Cyclists can breathe more easily

An Industrial design and technology student from Brunel University has created what is claimed to be the first ever respirator for cyclists that filters most contaminants.

Luke Pannell’s Breathe Air, the powered personal air respirator (PPAR), is said to clean air without the usual restrictions and discomfort of conventional facemasks.

The respirator employs pleated particle filters with a tested 98.5 per cent efficiency for particles three microns in size such as PM2.5s, the most dangerous airborne pollutants. A sheet of activated carbon cloth has been added to remove harmful organic vapours.

Breathe Air has a poly-carbonate shield that cups the user’s face but makes no contact with the skin, with clean air blown over the cyclist’s face behind the shield.

‘As a severe hay fever sufferer, I have noticed there are a lot of home air filtering and air conditioning systems available but nothing to protect hay fever sufferers outside,’ said Pannell.

‘When cycling, hay fever is much worse due to the constant flow of pollen and dust into the face and the increased rate of breathing. Looking further into this, it became clear hay fever was only one of many afflictions caused by particle pollutants that cyclists are exposed to.’

Stephen Green, lecturer at Brunel University’s School of Engineering and Design, added: ‘Concerns about pollution and personal safety stop people using this environmentally friendly form of transport. Combining a helmet with effective filtering will provide much more reassurance.’

The Breathe Air respirator blows filtered air over the cyclist’s face