Researchers at the
The package, called the Urban Exposure Module, is a management decision software tool aimed at helping administrators quantify and deal with the health risks associated with pollution in urban environments. Its use could help in the understanding and possibly prevention of major health problems that are caused by airborne pollutants.
The Urban Exposure Module provides local, regional and national governments with a system to translate measured outdoor pollution concentrations or emissions into real health risks for people in domestic environments and will enable more effective air pollution control strategies to be developed and administered.
It is the culmination of a collaborative three year European Union funded project which has seen the Essex team work with partners across
Professor Ian Colbeck, leader of the
“However, most people spend 80 per cent of their time indoors and for some groups, such as the elderly and mothers with pre-school age children, this statistic is even higher. Therefore, it is really rather important that we understand the risks when indoors.
“In order to develop the system, we made extensive simultaneous measurements of the indoor and outdoor concentrations of a range of pollutants in a variety of buildings in five major European cities. We were then able to establish a set of models of likely indoor concentrations based upon the outdoor readings.
“From our estimated indoor concentrations we could then estimate the amount that a person would inhale. The software can then be used to forecast exposure levels or can be used as a diagnostic tool to investigate pollution incidents.”
The project also took into account water-borne pollutants and how, and in what doses, they might enter the body.
The team”s results were used to develop the new software which is designed to work best when integrated into an Air Quality Management System that uses geographical information to track and monitor outdoor air quality.