When we usually think about the problem of air pollution, the first thought that crosses our minds is the image we’ve all seen in the news: a picture of a smog and dust filled city scene from India, China, or other developing nations. However, air pollution isn’t a problem reserved for developing countries. For example, over 400,000 early deaths per year across Europe are due to toxic air2, with estimates around 40,000 in the UK alone in 20163. Two new articles in October 2019 in Bloomberg Businessweek: “The Scandal of London’s Air” by Peter Robinson and “Air Pollution” by Jonathan Tirone, brought light to the issue of London’s air pollution once again.
Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), a byproduct of most diesel vehicles, has been measured in London in concentrations much higher than the standard recognized as acceptable by the World Health Organization (WHO). According to The Guardian, levels of this compound have been illegally high since 2010 in most urban areas in the UK1. The WHO’s director of public health, Dr. Maria Neira, said new urgency was needed to tackle air pollution: “While air pollution knows no borders and puts everyone at risk, those most vulnerable – pregnant women, children, the elderly, those already ill or poor– are particularly affected.”
With real world emissions being more than five times as high as those measured in laboratory testing2. Diesel engines were supposed to be the “climate savior”, as mentioned in the Bloomberg article. They offer better fuel economy than gasoline engines, and “policymakers in the late 1990s believed they produced fewer emissions of carbon dioxide.” However, that was not the case, and the diesel subsidies given by the UK has contributed to the declining air quality that many cities are faced with. Moreover, following the Volkswagen scandal a few years ago, a 2016 government investigation undertaken by the UK showed that there was a significant difference between nitrogen dioxide emissions test results from diesel cars in a laboratory setting versus real world results. The tests showed that the real-world emissions of nitrogen dioxide were much higher. “Nitrogen oxides produced by the combustion of diesel engines react with air to form Nitrogen Dioxide, a toxic gas that inflames the lung, heart, and brain and has been linked to cancer and dementia in addition to respiratory illnesses3.”
King’s College in London has conducted many studies showing the dramatic health effects of London’s air pollution. One study, for example, followed 2,500 school kids in London for a period of 7 years, and by the commencement of the study, those kids exposed to high levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air “had lungs as much as 8% smaller3.” Frank Kelly, head of the Environmental Research Group at King’s College, called this decrease “clinically important”, saying that “It’s a really strong marker for later problems in life3.”
The SteriSpace™ technology, with the use of a chemical catalyst in the unit, is able to remove nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other select chemical from the air. Air has no boundaries and these compounds tend to accumulate within indoor spaces. The use of the SteriSpace™ technology will help remove the above-mentioned toxins from the air, providing a safer indoor environment for all.