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Showing results in How crackdown on pollution will hit owners of wood burners and open fires

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The Government’s updated Clean Air Strategy includes a move towards tougher regulation of particulate emissions from domestic wood burners and open stoves. Increasing in popularity over the last decade, solid fuel sources are thought to contribute 38% of the UK’s emissions of particulate matter.
However, awareness of the pollution problem caused by these sources is low compared to more well-known sources such as traffic. The most polluting fuels are due to be phased out, and stoves sold by 2022 must adhere to stricter emissions limits than many presently on the market. Advice to wood stove users aimed at reducing their emission of (and their own exposure to) PM by the consumer group Which? suggests….

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An optomechanical trap capable of controlling and measuring nanoparticles as small as 150 nm has been developed by researchers at the University of Vienna and Delft University of Technology.

Using a photonic crystal cavity made of silicon nitride on a silicon substrate, a silica particle can be trapped a few hundred nanometres above the crystal surface, within the interference between the 1064 nm wavelength laser beam used and its reflection from the crystal surface. The particle position is altered using a dichroic mirror in the beam path. Coupling between the particle displacement and phase fluctuations provides up to two orders of magnitude higher sensitivity per photon than more traditional ‘far-field’ methods for nanoparticle optical trapping thanks to low optical losses, the authors claim.

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Although particulate air pollution is linked with a number of adverse health outcomes, the impact on eye health is not currently well understood. Glaucoma, a disease caused by high intraocular pressure (IOP) and which can lead to vision loss and blindness if untreated, is often associated with factors such as age and genetic predisposition.

However, a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health has probed the link between IOP and black carbon (BC) concentrations in a cohort of older men, in order to investigate the environmental impact of particulate air pollution on the potential development of the disease.

Research

A new, portable device for identifying and quantifying airborne biological particles, constructed from parts costing around $200, has been developed by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Typical methods for determining the levels of bioaerosols such as pollens and fungal spores require sampling using filters or traps, then laboratory analysis, which is both expensive and time-consuming. The new device can quantify five common allergens, including three types of pollen (Bermuda grass, oak and ragweed) and two different mould spores (Aspergillus and Alternaria), with classification accuracy of 94% and much faster (on timescales of a few minutes) than traditional methods.

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Air pollution in Delhi, India is a huge problem for residents of the city, and impacts particularly on those working on the city’s busy roads.

Rickshaw drivers routinely work very long hours in an environment which can have PM2.5 levels above 20 times the World Health Organisation air quality guidelines, undertaking heavy-duty manual work while doing so, which increases volumetric breathing rate and puts extra burden on the lungs.

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Although reducing vehicle tailpipe exhaust emissions remains a high priority in improving air quality, non-tailpipe emissions, such as those from brake wear, are likely to form an increasing proportion of total particulate emissions from road traffic, and may have specific health impacts associated with them. Therefore technology to reduce these emissions will also be required into the future, alongside exhaust emission reduction methods.

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