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UK failed to meet NO2 limits for 2013, latest figures show Only five of the UK’s 43 air quality zones were compliant with EU annual mean limits for nitrogen dioxide in 2013, according to the UK government’s submission on air quality to the European Commission.

LondonOxford Street revealed as worst place in the world for toxic pollutant nitrogen dioxide Traders today said urgent action was needed to slash traffic levels after a report revealed Oxford Street has the highest levels of a toxic pollutant in the world.

air pollution mapAn Interactive Air-Pollution Map In March, the World Health Organization estimated that air pollution was responsible for 7 million premature deaths in 2012. That’s one out of every eight total deaths in the world.

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Respro® Masks FAQ: Do the filters need replacing, if so, how often?

Do the filters need replacing, if so, how often?

Yes the filters do need replacing.

1. The effective working life of the City™ filter depends on a number of factors, such as; the breathing rate of the user; ambient levels of pollution; the length of time the filter is actively working; hygiene levels. Taking these factors into account we recommend that the filter should be replaced every month or every 69 hours, whichever is sooner.

2. Replacement of the Sportsta™ filter should be carried out every month or when the filter becomes noticeably discoloured.

For more frequently asked questions,  go to Respro® Mask FAQs

Do you need to change the filter in your Respro® Face Mask? Watch this video to learn the correct procedure.

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Respro® Masks FAQ: What size particles does the Techno™ mask filter out?

Techno maskWHAT SIZE PARTICLES DOES THE TECHNO™ MASK FILTER OUT?

The Techno™ filter has sub-micron filtration capability. What this means is that it is able to trap particles less than one micron in size which is more than capable of the removal of 2.5 micron particulate material (PM).
Typically particulate pollution in the cities appears to be in the 2.5 micron size range and above. Particles smaller than this are known as respirable dusts, which can lodge deep within the lungs and air sacs. This is the more dangerous type of particle pollution as chemicals from vehicle exhaust gases combustion known to be toxic, are carried by means of the respirable particles. Hence the need for a Hepa-type submicron particle filter.

The DACC Activated charcoal layer within the Techno™ filter has excellent adsorption properties when it comes to SO2 and NO2 uptakes. With this capability and its capability of filtering VOC’s it is the best filter available in our range for dealing with the broad spectrum of pollutants commonly found in major cities across the globe.

For more FAQ,  go to Respro® Mask FAQ

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Beresfield residents battling air pollution

All the proof he needs is the black oily and dusty residue that coats the roof of his Enright Street house, its fence and outdoor furniture. ‘‘You would not believe the pollution that we breathe in when those westerly winds start up. The only way you can get it off is with hot soapy water,’’ Mr Radimey said.

‘‘The bloke next door was trying to paint the other day but he gave up.’’

A lot has changed in Beresfield since Mr Radimey moved there 40 years ago.

Two major transport arteries–the main northern rail line and the New England Highway–now ring-fence the suburb.

As a result millions of tonnes of particulate pollution, much of it carcinogenic, rains down on the suburb each year.‘‘A lot of my friends have died of cancer and my wife has a dry cough that won’t go away,’’ Mr Radimey said.

‘‘They talk about needing to cover the coal wagons, that’s true, but they also need to look at the pollution that comes out of those diesel engines.’’Fine particle pollution at Beresfield has equalled or exceeded the National Environment Protection Measure’s annual average for three of the past six months.

Doctors for the Environment has urged the federal government to do more to protect communities such as Beresfield in its submission to the review of the National Environment Protection Measure for ambient air quality.It has urged the government to regulate air quality as rigorously as it does road safety.

Its submission says 3000 Australians die from causes attributed to air pollution, more than double the annual road toll. Many more suffer chronic illnesses, such as asthma.

NSW Health statistics show fine particle pollution can be attributed to 25 deaths in Newcastle each year.

via Beresfield residents battling air pollution | Newcastle Herald.

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Sharp spike in Bhopal air pollution on Diwali

Minimum temperature rose sharply and air pollution levels touched alarming levels on Diwali leaving many at the risk of respiratory problems in the state capital.

The respirable suspended particulate matter RSPM — which directly affects breathing — went up 2.6 times above the national ambiance air quality standard, officials of the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board MPPCB said on Friday.

According to MPPCB, maximum RSPM was recorded at the commercial Hamidia Road, 457.7 micro gram per cubic metre, which is 3.5 times higher than normal 100 micro gram per cubic metre and 24.1 percent higher than last year’s data.

