Air pollution and the spread of airborne viruses lived in the headlines for the majority of 2021, and will continue to do so in 2022.
It is no surprise that the awareness of the dangers of air pollution has become a top priority, even more so since the World Health Organization tightened its air quality guidelines in September of 2021. For years we have ignored the damaging impacts it may have on our wellbeing, but what about the effects it has on our children?
Children are at a higher risk of the ill effects of air pollution as their lungs, brains and immune systems are still developing.
Long-term exposure on their daily bus trips to school, sitting in the classroom, or even just outside their school gates, is causing irreparable damage to the lives they have ahead of them. We also know that consistent exposure to high levels of airborne pollution, and its impact on pulmonary health, has a direct correlation to the propensity to contract COVID-19, as well as the severity of its symptoms.
Air pollution accounts for almost 1 in 10 deaths in children under five years of age. Those lucky enough to not fall in these statistics have an increased threat of asthma, childhood cancers, chronic diseases, poor lung function, pneumonia and other types of acute lower respiratory infection. It affects their neurodevelopment, leading to lower cognitive test outcomes and negatively affecting mental and motor development.
More than 25 million children each year rely on school buses to get them to school safely, taking an estimated 10 billion individual journeys. Much is accounted for vehicle and driver safety, but what about the air onboard a school bus? How are they to get a good day of education after breathing toxic gases from the moment they leave their front door?
In many cases, the journey to school can be one of the most polluted trips these children will make. The five worst polluted school areas include New York, Chicago and Pittsburgh, as well as Jersey City and Camden in New Jersey.
Airborne pollution affects a student’s immediate and long-term ability to learn, retain information, and perform as well as those who are traveling in far less polluted environments.
Schools with greater proportions of socio disadvantaged students, schools with higher enrollment, and schools located in more urban counties face greater risks.
Privilege is given to the mere 7% of children globally who are not exposed to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) while the remaining 93% grow up in a deficit of the physical and cognitive development they so desperately need in the early years of childhood.
Those children that come from ethnic minority backgrounds, and who as a result suffer from social and enviro-economic deprivation are bearing the brunt of air neurotoxicant exposures at school, which may be unequally impacting their school performance and future potential.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, some schools have made the informed choice to install air filtration in classrooms, but what about their trip to those apparent safe havens?
Even with their best efforts, some schools were misled to believe the technology they were investing in was the right choice and was later proven to underperform and in some cases cause more harm than good. It can be a daunting task to decide which technologies to invest in to put the children’s needs first, which is where we come in.
Backed by science, AirLabs is dedicated to finding the best solution to protect those who use it. As is recommended by the CDC and WHO, we use HEPA filters to remove more than 99% of airborne pathogens, viruses, pollen, PM2.5 and PM10, bacteria, pollen, soot, mold spores, dust and dander, non-exhaust traffic emissions.
We are here to help and will gladly answer any questions you may have on your journey to effective active air filtration.