Mitigation of air pollution exposure to young children (MAPE)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Surrey
Department Name: Civil and Environmental Engineering

Abstract

Children's exposure to air pollution is a special concern because of their less-developed immune system and lungs, necessitating a need for effective mitigation measures. There is a significant gap in understanding of the impacts of air pollution exposure on the children's health in the UK and other developing countries such as India, South Africa and South America where they are disproportionately affected with the proliferating levels of particulate matter emissions in both indoor and outdoor environments. Advancing our past research that featured widely (including on BBC; https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39216807), mitigation of air pollution exposure to young children (MAPE) project aims to develop novel exposure control methods for in-pram babies by creating a 'clean air zone' around them. Through laboratory and field investigations for both regulated (e.g., PM2.5, PM10, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide) and unregulated (ultrafine particles, black carbon) pollutants, we aim to create a hitherto missing knowledge base for a low-energy, miniature, clean air system for removing gaseous pollutants and particles of varying size. We will investigate questions such as exposure variability in in-pram babies versus adult exposure, the efficiency of passive control mitigation technologies, and characterising outdoor roadside air pollutants in in-pram using indigenous filter testing setup to quantify the efficiency of various filtration systems for potential deployment in prams. Laboratory tests will include to design and test nature-based filtration materials for identifying and recommending best filtration materials. The research will also utilise low-cost air pollution sensor technology to innovate products of industrial partner, for example, identifying the areas where the children are more susceptible to such exposures and developing a database. Through the online pollution routing via an app, prospects of bringing in behavioral changes such as de-routing from polluted routes will be considered. Finally, the project will present a holistic model that integrate technological solutions, community empowerment, and exposure-centric policies to help limit personal exposure of in-pram babies. The research will be directly applied by 'BRIZI Ltd' (industrial collaborator) and benefit to, e.g., policy makers, public, university, UK (and beyond) through reduced health cost.

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R512217/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021
1948919 Studentship EP/R512217/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021 Ashish Sharma
 
Description Findings of work:
Overall Summary
• Significant new knowledge generated about air pollution exposure of in-pram babies transported in polluted roadside environments;
• Reduced uncertainty in quantification of air pollution exposure of in-pram babies;
• Important new research questions opened surrounding mitigation of air pollution exposure to babies transported in prams;
• Developed new knowledge base on factors impacting exposure of in-pram babies;
• Designed low cost laboratory based experimental setup for testing of filtering face-masks.
Review article
• Exposure quantification of in-pram babies and potential mitigation efforts reviewed;
• Pollutant exposure to in-pram babies can exceeds adult's exposure by up to 60%;
• First 1m above road level important for exposure in breathing zone (~0.85m) sitting babies;
• Breathing height of in-pram babies lies where concentrations are usually the greatest;
• Both technology and community-driven measures are needed for exposure mitigation.

Research article:
• In-pram babies are exposed up to 44% higher fine particle concentrations than adults;
• Variability between morning and afternoon concentrations was up to ~60% (PNC), 7% (PM1) and 8% (PM2.5);
• Bottom seat of double pram showed up to 72% greater PNC compared to top seat;
• Pram covers reduced fine and coarse particles by up to 39% and 43%, respectively;
• SEM/EDS analysis revealed dominance of brake/tyre wear emissions at baby height.
Exploitation Route The findings of this work have very substantial scope of utility in both industrial and academic routes. The findings are helpful in improving the designs of innovative technologies for mitigation of air pollution exposure in in-pram breathing zones.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

 
Description The findings are being utilised by the industrial partner (Brizi Ltd) based in London (UK) to improve their in-pram filtration product (clean air device) and this will definitely help in enhancing quality of life of young children especially babies transported in prams. This will help reduce their exposures in outdoor roadside environments.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Education,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Guideline Title NHS advisory to parents in use of prams
Description Audience reported change in views, opinions or behaviors as a result of MAPE Project Dissemination by Media
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Citation in clinical guidelines
Impact The impact was so wide that even NHS UK also cited our study officially on their website as follows: https://www.nhs.uk/news/pregnancy-and-child/parents-told-to-use-pram-covers-to-protect-babies-from-air-pollution/; https://www.nhs.uk/news/pregnancy-and-child/concerns-raised-about-air-pollution-for-babies-in-prams/ Audience reported change in views, opinions or behaviors as noted in the blog published at GREENPEACE investigative journalism online platform "UNEARTHED" by Emma Howard in year 2017. Available online at: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2017/04/05/air-pollution-nurseries-parents-children-not-go-out/
URL https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2017/04/05/air-pollution-nurseries-parents-children-not-go-out/
 