Deviation in RSPM was 2.6 times by normal standard near Paryawaran Parisar, a residential area. It was also 25.6% higher than last year’s data.

However, Govindpura area recorded a decline in RSPM. Though it was 1.7 times higher than normal standard, it was 38.7% less than last year’s Diwali data.

“Increase in RSPM can create respiratory problems for many as quality of air gets poorer. It can also aggravate respiratory ailments among existing patients,” MPPCB chemist Neeraj Verma said.

According to the Metrological department, the minimum temperature increased by 1.3 degree — from 18.3 degree Celsius on Wednesday to 19.6 degree Celsius on Thursday.

via Sharp spike in Bhopal air pollution on Diwali – Hindustan Times.

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Boris Johnson denies misleading MPs over London’s air quality

Boris Johnson’s office have described accusations that he misled a House of Commons select committee as “completely untrue and unfounded”.

Last month the Mayor appeared before the the environmental audit committee as part of MPs’ investigation into air quality.

In both his written and oral evidence to the committee he disagreed with data from King’s College London which suggests some roads in the capital have the highest nitrogen dioxide NO2 concentrations in the world.

He also disputed data suggesting measures to cut pollution, including an age limit on taxi cabs and making more vehicles subject to the Low Emission Zone, had produced only a 3% drop in roadside NO2 levels rather than City Hall’s claimed 20% cut.

City Hall has repeatedly denied suggestions that London’s air quality is the worst in the world and insists its policies are working.

Addressing MPs, Mr Johnson suggested that comparisons with other international cities may not be accurate because “we stick our sensors and our devices right by where the tailpipe of the most polluting vehicles would be expected to be found,” adding that he was “very far from convinced that that is the technique adopted by every country in the EU.However the Clean Air in London campaign has questioned the accuracy both of the Mayor’s evidence and a report commissioned by his office on which his denials that London lags behind other cities are based.

The campaign claims the report “was already out of date by the time it was published” and failed to identify “a single monitoring site in the whole world” reporting higher levels of NO2 than reported in Oxford Street – the capital’s worst performing street.

CAL has also criticised the report for using “new and complex methodology without publishing a practically auditable trail of methodology or underlying data” which would allow its claims to be verified.

The failure to locate a monitoring site recording higher NO2 levels than London means, the campaign claims, that Mr Johnson “may have misled” the committee. CAL has suggested MPs recall the Mayor will “to address the concerns raised.

”Responding the campaign’s comments, City Hall says the report “was independently peer-reviewed to ensure the methodology it used was robust and fair” and confirms that “different cities adopt different approaches to the siting of their monitoring stations, which means that it is not possible to fairly compare the worst location in one city with another.”

A spokesperson for Mr Johnson told MayorWatch: “These claims are completely untrue and unfounded. The Mayor’s work to assess and address London’s air quality challenge is entirely transparent.“

He continues to take the problem extremely seriously and is working with a wide range of stakeholders to take forward a comprehensive range of measures to reduce air pollution and protect the health of Londoners.”

via Boris Johnson denies misleading MPs over London’s air quality — MayorWatch.

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Indian capital braces for worst air quality this festive week

Children light fireworks on the Hindu festival of Diwali in New DelhiAir quality in New Delhi will deteriorate to “severe” levels this week when Indians set off firecrackers to celebrate the Hindu festival of lights, a government scientist said, leaving many at risk of respiratory problems.

The warning, based for the first time on India’s newly launched national Air QualityIndex, is significant as New Delhi dismissed a World Health Organization study in May which found the capital to have the world’s worst air pollution.

The study, which covered 1,600 cities, also said that India has 13 of the 20 cities with the worst air quality worldwide.

“Delhiites are going to breathe very poor-to-severe air at least for two days,” said Gufran Beig, chief scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, referring to Thursday, when the nation celebrates Diwali, and a day after.

The city of over 16 million people will see its air pollution index jump to 450 from 220 currently. A reading above 401 could put the healthy at risk for respiratory problems and seriously affect those already ill, the new index explains.

Pollution levels in Indian cities have often been compared to Chinese counterparts such as Beijing, notorious for the smog that prompted some Anglophone residents to dub it “Greyjing”.

“Over the next three days the air quality will be worse than Beijing because of firecrackers,” Beig said, adding that Delhi normally has better air quality than the Chinese capital.

