during weekdays and weekends. In a subset of 150 households, a more intensive measurement regime is implemented, focusing on volatile organic compounds and particulate matter over three days.

The ongoing research has amassed data that will undergo rigorous analysis to explore the total concentrations of indoor air pollutants, their variations concerning building characteristics, and their potential correlation with health symptoms. With ethical approval granted by the NHS Health Research Authority Yorkshire and the Humber (Bradford Leeds) Research Ethics Committee (22/YH/0288), the INGENIOUS project is committed to disseminating its findings widely.

To find out more about this project, click here.

INGENIOUS and OIT team at The York Policy Engine (TYPE)  policy impact clinic

INGENIOUS meets with OIT on research-based policy and practice on IAQ

December 2023

On December 8, 2023, the INGENIOUS project met with the Open Innovation Team (OIT), a cross-government unit that collaborates with experts to shape policies through analysis and innovative ideas. The meeting provided a platform to explore how INGENIOUS can effectively integrate its research and findings into policy and practice spaces. The meeting provided insight for a multipronged engagement approach to ensure its research leads to tangible outcomes in both policy and practice in the UK. The meeting served as a catalyst for refining INGENIOUS's engagement strategy and ensuring that its research findings translate into meaningful actions for policymakers, professionals, and the public.

Desk Globe, Photo by Calvin Hanson on Unsplash 

Carslaw and Shaw speak on long-term effects of climate change on indoor air quality

November 2023

As the world grapples with the challenges posed by climate change, it is crucial to consider the impact on indoor environments where people spend most of their time. Surprisingly, indoor human exposure to climate change has received relatively little attention. A study with INGENIOUS IAQ experts David R. Shaw and Nicola Carslaw and other scientists explores the Indoor Air Quality Climate Change (IAQCC) model—an innovative tool for estimating the influence of climate change on indoor air quality. 

The study, titled " Long-term prediction of the effects of climate change on indoor climate and air quality," was published in Elsevier in November and recommended it is crucial to prioritize indoor air quality and climate considerations as climate change progresses. 

Read the publication here.

Sri Budisulistiorini, Research Associate at the University of York presenting research finding.

INGENIOUS Holds Impact Panel on Impact of Mobile Emission on IAQ

September 2023

On September 20th, INGENIOUS successfully conducted its final Impact Panel for 2023, centering around the presentation of current actions and research progress in Work Package 3 (WP3). The primary objective was to provide panel members with an opportunity to gain knowledge and offer valuable feedback, thus supporting subsequent practices aimed at enhancing public awareness and engagement. The Impact Panel comprised of decision makers from government, industry, and academia who actively contribute to the advancement of the research. 

During the session, the panel members, in support of the research, further emphasized the need to identify pollution triggers or hotspots and the evolving trends influenced by various factors such as population and biomass burning. By understanding these dynamics, we can effectively identify mitigating measures in safeguarding air quality in the UK.


Photo by Hannah Smith on Unsplash 

IAQ experts provide insights on clean air mitigation strategies

September 2023

In commemoration of UN Clean Air Day 2023, Sri Budisulistiorini, Sarah West, Ashish Kumar, and David Shaw provide insights on the shared responsibility to enhance indoor air quality.

 Read the perspective here.

A breath of fresh air: 5 ways to improve air quality

INGENIOUS featured in 'A breath of Fresh Air' video for 2023 clean air day

September 2023

In commemorating the 2023 UN Clean Air Day, INGENIOUS was featured in an awareness video on five things we can do to improve air quality and reduce air pollution. Find the video here.

Person holding black frying pan. Photo by Kevin McCutcheon on Unsplash 

Study reveals crucial insights into indoor air pollution from cooking activities 

September 2023

A recent research study with INGENIOUS IAQ experts Terry Dillon, David R. Shaw, and Nicola Carslaw and other scientist has shed light on the complex chemistry of indoor air following cooking activities. The study, titled "A measurement and modelling investigation of the indoor air chemistry following cooking activities," published in the Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts journal, addressed the impact of indoor cooking on air quality. The research particularly looked at the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are gases that are emitted into the air during cooking and can significantly affect the indoor environment. 