Description FEPS Faculty Research Support Fund (FRSF) Award
Amount £1,576 (GBP)
Funding ID FEPS Faculty Research Support Fund (FRSF) Award PGR CG 19-118 
Organisation University of Surrey 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2019 
End 07/2019
 
Title In-pram babies exposure assessment toolkit 
Description • Developed novel classification methods for various types of prams based on number of wheels and in-pram baby seating capacity. • Developed novel scripts for data refining, time averaging and statistical analysis incuding statistical analysis in open access R-programming language and software. • Developed Laboratory Filter Testing Experiment Set-up for testing efficacy of filtering face-mask used for protection against common air pollution and infectious viruses such as Coronavrus (COVID-19). • Developed simplified scripts in R-programming for assessing the statistical air pollution exposure modelling of babies in prams based on various scenarios such as in-pram baby sitting height, and meteorological factors. 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact - Reducing uncertainty in in-pram babies exposure compared to exposure of adults - Comparison of in-pram babies' exposure in different scenarios including different types of prams (such as single versus double pram; facing parent versus facing roadside), use of pram cover - Laboratory based filter testing experimental setup which capable of quantifying efficacy of different types of face-masks commonly used for protection form air pollution exposure and viruses such as novel corona-virus (COVID-19) 
 
Title In-pram babies traffic-related air pollutants (PM1, PM2.5, PM10, UFPs) exposure data-sets 
Description • A novel comprehensive database is generated about exposure of in-pram babies to a range of roadside traffic-related air pollutants - particulate matter =10µm in aerodynamic diameter (PM10), =2.5µm (PM2.5; fine particles), =1µm (PM1), =0.10µm (measured as particle number concentration, PNC) - in three different types of prams (single pram facing road; single pram facing parents; double pram facing road). • This database is compiled from 89 single runs, simulating morning drop-off and afternoon pick-off times of school children. • These are repeated on a 2.1 km long pre-defined route between an origin-destination pair (the University of Surrey to a local school) during the morning (08:00-10:00 h; local time) and afternoon (15:00-17:00h) hours. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact MAPE Project results reinforce the need for mitigating exposures to in-pram babies, especially at urban pollution hotspots such as busy congested roads, bus stops, and traffic intersections. 
 
Description BBC Media Coverage of Study Performed a s apart of MAPE Project titled 'Babies in prams 'exposed to more pollution' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact This coverage by BBC was one of the several international media outlets who discussed and disseminated the findings on air pollution exposure of babies transported in prams in polluted roadside environments. This raised awareness globally and was discussed with colleagues within the university and internationally as well. Infact we got much wider appreciation both nationally and internationally by the audiences. It invited several queries and further interests by other industrial partners in the similar domain. Many campaigners and NGOs also discussed about the positive social impact of this research in terms of raising awareness about the harmful impacts of early life exposures of babies transported in prams.The impact was so wide that even NHS UK also cited our study officially on their website.It almost went viral and was shared multiple times on twitter, linked-in and other social media outlets.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45181761
 
Description Citizen science activity at St Thomas Of Canterbury Catholic Primary School in Merrow, Surrey, UK. Available online at: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/news/citizen-science-activity-st-thomas-canterbury-catholic-primary-school-merrow. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact This was followed up with a very comprehensive air pollution monitoring campaign by GCARE (Global Centre of Clean Air Research) team. This included monitoring of traffic related air pollutants such as, PM1, PM2.5, PM10, and CO2 by both low (low-cost sensors) and high-end instruments. The findings were compiled and submitted to the prestigious journal, Environment International.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/babies-in-prams-at-risk-of-60-more-pollution-than...
 
