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Air pollution linked to much greater risk of dementia Risk in over-50s increases by 40% where highest nitrogen oxide levels exist, study shows

Air pollution particles found in mothers’ placentas New research shows direct evidence that toxic air – already strongly linked to harm in unborn babies – travels through mothers’ bodies

Air pollution is ‘biggest environmental health risk’ in Europe Governments are failing to tackle the crisis that causes 1,000 early deaths a day, says damning EU report

Posted in Air Quality

REVIEW: Respro® Ultralight™ Mask: Best cycle mask for hot conditions

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Respro® is the world leader in bike pollution mask sales, and while its masks might look a little sinister, their N99-rated filtering technology certainly does the job. The Ultralight is our favourite from Respro’s range: its mesh-like stretchy fabric keeps you cool when it’s hot and humid, and a double-valve filter makes it easy to breathe, even when you’re pedalling hard to get to the office on time. The Hepa Sport 2.5 PM filters on the Respro® Ultralight are replaceable, and you can buy specialised filters designed to reduce allergic reactions or eliminate bad smells.

by expertReviews

Posted in Air Quality, Cycling, Respro® Mask Reviews, Respro® Products | Tagged , ,

Report reveals link between air pollution and increased risk for miscarriage

Air quality has been associated with numerous adverse health outcomes from asthma to pre-term birth. Researchers at University of Utah Health found women living along the Wasatch Front — the most populous region in the state of Utah — had a higher risk (16 percent) of miscarriage following short-term exposure to elevated air pollution. The results are available online on December 5 in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

“Not being from Salt Lake originally, I noticed a pattern in the relation to air quality and pregnancy loss,” said Matthew Fuller, M.D., assistant professor of Surgery at U of U Health and senior author on the paper. “I knew this was an understudied question so we decided to dig deeper.”

Fuller joined University of Utah research analyst Claire Leiser on a retrospective study consisting of more than 1,300 women (54 percent Caucasian, 38 percent Hispanic, and other/missing 8 percent; average age 28 years). The women in the study sought help at the U of U emergency department following a miscarriage (up to 20-weeks gestation) between 2007 to 2015.

The team examined the risk of miscarriage during a three- or seven-day window following a spike in the concentration of three common air pollutants: small particulate matter (PM 2.5), nitrogen dioxide and ozone. The study excluded women who lived outside Utah.

“We are really only seeing the most severe cases during a small window of time,” said Leiser, first author on the paper. “These results are not the whole picture.”

Leiser notes the results suggest there could be an increased risk for an individual. Their research only captured women who sought help at an emergency department at one hospital in the region. It does not account for women who may have sought outpatient care through their obstetric or primary care providers.

The team found a slight increased risk in miscarriage for women exposed to elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide (16 percent for 10 ppb increase during the seven-day window). Although small particulate matter does track with nitrogen dioxide, these results did not significantly associate with an increased risk of miscarriage.

“While we live in a pretty unique geographic area, the problems we face when it comes to air pollution are not unique,” said Fuller. “As the planet warms and population booms, air pollution is going to become a bigger problem not only in the developing world but across the United States.”

The Wasatch Front experiences short-periods of poor air quality, primarily during the winter months, when inversions trap pollutants close to the ground (for the 7-day window: PM2.5 min = 0.3 μg/m3; PM2.5 max = 73.0 μg/m3; O3 min = 4 ppb; O3 max= 80 ppb; NO2 min = 0.5 ppb; NO2 max = 65 ppb). The researchers tracked air quality by zip code, establishing six designated air basins within the Wasatch Front. They compared air quality in each basin to their patients’ outcomes.

The team conducted a case cross-over study that estimated a woman’s risk of miscarriage multiple times in a month where air pollution exposure varied. This approach removed other risk factors, like maternal age, from the study. The scientists were unable to ascertain the age of the fetus at the time of the miscarriage and were unable pinpoint a critical period when the fetus may be most vulnerable to pollutants.

“The results of this study are upsetting, and we need to work together as a society to find constructive solutions,” Fuller said.

Fuller recommends women speak with their doctor about any health concerns. Women can manage the risk by using a N95 particulate respirator face mask to filter out pollutants or avoid outdoor physical activity on poor air quality days. Women can also use filters to lower indoor pollution and, if possible, time conception to avoid seasonal episodes of poor air quality.

