Six out of ten schools in the UK have air quality WORSE than traffic-filled motorways, says study

A WHOPPING six in 10 UK classrooms have worse air quality than MOTORWAYS, a shocking new study has found.

Digital pollution monitors were used in 26 schools on 10 separate school days by children and their teachers.

The study found six in 10 UK classrooms have worse air quality than MOTORWAYSCredit: Reuters

Volatile organic compounds, which come from plastics, glues, disinfectants, and solvents were among the main pollutants recorded in the classroom.

While fine dust and liquid droplets suspended in the air caused by heating, transportation and cooking were also detected.

The study included schools located in UK cities, towns and villages.

And astonishingly it revealed indoor air pollution of village schools was no better than that of city schools.

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While in some shocking cases, levels exceeded the 1-hour exposure threshold set by the WHO.

This level of high air pollution that can cause someone to experience adverse health effects.

It comes after the WHO’s categorisation of air pollution as the largest global environmental health threat, with 93 per cent per cent of children around the world breathing polluted air every day.

The study also found while children know that air pollution is bad, they don’t know what to do about it.

The research was commissioned by daily nasal wash Otrivine Natural who launched ‘Actions to Breathe Cleaner’ initiative which consisted of both in-classroom education and air pollution monitoring.

School children were able to analyse the air quality inside and outside their schools over a two-week period using digital pollution monitors and see the dangers themselves.

The project involved monitoring air for 15 minutes in a stationary position outside the school, during a 15–30-minute walk outside and for 15 minutes inside the classroom after each walk.

Monitors were also left on inside the classrooms when not in use, to help understand the daily pollution rhythms indoors.

Since taking part in the initiative, many schools are putting additional actions into practice.

These include adding more plants and building a ‘living’ green wall, to help mitigate the health impact of air pollution.

Sarah McDonald, GSK VP of Sustainability, said: “One of the first steps is to be aware of your personal exposure and then learn the actions you can take to breathe cleaner.

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“We discovered that indoor air quality can be worse than outdoors and therefore, as part of Actions to Breathe Cleaner, we recommend daily ventilation of classrooms, at times when outside traffic is at its lowest.

“Children spend a significant amount of time at school, and our research shows they may be exposed to air pollutants that could have a detrimental impact on health.”


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