World Champion Australian cyclist explores relationship between breathing clean air and wellbeing, using Dyson’s wearable air monitoring technology
Dyson today revealed a global project it has been undertaking around the world, working with six athletes to help educate them on their exposure to air pollution and its potential impact on wellbeing and performance.
Alex Knox, Vice President of Environmental Care at Dyson said:
“In line with improving public understanding of air pollution, we are continuing our research in air quality by extending this backpack project to athletes. Equipping these athletes with data about their air quality will empower them to take control of their pollution exposure. We are focused on meaningful action in terms of education and awareness and working with athletes as advocates can help us achieve that.”
Professor of Global Environmental Health, Sotiris Vardoulakis, at the Australian National University (ANU) Research School of Population Health, is a leading expert in air quality and indoor pollution added:
“We’re often exposed to many different types of both indoor and outdoor air pollution and the health effects of different pollutants can depend on the individual. Certain groups may be particularly sensitive to the effects of air pollutants, including people who exercise strenuously, as rapid breathing increases our intake of air, as well as young children, pregnant women, the elderly and one in nine Australians who suffer from respiratory health conditions such as asthma, hay fever or bronchitis.”
Dyson engineers analysed the findings from Annette’s time wearing the backpack by pairing the air sensor and GPS data with the diary entries she made to document her activities and observations. Whilst wearing the backpack, Annette cycled around Adelaide city and surrounds, visited a local furniture store, and also undertook activities at home, including cooking, cleaning and renovating.
- Annette cycles both indoors and outdoors as part of her training regime. When riding through heavy peak hour traffic in the centre of Adelaide, there were spikes in NO2 and PM2.5. This is unsurprising as these are pollutants commonly associated with vehicle emissions as well as brake and tyre wear.
- She completed the same trip outside of peak hour, which saw a steady decline in these pollutants, resulting in less exposure.
- After training, Annette refueled by cooking a stir fry at home, resulting in an increase in both NO2 and VOC levels. The NO2 may have been a result of cooking using a gas stove, with minimal ventilation, while the VOC increase was likely a result of using cleaning products after.
- Annette also used the backpack whilst painting her home, and shopping for new furniture - in fact, a trip to a local flat pack store saw a significant spike in both PM2.5 and VOCs. This could have been attributed to formaldehyde, which is a common VOC found in paints, wood and furniture.