However, a delay in the onset of the winter season will result in lower pollution levels this year as warmer temperature helps pollutants disperse faster, Beig said.

Indian government officials have appealed to the public to refrain from bursting firecrackers, with the health minister calling for a “silent Diwali” in Delhi to control sound levels.

via Indian capital braces for worst air quality this festive week | Reuters.

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Ireland falls below WHO guidelines on air pollution

Ireland falls below strict World Health Organisation WHO guidelines on air pollution for four potentially harmful emissions.

As a report revealed 12 sites were responsible for 80 per cent of all complaints about smells, watchdogs warned people’s lifestyles may have to change to meet strict international air quality targets.

The Environmental Protection Agency EPA — which reported that 4 per cent of tests last year failed European pollution standards — said how people warmed their homes and travelled to work or school in future may have to be restricted.

Testing at 29 locations found air quality within EU rules but when the stricter WHO limits were applied, Ireland failed to make the grade for concentrations of four emissions.It raised concern over levels of the cancer causing particulate matter PM and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons PAH, which are produced by burning solid fuels, and ozone which in high concentrations causes breathing problems, damages lungs and may lead to asthma.

The EPA said local air quality was significantly impacted by using coal or peat in the home and from the amount of traffic in urban areas.

Gerard O’Leary, director of the environmental agency, said 2013 saw higher rates of compliance with emissions limits.

“We need to be vigilant to maintain these compliance levels and to continue to target sites where problems have been identified,” he said.

“The findings of the report on wider air quality are also very encouraging.

“I would urge people, however, to consider air quality when making choices about home heating and transport as both of these activities can have a negative impact on air quality.”

Patrick Kenny, EPA air quality manager, warned about the level of particulate matter, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons PAH and ozone.

“To meet these more stringent guidelines in the longer term will require collaboration across a range of policy areas including transport, energy and spatial planning,” he said.

“The choices we make as consumers about how we heat our homes and travel to work and school will also affect our local air quality.

”The EPA said the EU may adopt the stricter WHO guidelines after reviewing its air quality directive.

The agency also warned about the levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air in cities which is mainly produced by engines and power plants.

It said: “Ireland must develop and implement policies to reduce travel demand, emphasising sustainable transport modes such as cycling, walking and public transport and improving the efficiency of motorised transport,” it stated.

On the review of air quality, odour and noise, the EPA received 1,088 complaints in total last year with 895 for foul smells.It also carried out 71 formal EPA investigations and resolved 45 satisfactorily.

The EPA identified 11 sites which accounted for 706 of the complaints, including 139 against the Ballynagran landfill in Wicklow and 130 against the Arrow Group in Naas, Co Kildare.

The EPA also noted that an extensive fire over five days at the end of January at the Oxigen facility in Ballymount, Dublin, had had no significant potential for any long-term health or environmental impacts.

via Ireland falls below WHO guidelines on air pollution.

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Prenatal air pollutant exposure linked to decreased pediatric lung function

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1. Prenatal exposure to air pollutants was associated with detrimental effects on lung function in young children.

2. Results of this study suggest that in utero exposure to air pollutants during the second trimester may be more related to the adverse effects on airway function than postnatal exposure.

Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)

Study Rundown: Development of respiratory airways in humans begins during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and continues until 3 years of age. Studies have suggested that airways may be highly susceptible to permanent damage if the child is exposed to air pollution in utero or postnatally. This study used nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and benzene levels in the air as proxies for pollutant levels related to traffic fumes and industrial activities. Pulmonary effects of prenatal and postnatal pollutant exposure were followed-up in children at the age of 4.5 years by way of lung function tests. It was found that higher prenatal exposure to air pollutants was associated with lower expiratory flow volumes. Exposure during the second trimester of pregnancy held the most significant relationship with diminished lung function.

One of the major limitations of this study stems from the low rate of follow-up. Compared to mothers whose children were excluded from the analysis due to loss to follow-up or improper testing, the mothers of children included in the analysis were older and of higher socioeconomic status. Children included in the final analysis also had higher incidences of wheezing and lower respiratory tract infections in infancy and better day care attendance. While this should not compromise the conclusions of this study, bias effecting the magnitude of the results may have been introduced. Regardless, this is the first prospective, population-based study to assess and demonstrate the association between prenatal air pollution exposure and lung function in children of preschool age.

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