Moving Aerosol Studies Out of The Lab
Air pollution causes 1 in 9 deaths. It is the biggest environmental health crisis we face. We may not always see it, but air pollution is the cause of some of our most common illnesses.
Radiation, power lines, chemical pesticides and combustion from industrial activities are among the concerning list of man-made pollutants that our growing global population is able to regulate, however naturally occurring sources such as volcanoes, biological decay, forest fires and dust storms are largely out of our control.
A Global Problem
Recent regulations set out within the EU’s Clean Air Program (#CleanAir), embrace the aim to halve the number of air pollution related deaths and diseases by 2030. A new World Health Organisation (WHO) air quality model confirms that 92% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits. 3 million deaths globally are attributable to ambient air pollution and 4.3 million deaths are attributable to household air pollution.
This mortality is due to exposure to small particulate matter of 10 microns or less in diameter (PM10), which cause cardiovascular and respiratory disease, and cancers.
These estimates are not only based on progressing knowledge about the diseases caused by air pollution, but also upon better assessment of human exposure to air pollutants through the use of improved measurements and technology. This has enabled scientists to make a more detailed analysis of health risks from a wider demographic spread that now includes rural as well as urban areas.
Looking Forward with Research
The demand for more detailed analytical research instrumentation as air pollution moves to the forefront of public enquiry has been addressed with ground-breaking new portable air particle sampling technology from British-based Ancon Technologies.
The Aero Select is a compact, light-weight device that can detect and sample particles across the entire aerosol range from 2nm to 20µm. Providing researchers and technicians with a portable device that delivers laboratory accuracy in detecting the size, structure, morphology and chemical composition of aerosol particles, the Aero Select facilitates the necessity to undertake previously inaccessible in-situ research.
“The Aero Select is a powerful tool for detecting the environmental impact or health risks associated with aerosol exposure,” said Wesley Baker, Commercial Director. “Our new product compresses advanced technology into an easy-to-operate device that gives users a number of options for measuring and monitoring aerosol levels. The possibilities for this technology are as widespread as they are fascinating.”
A Particulate Matter Problem
Particulate matter (PM) is known to affect more people than any other pollutant. The most health-damaging particles are those with a diameter of 10 microns or less which can penetrate and lodge deep inside the lungs. Chronic exposure to particles contributes to the risk of developing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as of lung cancer.
With growing concerns about the health impact of nanoparticle emissions, the Aero Select empowers accurate, timely and cost-effective control of diesel and other combustion processes, such as incineration, nuclear power generation and aircraft emissions.
Able to distinguish man-made particles against a background of naturally-occurring aerosols, the technology is accurate enough to detect target substances against background atmospheric aerosols by a factor of up to 20,000,000.
Ancon Technologies’ Aero Select follows up on its revolutionary Nanotechnology Molecular Tagging system, which can be programmed to detect specific molecular markers. The NMT technology, and its variants can be used to detect atmospheric levels of everything from chemicals used in explosives to the biological molecules that indicate disease.