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 31/01/2022
1948919 Studentship EP/R512217/1 01/10/2017 31/12/2021 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.
• Significant new knowledge generated about air pollution exposure of in-trailer babies transported in polluted roadside environments;
• Reduced uncertainty in quantification of air pollution exposure of in-trailer babies;
• Important new research questions opened surrounding mitigation of air pollution exposure babies transported in trailers attatched to electric bike trailers;
• Developed new knowledge base on factors impacting the exposure of in-trailer babies;
• Significant new knowledge generated about facemask safe usage time.

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 1:
• 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.

Majority of the following objectives are met as mentioned below. The background literature review covering below topics -
- Health impacts of air pollution exposure to in-pram babies
- Exposure concentrations of in-pram babies versus adults
- Physicochemical properties of particles
- Exposure assessment of in-pram babies
- Classification of baby prams
- Exposure implications due to flow and dispersion around baby prams
- Active control measures for mitigation at the source
- Passive control measures for exposure mitigation
- Filtration
- Role of health and safety directives
- Community empowerment

• First field campaign for second PhD objectives (Experimental Quantification of differential exposures of in-pram babies compared with adults);
- Completed second stage literature review related to the objective;
- Completed 100+ hours of field work for data collection of in-pram babies exposure to traffic-reated air pollutants including PM1, PM2.5, PM10, and UFPs.
- Analalysed and processed data
- Compiled comprehensive and systematically organised databasets
- Research article submitted in high impact journal - Environment International (5 -Year Impact Factor = 8.763);

• Second Field Campaign for second PhD objectives (Experimental Quantification of differential exposures of in-pram babies compared with adults);
- Completed experimental design and planning for field emasuremens in electric bike trailer.
- Field meaurements commenced since 4th March 2021 and under progress to be finished before 25th March 2021.

• Filtration (Objective 3) - To experimentally quantify the efficiency of a range of exposure control technologies via options such as: To test the efficiency of different types of filters (e.g., filtering face piece respirators from different manufacturers).
- Completed review of filter testing procedures, such as, review of filter testing standards, review of grades of commercial filters, generation of aerosols, preparation of standardised solutions to be used for aerosol generation.
- Completed laboratory testing of 11 facemask filter types with 3 repeats for each sample type with overall tests on 33 samples (91 hours of laboratory filter testing).
- Completed data collection and analysis.
- Completed manuscript for third PhD research objective based on Filtration.

• Respiratory deposition dose fraction estimation (Objective 4): work in progress towards developing an excel based statistical model for estimating air pollution exposure doses for in-pram babies.

• Development of integrated framework (guidelines) for mitigation strategies (Objective 5) combining literature - review and experimental work in research objectives 1-3).
- Preparing final project guidelines for young children air pollution exposure mitigation document (final project summary)
The following work around the remaining objectives is in progress and lab experiments and field experiments are in progress.
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 utilized 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 the quality of life of young children especially babies transported in prams. This will help reduce their exposure to outdoor roadside environments. In addition to these, other significant research outcomes of this project include the research article published in the high impact journal, Environment International based on quantification of in-pram babies exposure (listed under publication section). This got wider media dissemination including BBC, Guardian, Telegraph and others. The outcomes of this study contributed to a guidance booklet for mitigating school children's exposure, Mitigating Exposure to Traffic Pollution in and around Schools, and outlines 10 general recommendations that schools and communities can follow to improve the quality of air for children across the country. This document featured in the University of Surrey press release on 9th April 2020, 3rd June 2020, and 22nd July 2020 which can be accessed at : • https://www.surrey.ac.uk/news/babies-popular-low-riding-pushchairs-are-exposed-alarming-levels-toxic-air-pollutants • https://www.surrey.ac.uk/news/new-guidance-help-schools-tackle-air-pollution • https://www.surrey.ac.uk/news/surrey-research-mitigating-air-pollution-around-schools-shared-china
First Year Of Impact 2017
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 Novel experimental setup measuring exposure to air pollution and noise of babies transported in trailers attached to electric bike 
Description • Developed novel experimental setup measuring exposure to air pollution and noise of babies transported in trailers attached to the electric bike when transported to schools by parents during morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up. • Developed a novel empirical system of determining facemask potential usage time when they should be either safely replaced, disposed or recycled. 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact These tools are part of the research studies for which manuscripts are about to be submitted in open access journals to facilitate wider glocal dissemination 
 