The research on indoor air quality during cooking holds immense significance in our understanding of indoor air pollution and as a source of secondary pollutants indoors.  The full article can be found here. 

Cooking. Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Professor Nicola Carslaw sheds light on the hidden dangers of indoor air pollution 

September 2023

In a recent interview with Indoor Air Chemistry expert Professor Nicola Carslaw, the detrimental effects of indoor air pollution on human health were highlighted. Professor Carslaw, a prominent figure in the field, highlighted the absence of awareness and action regarding this pressing issue. She seeks to educate the public about the causes and effects of indoor air pollution by utilising her extensive research and knowledge. Read the interview here.

Home by a canal, Bradford. Photo by michael weir on Unsplash 

INGENIOUS on track to reach 300 survey homes

August 2023

Over 120 Bradford residents have signed up for the real-time house study of indoor air quality, occupant behaviour, and health. INGENIOUS hopes to reach 300 target participants by March 2024, when data collection will be complete, through the partnership of the Born in Bradford family study team. The house survey is crucial to the INGENIOUS project because it provides real-time data on home pollution. The Born in Bradford team will install pollution sensors in 300 Bradford houses to quantify indoor air pollution, its kinds, and its health effects. Read here.

York Air Map: air pollution hotspots in the city and how it affects our home

August 2023

Dr. Daniel Bryant and Clare Nattress unveiled the York Air Map, an interactive map that offers real-time information on York's air quality, on August 12, 2923. It was an ambitious effort to provide citizens with real-time information about the air quality in their immediate surroundings.

Dr. Bryant, an atmospheric researcher at the University of York and co-lead in the development of the map, is a postdoc working alongside Professor Jacqui Hamilton. Prof. Hamilton is one of the co-leads for the INGENIOUS project's work package-2, which focuses on air quality measurements to help identify sources of poor indoor air quality. 

She says, "This project highlights sources of air pollution around York. As we further reduce emissions from vehicles, other pollutant sources will become important. There is increasing evidence that emissions from indoor sources, such as fragrances, personal care and cleaning products, and cooking, can have a large impact on outdoor air quality, leading to the formation of secondary particles and ozone. These are both harmful pollutants that can cause detrimental health effects."

The York Air Map was created with a user-friendly interface that is accessible on smartphones and computers.

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.

Prof Nic Carslaw at the EAC

Call for Evidence: Outdoor and indoor air quality targets

May 2023

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?

April 2023

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.

Watch on YouTube or download the presentation slides.

INGENIOUS animation

February 2023

We're delighted to present this short animation introducing the INGENIOUS project. This will be used, among other things, to help recruit participants for the real home survey (WP2).

Thanks to Digifish for producing the animation.

Why not take 3 minutes to find out more?

Hepa air filters - useful and necessary?

January 2023

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."

Read the full article

INTERIORS - a new indoor air research facility

January 2023

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. 

Artist's impression of the INTERIORS Facility

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

December 2022

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.

Read the article

Chief Medical Officer’s annual report 2022: air pollution

December 2022

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

December 2022

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.

Poster for Born in Bradford open space event to share information about their research.

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?

July 2022

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

June 2022

Congratulations to Nic Carslaw who was elected as a Fellow of the International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate (ISIAQ), the only new 2022 Fellow from the UK! 

INGENIOUS is one of three new research projects on indoor air pollution funded by UKRI

July 2021

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has funded three new research projects which will investigate how air pollutants in indoor spaces can adversely affect the health of the people inhabiting them

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:

'Indoor air pollution is a critical public health issue.

Building our understanding and evidence base around it is essential so that any future action is appropriately targeted and effective.

The government is already taking important steps, including phasing out the sale of coal and wet wood, a major contributor to the emissions of fine particulate matter, and making it easier for local authorities to tackle emissions from domestic burning through our Environment Bill.

These projects will help add to our evidence base, building on the forthcoming report from our Air Quality Expert Group and guidelines published by Public Health England to help us all better understand this issue.'

Are we breathing dirtier air at home than outside?

March 2023

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). 

Read Erika's blog