CREAL: Researchers detect students are exposed to high levels of air pollution during trips to school

CREAL: Researchers detect students are exposed to high levels of air pollution during trips to school

News from CREAL

Using a new smartphone app and air pollution sensor researchers from the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) have found that levels of air pollution were more than twice as high during the journeys to school (2.8 microgram/m3) than at home (1.3 microgram/m3) and the levels at school were slightly higher than at home in the city of Barcelona.

Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, head of the program Air Pollution at CREAL, an allied ISGlobal research centre, and the lead author of the paper, says that "for the first time we used novel smartphone apps (now only used for research but in future can be downloaded for everyone) and sensor technology to measure positioning, physical activity and air pollution simultaneously in children and the results show that air pollution levels are quite variable during the day". He goes on to say that "when children are closer to cars during journeys to school their air pollution levels increase significantly. Also when they are at school during the day their air pollutions are higher than at home, probably because there are more cars around during the day."

Researchers conclude that an average children received 46% of their air pollution at home, 32% at school, 13% during their trips to school and 8% elsewhere. The study was done with 54 school children (aged 7-11) from 29 different schools around Barcelona.


Mark J Nieuwenhuijsen , David Donaire-Gonzalez , Ioar Rivas , Montserrat de Castro, Marta Cirach, Gerard Hoek, Edmund Seto, Michael Jerrett , Jordi Sunyer. Variability in and agreement between modelled and personal continously measured black carbon levels using novel smartphone and sensor technologies. EST Environ Sci Technol. 2015 Jan 26

Nieuwenhuijsen MJ, Donaire-Gonzalez D, Foraster M, Martinez D and Cisneros A. Using Personal Sensors to Assess the Exposome and Acute Health Effect. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014; 11: 7805-7819.

More information:

CREAL website