Leiser and Fuller were joined by Heidi Hanson, Kara Sawyer, Jacob Steenblik, Troy Madsen, James Hotaling, Yetunde Ibrahim and James VanDerslice at U of U Health; Ragheed Al-Dulaimi at Hurley Medical Center, Flint, Mich. and Karen Gibbins at Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Ore. Their article, titled Acute Effects of Air Pollutants on Spontaneous Pregnancy Loss: A Case-Crossover Study, appears online in the December 5 issue of the journal Fertility and Sterility.

The work was funded through grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Consortium for Families & Health Research.

via Report reveals link between air pollution and increased risk for miscarriage — ScienceDaily

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Air pollution: Madrid bans old cars to reduce emissions

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Spanish authorities have introduced new driving restrictions in the centre of the country’s capital, Madrid, aimed at reducing air pollution by up to 40%.

The tough measures mean motorists will have to test their vehicles’ emissions, with the oldest and most polluting vehicles banned from the city centre.

Drivers entering the controlled zone in breach of the rules will ultimately have to pay a fine of €90 (£80).

The move is also to help reduce noise and encourage more cycling in the city.

Madrid City Council estimates that the project, which was launched on Friday and labelled Madrid Central, will affect about 20% of the cars that enter the city centre.

What are Madrid’s new measures?
The new rules imposed on Madrid’s busy city centre form part of a plan by Spanish authorities to create a cleaner environment by prioritising cyclists, pedestrians, and the use of public transport.

Restrictions for those entering the designated low emission zone vary depending on the type of vehicle and its “label”, which is issued following emissions tests.

For example, hybrid cars with an “eco label” are permitted to drive freely in the centre and use public or designated car parks with no time restrictions.

However, diesel vehicles produced prior to 2006 and petrol vehicles prior to 2000 will not receive a label and can only enter the zone if they are registered in advance and have access to private parking.

From 2020, these vehicles will not be permitted to enter the emissions zone.

Meanwhile, residents who live within the controlled zone can drive freely at any time once registered, but can only park on their own street.

The Madrid Central area, which is marked with red lines on road surfaces and signs displaying red circles at the point of entry, is being policed with surveillance cameras.

How do vehicle emissions impact our health?

Concerns about the impact of exhaust pollutants emitted from older vehicles and diesel engines have risen in recent years.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that millions of deaths around the world every year are linked to exposure to outdoor air pollution.

Diesel engines contribute to the problem in two key ways – through the production of particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Very fine soot PM can penetrate the lungs and can contribute to cardiovascular illness and death.

Back in 2016, the mayor of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, said the issue needed to be addressed urgently in order to improve the health of “our children, our grandparents and our neighbours”.

How are other European cities tackling pollution?

Madrid is not the only capital city to focus on improving its air quality. Paris, Mexico City and Athens have all pledged to ban diesel vehicles from city centres by 2025.

Measures implemented by other cities include:

Paris

  • Banning cars built prior to 1997 from entering the city centre during weekdays between 08:00 and 20:00
  • An additional ban on all diesel vehicles registered before 2001
  • A strategy to phase out older vehicles and remove all diesels from the centre, while offering generous subsidies for other forms of transport
  • Plan to pedestrianise the city centre

Stockholm

  • Introduced a congestion charge for vehicles entering the centre
  • Set up a park-and-ride bus service to encourage drivers to leave their vehicles on the outskirts
  • Adopted an Urban Mobility Strategy initiative, investing in public transport systems buses, trams and the subway

London

  • Introduced a congestion charge for many vehicles entering the city centre
  • Established a 24-hour low emission zone targeting diesel vehicles throughout the Greater London area
  • To introduce an “ultra-low emission zone” promoting tighter exhaust emission standards in the city centre from April 2019
  • Set up “Cycle Superhighways” to make it safer to cycle throughout the city

via Air pollution: Madrid bans old cars to reduce emissions – BBC News

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South Korea smothered in Chinese air pollution

South-Korea-smothered-in-Chinese-air-pollutionSouth Korea issued Tuesday dust advisories in some parts of the country as microdust particles and yellow dust blow in from China.

The Korea Meteorological Administration said the concentration level of fine dust particles, categorized as PM 10, is recorded at 92 micrograms per cubic meter (㎍/㎥) and microfine dust particles (PM 2.5) at 81 ㎍/㎥ in the areas of Incheon on the west coast of the Korean Peninsula closer to China.

