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AEA has launched a new app for the iPhone to help people with heart, lung and other breathing conditions aggravated by air pollution. The free app provides local, real time and forecast air quality information, and related health advice, to help users reduce their exposure to air pollution and its harmful effects.
The launch of the app, uBreathe, coincides with this year’s 5th November Bonfire celebrations, where bonfires and firework displays have resulted in increased levels of air pollution in our towns and cities once again.
Commenting on the app’s launch AEA’s Paul Willis said:
‘During this year’s celebrations we’ve again seen an increase in the tiny smoke particles, PM2.5, that are the real concern for health. Fortunately, the weather has been kind to most of us, with increased pollution levels isolated to regions mainly in the north of England. In previous years, where the weather has been cold and still across the whole country, we have seen widespread increases in concentrations of PM2.5 particles by as much as ten times.’
Levels of PM2.5 air pollution spiked this weekend with the lighting of bonfires and fireworks
While the weather helped limit the health impact of Bonfire Night this year, several regions in England did see a significant increase in air pollution, including: Teesside, Sunderland, York, Leeds, Sheffield, Wigan and Birmingham.
The risk to health from increased air pollution is not limited to Guy Fawkes Night as the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) reported that PM particles were estimated to have caused a loss of 340,000 years of life over the calendar year 2008. This loss of life is in effect equivalent to 29,000 deaths.
Paul Willis continued:
‘Guy Fawkes Night is actually the one night in the year that people affected by air pollution can pretty much expect to be faced with elevated pollution levels, and they can therefore manage their medication and behaviour proactively. It’s the other 364 days that are less predictable, and where uBreathe will help.’
Using air quality data from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Daily Air Quality Index the uBreathe app displays air pollution levels using a colour coded map. Using GPS, it also shows users their current and forecast local air pollution and provides related health advice to help them take the right action.
Find out more about uBreathe and download it for free from the App Store here