Title A novel comprehensive database of air pollution (PM2.5, PM10, BC, CO2) exposure to babies in trailers attached to electric bike 
Description A novel comprehensive database is generated about the exposure of babies in trailers (attached to the electric bike) to a range of roadside traffic-related air pollutants - particulate matter =10µm in aerodynamic diameter (PM10) 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact N/A 
 
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. 
URL https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019345593
 
Description Industrial Partnership with BRIZI Ltd. UK 
Organisation Brizi
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We made below contributions to this collaboration - 1. Identified gaps in the understanding of quantification of in-pram babies exposure while in-pram babies are transported through roadside environments. 2. Developed a knowledge base and understanding of underlying factors responsible for in-pram babies exposure 3. Published finding of systematic review of existing knowledge on in-pram babies exposure to advance the knowledge of in-pram babies exposures 4. Conducted field experiments for quantifying in-pram babies exposure and compared against adults exposure. 5. In-pram babies exposures were analysed for different scenarios including the three types of prams including two types of single prams (facing roadside and facing parent) and double pram facing roadside. 6. Developed a novel filter testing rig for laboratory testing of the filtration efficiency at the University of Surrey GCARE Lab(Global Centre of Clean Air Research). 7. Disseminated findings on in-pram babies exposure research at international platforms including following - (i) The Doctoral College Conference, The University of Surrey, UK (Poster Presentation; 3-4 July 2018); (ii) The Clean Air Engineering for Cities (CArE-Cities) workshop, The University of Surrey, UK(Poster Presentation;10th-11th April 2019,); (iii) The UK-Egypt workshop on Air Quality and Health in Middle Eastern and European cities(Oral Presentation; July 10, 2018); (iv) The Cambridge Particle Meeting,The University of Cambridge(Oral Presentation; 27th June 2019); (v) The University of Sao Paulo Seminar, From Local to Regional Scale: the short-lived climate pollutants and Green-House Gases, Atmospheric Sciences Department (Oral Presentation; July 19, 2019); (vi) Brazil (Air Pollution Conference Brazil 4th CMAS South America (Oral Presentation; 22-24 July 2019).
Collaborator Contribution 1. Provided prams for quantification of in-pram baby exposure in different types of pram 2. Provided in-pram clean air device for static and mobile testing 3. Partially helped in the initial phase of the mechanical design of development of the Filter Test Rig 4. Provided with filter cartridge samples for testing of BRIZI filters. 5. Partially supported the EPSRC-BRIZI Studentship for PhD Research Project
Impact Please refer to the publications listed in section of publications.
Start Year 2017
 
Description 2020 coverage by international prestigious media (UK Daily Mail and Science Daily) 
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 2020 coverage by international prestigious media included UK Daily Mail article on 20th January 2020 and Science Daily on 8th April 2020 and The Economist. Available online at:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/04/200408145801.htm
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-8204547/Babies-low-riding-pushchairs-exposed-air-pol...
 
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 Mitigating Exposure to Traffic Pollution in and around Schools 
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 The significant research outcomes of this project included the research article published in the high-impact journal, Environment International based on quantification of in-pram babies exposure (listed under publication section). This got wider media dissemination including BBC, Guardian, Telegraph, and others. The outcomes of this study contributed to a guidance booklet for mitigating school children's exposure, Mitigating Exposure to Traffic Pollution in and around Schools, and outlines 10 general recommendations that schools and communities can follow to improve the quality of air for children across the country. This document featured in the University of Surrey press release on 9th April 2020, 3rd June 2020 and 22nd July 2020 which can be accessed at :
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2020
URL https://www.surrey.ac.uk/news/new-guidance-help-schools-tackle-air-pollution
 
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 The University of Surrey's press coverage of Quantification of in-pram babies exposure 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact The University of Surrey's official press release highlighting the significant findings of the research article on the quantification of in-pram babies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.surrey.ac.uk/news/babies-popular-low-riding-pushchairs-are-exposed-alarming-levels-toxic...
 
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