6 in 10 UK classrooms have worse air quality than roads

A new study using digital pollution monitors has found high levels of volatile organic compounds, fine dust, and liquid droplets inside British school buildings. 

According to recent research, six in ten UK classrooms have worse air quality than traffic-filled roads, with 26 different campuses involved in the study, all of which were tested on ten separate days by children and their teachers. 

woman standing in front of children

Common elements found in the air included volatile organic compounds from glues, disinfectants, and solvents. In addition, fine dust matter and liquid droplets suspended in the air were also prevalent, the latter caused by cooking, heating and transportation. Schools across the country were involved, including those in both rural, semi-rural and dense urban areas, with the project led by natural daily nasal wash, Otrivine Natural, as part of the brand’s ‘Actions to Breathe Cleaner’ initiative. 

Worryingly, in some instances results pointed to levels that exceeded the one-hour exposure threshold as set by the World Health Organisation (WHO), meaning pollution is high enough to cause adverse health effects and complications. Currently, the WHO categorises air pollution as the largest global environmental health threat, with figures showing that 93% of children around the world are breathing polluted air each day. 

‘We want to inspire people to take action against the health impact of air pollution because children contribute the least to it, but are some of the most vulnerable, to its effects,’ said Sarah McDonald, VP of Sustainability at GSK. ‘“One of the first steps is to be aware of your personal exposure and then learn the actions you can take to breathe cleaner.’

In related news, Scotland has just announced a new £10m CO2 utilisation fund. 

Image credit: National Cancer Institute




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2 years ago

All the more reason for installing air quality meters inside all UK schools? And at the school gates too. How many children have asthma now because of poor air quality? Have the anti-covid disinfectants made matters worse inb some ways? This is a difficult one.

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