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Tuesday, 09 June 2015 10:24

ITV programme uses portable air monitors to highlight black carbon public risk

Television company ITV has used portable air quality monitoring instruments from a  UK company in a pivotal role to highlight the air quality crisis faced by the general public.

air monitors close up copyITV's recent 'Tonight' programme entitled 'The Air That We Breathe' highlighted the problem with portable aethalometers from Air Monitors, fitted to four people during their normal working day.

Following the Supreme Court's recent judgement on the UK's air quality, the new Government has been ordered to take urgent action to reduce urban pollution that is causing thousands of premature deaths in Britain. The move follows a campaign spearheaded by activist lawyers ClientEarth.

The participants included ITV presenter Fiona Foster, an A&E nurse from Wolverhampton, a radio DJ from Leeds and a bike mechanic from Derbyshire. The results were assessed by Prof. Frank Kelly from King's College London, and revealed alarming conclusions. Each of the group was exposed to high levels of black carbon, which is a product of combustion, from diesel engines for example. These high levels were at their greatest whilst the participants were driving, cycling, jogging and travelling on a train.

Air Monitors Managing Director Jim Mills commented: "The programme painted a bleak picture of the UK's air quality, but it was good to see this problem being given the publicity it deserves, because air pollution causes more premature deaths than alcohol, obesity or road traffic accidents.

"We were pleased to supply aethalometers for this programme because black carbon is a very good indicator of air quality; not only are these tiny particles a serious health threat, but they are also a strong indicator for diesel emissions which also contain the other pollutant of great concern, nitrogen dioxide."

The Tonight programme ended with a more positive note, outlining the initiatives that are under way to reduce air pollution. Vehicle engines are becoming cleaner and inevitably there will be an expansion of low emission zones. Looking forward Jim says: "Clearly, there is an urgent need to reduce air pollution and the good news from the technology sector is that new web-enabled instruments have been developed to enable us to monitor in more places, more easily and at a lower cost, so that we can accurately check the air that we breathe."

LINKS
For further information visit: www.itv.com/news/2015-05-19/tonight-the-air-we-breathe/ and the full programme can be viewed on ITV Player until 20th June.
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