The top five tips to avoid air pollution by Sophie Power, co-founder of Airlabs
The air pollution problem in the UK is becoming a huge issue and awareness is growing rapidly. While we may not be able to avoid all the impacts yet, there are five simple steps you can take to significantly reduce your children’s exposure on any given day.
1. Cook clean
Some of the gases and particles given off when cooking can reach harmful levels if your home is not properly ventilated. Cook with high smoke-point oils, such as sunflower, instead of olive oil. Ensure the kitchen is properly ventilated when cooking and keep children away if you smell smoke.
2. Drive smart
Turn the car fan off in polluted spots like traffic jams or tunnels; it’s just sucking in exhaust fumes. Emissions from cars idling tend to be concentrated in hotspots such as school drop-offs. If you have to drive, switch your engine off when you stop.
3. Watch your step
Believe it or not, air pollution levels can change significantly within only a few metres. Walking to school on the building side of the pavement (as opposed to the road side) can reduce your exposure by 30-60%. The best advice is to plan your walks where possible. Try to avoid peak traffic times and check online pollution maps for your area so you can avoid busy roads. Keep littles away from the kerb (which is safer anyway) and don’t dawdle on congested stretches.
4. How clean is clean?
Most cleaning products and household goods release gases into the house. That “clean” smell is actually a mix of volatile organic compounds, which have been linked to a broad spectrum of health problems from headaches to asthma and cancer. Reducing use and properly ventilating the house after cleaning can minimise the impact.
5. Get the tech
The most polluted air your children breathe is probably found inside your car. Sitting in traffic for an hour can lead to vehicle occupants inhaling two cigarettes’ worth of harmful nitrogen dioxide! The new Airbubbl from Airlabs is a compact, surprisingly stylish gizmo that cleans the air inside a car of harmful gases and particles – not to mention nasty odours.