AirTEXT: sign up for pollution alerts on your commute

Find out how air quality could affect your health while exercising outdoors

by Sarah Barth   July 24, 2012  

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If you've ever wondered about the air you breathe while cycling in London, or thought about wearing one of those anti-pollution masks, you might be interested in finding out about the pollution levels in your area.

Sign up for free to twitter messages and SMS alerts from AirTEXT, telling you the daily air quality index for the UK. The index represents air pollution using a 1-10 scale divided into four bands: LOW (1, 2, 3), MODERATE (4, 5, 6), HIGH (7, 8, 9), VERY HIGH (10).

Levels 1-6 are considered perfectly safe, but at higher levels those who suffer adverse effects should consider reducing their outdoor activity.

It's particularly important for the elderly, and those with heart and lung problems, as well as asthma sufferers.

The alerts also include temperature, UV ray and pollen information, to make sure you're prepared for your journey.

The site also links to longer-term studies on the effects of air pollution, which make sobering reading.

Air pollution is made up of numerous different pollutants, some of which have known harmful effects on the human body.

The pollution from diesel engines is of particular concern as the small particulates or ultra fine particles which tend to be emitted by diesel engines, can be inhaled further down into the lungs than the larger particles.

In people with existing respiratory disease this can cause significant airway irritation and breathing difficulties.

Some researchers believe that panting cyclists breathe deeper than other city inhabitants, drawing in more harmful pollutants into their lungs with every breath.

But knowledge, as they say, is power, and AirTEXT promises to be a tool that might influence your decision to choose a less congested route, or wear a mask on days when pollution is at its highest.

1 user comments

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When I gave up smoking I did Carbon monoxide tests. The idea was it would be and indicator of your lungs getting better. My initial reading came out lower than a non smoker. The doc thought this might be due to me expelling more air from my lungs due to daily riding. I don't know if this would be the same for heavy airborne particles.

posted by musicalmarc [53 posts]
24th July 2012 - 22:37

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