Daily Air Diet: Commuting around Paris with Dyson’s air quality backpack
To celebrate National Clean Air Day in France, we equipped wellbeing enthusiast and environmentalist Laury Thilleman with a Dyson air quality backpack during her daily commute through Paris.
Laury works in Paris and regularly commutes through the city by bike or skateboard. Using Dyson’s air quality backpack, a portable air sensing device which collects air pollution data on the move, we were able to capture data about her exposure to air pollution. Dyson engineers were able to identify pollution events and trends on her route.
Laury’s data results indicated high levels of NO2 throughout the commute, including sharp spikes which were likely caused by Laury passing areas with high traffic or moving through transport hubs. For example, as she passed the Gare du Nord, pollution levels peaked. Car emissions are a common source of NO2, so levels are likely to rise when travelling along busier roads. Laury’s exposure to NO2 was 58 per cent lower along the Canal de L’Ourcq à Villette, a green area where cars are less present, compared to the Gare de Nord. Transport hubs can result in increase in pollution due to more people and idle vehicles.
Although average overall levels of Volatile Organic Compounds on Laury’s commute were low, some notable spikes were detected throughout the journey. VOCs is a collective term for thousands of different chemicals. Possible sources of VOCs include chemical-based sprays like aerosols, cleaning products and air fresheners. Although more commonly associated with indoor sources of air pollution, VOCs may be found in higher concentrations in public spaces where there is greater footfall of people, including shops and train stations.
During this period, data was also collected from a Dyson Pure Hot+Cool Crypomic purifier in Laury’s living room. VOC levels increased in the morning which was possibly caused by the use of personal care products such as spray deodorant or hairspray as Laury got ready in the morning. Higher concentrations of PM2.5 were detected around midday, which might have been caused by cooking.
In response to these findings, Laury said:
“There are still things to improve, even if its simple things like ventilating your home or setting your purifier to Auto mode to capture pollutants such as dust, allergens and candle smoke.”
National Air Quality Day aims to raise awareness among the general public about the importance of good air quality. Laury is one of a group of individuals across the globe who are working with Dyson to raise awareness about air pollution in cities around the world through education, knowledge and empowerment.