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BSC study shows exposure levels to poor air quality

05 February 2020

Data from an app launched by the British Safety Council (BSC) is being used to monitor workers' exposure to poor air quality in central London.

Developed by King's College London, the Canairy app is designed to assist users in raising awareness of air quality levels by using information from London's monitoring stations positioned around the capital.

BSC analysis shows that outdoor workers are exposed to more risk than the average London resident, based on the data gathered over a six month period.

This follows the launch of its Time to Breathe campaign in March 2019 that includes the free app for workers and employers.

Results from data gathered from the app showed that those working outdoors were exposed to pollution levels higher than guidelines for NO2, PM205, PM10 and ozone, to the point where some exposures were 66% higher than World Health Organisation (WHO) limits.

The workers within the study were divided into two groups, including those mainly working inside and the remainder mostly engaged in working outdoors.

Although both groups recorded exposure to higher levels of air pollution than official recommendations, those working outside were exposed to higher levels than others working inside.

The BSC is using its findings to campaign for improved air quality levels and has also reported it is working to assist outdoor workers with practical solutions in reducing their exposure levels.

Head of campaigns Matthew Holder said: "The first data release confirms that outdoor workers are being exposed to high levels of air pollution with all the health risks that carries.

"Canairy confirms what we also thought: if you work outside in a city or near a busy road you are putting your health at risk."

He said that the BSC app is helping individual workers to record their exposure to poor air quality and providing supporting evidence to drive changes in the future.

The BSC is continuing to urge the government to adopt the WHO guidelines on air quality, "but we also need investment in measurement so we can understand who is at risk and how people can limit their exposure to harmful air pollution," said Mr Holder.

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