We all have a very high level of control over what we eat and drink. But when it comes to the air we breathe, we have virtually none. And yet, adults breathe around 11,000-17,000 litres of air per day, depending on activity. We should know about what we breathe, especially when we’re indoors and have no alternative but to breathe the air we’re supplied with.
There is now much evidence* that polluted air causes major health problems; it inhibits the physical and mental development of children and can even bring about premature death. It has a direct impact on our short- and long-term health and the way our brains and bodies perform.
So when you’re at work or having a workout at your favourite gym, or in your local supermarket how do you know if you’re being supplied with unpolluted air? You don’t – because the quality of the air is almost certainly not being monitored for pollutants.
Your employers or your gym manager might say “Well, we’ve never had any complaints” – but that’s not the point! They don’t know if the air you are forced to breathe in those buildings contains pollutants or not.
For example, without monitoring, no one would know if the air in a city office is polluted with harmful particulates, ozone, volatile organic compounds and high levels of carbon dioxide. And in a crowded gym, the carbon dioxide levels can rise dramatically making your body and lungs work hard to extract oxygen from carbon dioxide laden air.
Arguably, employers have a responsibility to supply healthy air to their employees. The only way they can prove that they are fulfilling that obligation is to monitor the air and display the data on the video screens and/or their website.
And without monitoring indoor air quality how can schools reassure you that the indoor air your children breathe is healthy?
Healthy air? It’s your right, your family’s right.
“Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution” – Published February 2016 by the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatricians and Children’s Health.