Description NHS (National Health Service) UK issuing public advisory based on MAPE Project Finding's on official Website - "Concerns raised about air pollution for babies in prams" 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The impact was so wide that even NHS UK also cited our study officially on their website as follows:

https://www.nhs.uk/news/pregnancy-and-child/parents-told-to-use-pram-covers-to-protect-babies-from-air-pollution/;
https://www.nhs.uk/news/pregnancy-and-child/concerns-raised-about-air-pollution-for-babies-in-prams/

As a significant impact, audience reported change in views, opinions or behaviors as noted in the blog published at GREENPEACE investigative journalism online platform "UNEARTHED" by Emma Howard in year 2017. Available online at: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2017/04/05/a
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
URL https://www.nhs.uk/news/pregnancy-and-child/concerns-raised-about-air-pollution-for-babies-in-prams/
 
Description Social Media/Twitter dissemination of the MAPE Project Research Findings by NGOs/s Campaigners to influence parents commuting behaviour to schools for pick-up and drop -off of their children 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact It almost went viral and was shared multiple times on twitter (@AirPollSurrey; @pk_shishodia; @SurreyResearch; @ashtechnovator), and other social media outlets (e.g., twitter, facebook and linkedin; https://www.linkedin.com/posts/sustainability-ashish_following-the-coverage-of-study-by-the-uk-activity-6435816448555307008-mQPM/).
Many campaigners and NGOs also discussed the positive social impact of this research in terms of raising awareness about the harmful impacts of early life exposures of babies transported in prams.
For instance, LittleNinja UK :
https://plu.mx/a?doi=10.1016/j.envint.2018.07.038&theme=plum-elsjournals-theme&hideUsage=true
https://twitter.com/sarahpiano/status/1233136941643837440?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1233136941643837440&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fplu.mx%2Fa%3Fdoi%3D10.1016%2Fj.envint.2018.07.038%26theme%3Dplum-elsjournals-theme%26hideUsage%3Dtrue
Sarah Nicolls at twitter
Green Car Congree
DES daughter Network
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
URL https://twitter.com/jksmith34/status/1170019487078330370
 
Description The TIMES coverage of Environmental International Publication - Babies in prams exposed to 60% more pollution than parents, say experts 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Invited queries for further information globally from academicians, media, and industries in the domain of baby prams and other air pollution mitigation technologies to fit in car or prams.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/babies-in-prams-exposed-to-60-more-pollution-than-parents-say-exp...
 
Description The Telegraph online article titled 'Low-riding buggies worsen babies' pollution risk, experts warn' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact UK's one of the most prestigious online media outlet, The Telegraph published an online article titled 'Low-riding buggies worsen babies' pollution risk, experts warn' based on Environmental International publication. It was for wider outreach for public engagement and raising community awareness.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2018/08/14/low-riding-buggies-worsen-babies-pollution-risk-exper...
 
Description The University of Surrey Press Release - Babies in prams can be exposed to up to 60 per cent more pollution than adults 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact SUMMARY OF RESULTS:
Overall Summary
• Significant new knowledge generated about air pollution exposure of in-pram babies transported in polluted roadside environments;
• Reduced uncertainty in quantification of air pollution exposure of in-pram babies;
• Important new research questions opened surrounding mitigation of air pollution exposure to babies transported in prams;
• Developed new knowledge base on factors impacting exposure of in-pram babies;
• Designed low cost laboratory based experimental setup for testing of filtering face-masks.

Review article
• Exposure quantification of in-pram babies and potential mitigation efforts reviewed;
• Pollutant exposure to in-pram babies can exceeds adult's exposure by up to 60%;
• First 1m above road level important for exposure in breathing zone (~0.85m) sitting babies;
• Breathing height of in-pram babies lies where concentrations are usually the greatest;
• Both technology and community-driven measures are needed for exposure mitigation.

Research article:
• In-pram babies are exposed up to 44% higher fine particle concentrations than adults;
• Variability between morning and afternoon concentrations was up to ~60% (PNC), 7% (PM1) and 8% (PM2.5);
• Bottom seat of double pram showed up to 72% greater PNC compared to top seat;
• Pram covers reduced fine and coarse particles by up to 39% and 43%, respectively;
• SEM/EDS analysis revealed dominance of brake/tyre wear emissions at baby height.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.surrey.ac.uk/news/babies-prams-can-be-exposed-60-cent-more-pollution-adults.
 
Description UK Dailymail press release titled 'Babies in prams are exposed to up to 60% more air pollution than adults due to them being closer to vehicle exhaust fumes' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact The online UK daily-mail coverage of our Environmental International peer-reviewed publication (A review of factors surrounding the air pollution exposure to in-pram babies and mitigation strategies) led to increase in interest of common publication in research related to in-pram babies exposure. This invited many queries from industries, academicians and NGO's.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6059311/Prams-expose-babies-60-air-pollution-adults.html