Not only is air pollution the
single biggest threat to children's health,
it hinders their ability to concentrate, calculate, memorise, reason and
It's time to kick it out of the classroom.
Our 'Airnitiative' is to help schools truly understand the severity of air pollution and advise them on the various steps they can take to protect the health of their vulnerable inhabitants.
Children really are the most vulnerable of all to airborne pollutants and contaminants. Not only are their young, developing bodies and organs more susceptible to damage, but they also occupy higher breathing rates in relation to their body weight than adults, thus multiplying the potential for harm.
Incredibly, 93% of the world's children breathe toxic air every single day and in urban areas, children are being taught in schools that regularly exceed air quality thresholds set by the World Health Organisation. Their precious health is under threat inside the very buildings that are created to nurture their talents and potential.
Most people typically associate air pollution with the outdoor environment and fail to understand that indoor air is on average two to five times worse than outdoor air. That's because harmful outdoor bred pollutants from vehicles and factories make their way inside and become trapped, combining with indoor bred pollutants such as chemicals from cleaning products and formaldehyde and VOCs from building materials, carpets, machinery and furniture. Not to forget the inevitable presence of airborne bacteria and virus, so easily spread amongst children in busy schools.
The increased threat of air pollution on the young begins whilst in the womb and all the way through to adolescence, with a terrifying range of potential health impacts. Dangerous air pollutants - some of which are 200 times smaller than a grain of sand, penetrate children’s precious organs and cause just about every illness, disease and health condition imaginable, including:
Premature birth and low birth weight
Development of Autism
Asthma - developing and worsening in both new and existing sufferers of the disease
Stunted growth of lungs, equivalent to the size of an egg
Chronic chest problems & decreased respiratory functions, that often only become evident later in life
Various forms of lung disease
Various forms of heart disease
Cancers including Leukaemia, common in young children
Development of disabilities (verbal, motor, perceptual and behavioural)
- Hearing impairment
Children's intelligence & ability to learn
Air pollution has adverse affects on the structure and functions of the human brain and this is most prominent in the developing brains of babies, children and adolescents. Such affects can be both immediate and long term and air quality is heavily associated with academic performance, as research continues to portray a correlation between the two.
One particular study has demonstrated a direct correlation between increased levels of particular matter (PM2.5) surrounding teens homes and decreased IQ test performance. Further studies have portrayed an association between poor air quality and decreased grade point averages, decreased standardised test scores and decreased cognitive development.
These studies have demonstrated the affects of long term exposure to higher levels of air pollution on the intelligence of children. However, the immediate impact of poor air quality on children’s cognitive functions is equally concerning.
We as humans can be thought of as machines and air as our fuel - we are powered by the air around us in everything we do. When air quality is poor our brains cannot function efficiently and we struggle to concentrate and think properly, as proven in studies on both children and adults.
The smaller, developing brains of children are most susceptible and we must strive for cleaner air in their learning environments.
These are some of the small and simple steps schools can take to improve the quality of air in their buildings. It's time to put real thought into the actions of vehicles around the school and ensuring parents picking up and dropping off children are adhering to a helpful protocol.
Cleaning products are also a huge contributor and many contain toxic chemicals that are particularly harmful to the developing lungs of children. A range of chemical-free cleaning products are widely available including incredible probiotic products from companies like Microbz.
The most efficient way to tackle the issue is using advanced clean air technology. We at Airnitiative invested our time into thoroughly researching the clean air technology market with the aim to identify its leading technology. After all, it would be no good for us to go around alerting people to the dangers of indoor pollution only to provide them with a second-rate solution.
Most of the technology on the market purifies air using filtration technology - typically HEPA filters, which can be very beneficial but have their limitations. Firstly, they don’t catch some of the most harmful particles i.e. anything smaller than 0.3 microns and secondly, the pollutants that they do catch aren’t killed or neutralised in the system, so can build up over time and actually become a source of pollution.
Only one company are producing technology able to catch and neutralise all air pollutants right down to the smallest nanoparticle, performing complete sterilisation; Radic8 and their innovative, patented ViruskillerTM technology.
As the Highest Certified Clean Air Technology in the world, Radic8 products use an advanced UV reactor chamber to neutralise all known air pollutants, from traffic pollution to chemicals to mould, virus and bacteria, making schools and nurseries a safe place for children to work and play.
Radic8 technology recently featured on a Channel 4 dispatches programme on the effects of pollution on school children, where an installation in one classroom produced absolutely incredible results. Soon after, Hugh Myddelton primary school in Islington became the first state school in the country to fully join the We Share Clean Air program and install the technology into every classroom. Having realised they were one of the most polluted schools in the country, they decided to take action and have also switched their cleaning products as part of the initiative. Further technologies to be installed are a protective mesh around the school fences that neutralises traffic pollution and a 'pollution tower' in the playground that does the same.
We at Airnitiative are delighted to be an Official Ambassador for Radic8 technology. If you want advice on how to improve the quality of air in your school buildings or are considering installing clean air technology, please don't hesitate to contact us today for a discussion on 0203 488 1204