The microfine dust particle PM 2.5 warning is issued when the level exceeds more than 75 ㎍/㎥ for two hours. The PM 10 fine dust warning is issued when the level surpasses 150 ㎍/㎥ for two hours.

PM 2.5 is defined as a particulate matter that measures smaller than 2.5 microns, 2.5 thousandths of a millimeter.

Weather officials said that air quality has worsened as a sandstorm originated in the Inner Mongolia region of China has blown southeast toward the Korean Peninsula on Tuesday. It is expected to affect the country over Wednesday.

The state weather agency recommended that children and elderly citizens refrain from going outside.

Fine dust particles from China and domestic air pollutants contribute to the surge in the concentration of air pollutants in the Korean air, along with slow air currents in colder months, the National Institute of Environmental Research said in a report.

via South Korea smothered in Chinese air pollution

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Air Pollution Linked to Intellectual Disabilities in Children

pollutionA new study has found that British children with intellectual disabilities are more likely than their peers to live in areas with high outdoor air pollution.

Published in the Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, the study’s findings come from an analysis of data from the U.K.’s Millennium Cohort Study, a nationally representative sample of more than 18,000 children born in 2000 to 2002.

Researchers discovered that children with intellectual disabilities were 33 percent more likely to live in areas with high levels of diesel particulate matter, 30 percent more likely to live in areas with high levels of nitrogen dioxide, 30 percent more likely to live in areas with high levels of carbon monoxide, and 17 percent more likely to live in areas with high levels of sulfur dioxide.

The researchers noted that intellectual disability is more common among children living in more socioeconomically deprived areas, which tend to have higher levels of air pollution. However, they add that exposure to outdoor air pollution may impede cognitive development, increasing the risk of intellectual disability.

“We know that people with intellectual disabilities in the U.K. have poorer health and die earlier than they should,” said lead author Dr. Eric Emerson of the University of Sydney in Australia. “This research adds another piece to the jigsaw of understanding why that is the case and what needs to be done about it.”

via Air Pollution Linked to Intellectual Disabilities in Children

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Breast Cancer Risk: New Study Says Long-Term Exposure To Vehicle Exhaust Fumes Results In Breast Cancer

Women working near busy roads are at high risk of developing breast cancer, due to air pollution

car exhaust pipe

Air pollution is currently one of the worst problems that the world is facing. If a new study is to be believed, air pollution increases the risk of developing breast cancer in women.

According to a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Stirling in Scotland, women working near busy roads are at high risk of developing breast cancer, due to traffic-related air pollution.

For the purpose of the study, the researchers analyzed the case of a woman who developed breast cancer after spending 20 years working as a border guard at the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario.

Surprisingly, the woman’s diagnosis came within 30 months of five other women working at the same border crossing. Another seven women working at the Detroit-Windsor tunnel were found developing the same disease alongside them.

The researchers Michael Gilbertson and Jim Brophy believe chemicals in the traffic fumes caused cancer. Vehicle exhaust fumes shut down the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes in the body, which play a big role in repairing DNA to stop defects leading to uncontrolled tumors and breast cancer. Notably, BRCA2 gets rapidly degraded in the presence of aldehydes, which are also components of exhaust fumes.

Considering that the woman worked 40 hours a week, she could have been exposed to the fumes of up to 46.8 million vehicles.

The researchers claim that there is a one in 10,000 chance the cases were a coincidence as the cancers were all so similar and close together.

“These outbreaks of breast cancer represent a new occupational disease,” Dr. Gilbertson said, reported Daily Mail. “This new research indicates the role of traffic-related air pollution in contributing to the increasing incidence of breast cancer in the general population.”

The woman, whose case was revealed in the study, was denied any compensation.

The research study has been published in the journal New Solutions.

via Breast Cancer Risk: New Study Says Long-Term Exposure To Vehicle Exhaust Fumes Results In Breast Cancer – Chief Observer

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Living with air pollution

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People wearing smoke masks, children going stir-crazy indoors, families driving hours to find fresh air. Alarming as it is to some, unhealthy air enveloping the San Francisco Bay Area in recent days is all too familiar to millions of people around the world (see global ranking and air pollution map).

In fact, the air quality index (AQI) – a representation of pollutant concentration over a specified period of time – in San Francisco in recent days is on par with some of the most polluted cities in the world, according to Stanford researchers who study the effects of poor air quality.

“I don’t want to minimize how devastating the California fires have been or the current unusual state of air quality in the Bay Area, but these conditions are really the norm for people living in many other parts of the world,” said Nina Brooks, a doctoral candidate in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program on Environment and Resources (E-IPER) in Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences.

