Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Protecting the workforce against air pollution

Monitoring personal exposure to dangerous levels of air particles just became easier as engineers in Israel designed and patented a unique badge offering flexibility and fast results at minimal cost.
Protecting the workforce against air pollution
Air pollution is a grave environmental problem in the twenty-first century. Recently, the spotlight has shifted from pollutant gases, like nitrogen oxides and ozone, to airborne particles. The smaller particles penetrate the lungs where they cause cellular damage, increasing the risk of mortality. The European Union has responded by defining European-wide air quality standards for the allowable levels of particulates in the ambient air.

Now that the standards have been set, the focus is on monitoring the population's exposure to particulate matter and identifying exceedances of the thresholds. Until now this was not possible, but thanks to researchers in Israel an inexpensive solution now exists.

The Israelis modified radiation badge technology to create a personal badge capable of monitoring exposure to a number of chemical pollutants, including particles. The badge is the size of a business card and the need for additional equipment, such as pumps, has been eliminated, decreasing weight while increasing user-friendliness. Chemical analysis has also been streamlined with optical reader technology ensuring fast, semi-automated analysis.

With respect to economics, the costs of the sampling equipment (i.e. the badge) and the analysis equipment are orders of magnitude lower than current market offerings. In fact, the estimated cost of the badge is just one dollar. Furthermore, the badge can be customised to monitor a wide variety of chemical compounds, ensuring applicability in a number of different industrial environments.

The Israeli researchers have acquired a patent for their new technology and wish to develop partnerships for the commercial exploitation.
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