Brooks does field work in Dhaka, Bangladesh, for a Stanford-led project to make brick manufacturing cleaner. While air pollution in Dhaka is high year-round, it spikes dramatically in winter months when coal-burning brick kilns around the city operate. The AQI in Dhaka during the winter, where more than 1,000 brick kilns operate, typically hovers above 150 – a level considered unhealthy for all groups – but often spikes much higher.

Globally, long-term exposure to outdoor air pollution is responsible for 4.2 million deaths, according to the World Health Organization, and 9 out of 10 people breathe outdoor and/or indoor air containing high levels of pollutants.

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“The poor, young and elderly are most vulnerable,” said Marshall Burke, an assistant professor of Earth system science in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences. “Climate change can exacerbate the situation by driving meteorological conditions conducive to forming ozone and increasing the chance of wildfires, among other impacts.”Burke coauthored a study showing that exposure to particulate matter in sub-Saharan Africa led to 400,000 otherwise preventable infant deaths in a single year. By analyzing satellite measurements, Burke and his colleagues revealed that small improvements in air quality could be one of the most effective interventions to curb infant mortality rates in the region.

Children under age 5 in lower-income countries are more than 60 times as likely to die from exposure to air pollution as  in high-income countries, according to the World Bank. Regardless of age, people exposed to polluted air for long periods of time are more likely to suffer from diseases such as stroke, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“It’s important for us to think about our health here, but we should also think about how we can use our creativity and resources to help people around the world,” said Alex Yu, a postdoctoral scholar in infectious disease who does research with Brooks in Bangladesh. “This is a big problem that is usually invisible to us. It’s a fact of daily life in many places, and has a lot of health consequences.”

Brooks compiled AQI data for Delhi, Dhaka and San Francisco that paint a stark picture. They show that air pollution in San Francisco spiked after the Camp Fire began on Nov. 8 and approached levels in Delhi and Dhaka. However, a comparison with previous weeks and the same month in 2017 show how much of an aberration poor air quality is in the Bay Area, while in cities such as Delhi and Dhaka it is just business as usual.

via Living with air pollution

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Deadly air pollution shortens lives by nearly 2 years – researchers

Air pollution, caused largely by burning fossil fuels, is cutting global life expectancy by an average of 1.8 years per person, making it the world’s top killer, researchers said on Monday.

The tiny particles ingested from polluted air shorten life more than first-hand cigarette smoke, which can reduce it by 1.6 years, and are more dangerous than other public health threats such as war and HIV/AIDS, they said.

The University of Chicago’s Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) shows people in parts of India, the world’s second-largest country by population, could live 11 years less due to high levels of air pollution.

Life expectancy averages slightly below 69 in the South Asian nation of 1.3 billion, according to the World Bank.

The researchers launched a website that tells users how many years of life air pollution could cost them according to which region of a country they live in.

The index seeks to transform hard-to-comprehend data into “perhaps the most important metric that exists – life”, Michael Greenstone, director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), said in a statement.

Particulate pollution is normally measured in micrograms per cubic meter.

“The fact that this AQLI tool quantifies the number of years I and you have lost to air pollution makes me worried,” Kalikesh Singh Deo, an Indian member of parliament, said in a statement shared by EPIC.

China and Indonesia are also among the countries where microscopic particles floating in the air hit residents the hardest, cutting their life expectancy by as much as seven years and five and a half years respectively, the website shows.

Other studies have previously looked into the number of people who may die prematurely because of air pollution.

But the EPIC scientists hope the website – the first of its kind, according to the institute – will make the consequences of policies that promote dirty energy more tangible, and encourage reforms that promote better air quality.

Only a handful of India’s 100 most polluted cities have drawn up plans to combat air pollution despite being asked to do so three years ago, a report from the World Health Organization said earlier this year.

via Deadly air pollution shortens lives by nearly 2 years – researchers

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Fitting a Respro® Mask Strap

This short video demonstrates how to put a head strap on a Respro® Mask.

This head strap is an extra secure device for your mask. It is a fully adjustable, one size accessory that helps support and seal the mask.

Available from our website respro.com in black and white.

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Respro® Mask Strap (black) on Respro® Ultralight™ Mask (green)

 

Posted in Air Quality, Help & FAQs, Respro® How To Videos, Respro® Products | Tagged , , | Leave a comment