Current Students and Staff

// University News

20 May 2015

Loughborough researcher to highlight threat of an ‘invisible killer’ as part of pioneering study on two wheels

A researcher at Loughborough University will become the first person on a motorcycle to measure pollution levels using mobile air sensors. 

Dr Christopher Crosby, Research Associate in the University’s School of Civil and Building Engineering, will ride 2,000km across Thailand from 28 May for two weeks as part of a pioneering project to map pollution levels and hotspots in real time using GPS and GoPro technology. He will visit a number of cities, industrial centres, rural areas, and tourist attractions along the route, including Bangkok, where there are high levels of air pollution. 

A number of different air sensors will be attached to both Dr Crosby and the motorcycle to determine concentrations of airborne particulate matter (PM) which pass through an engine’s air filter system or into people’s lungs on a daily basis. As Dr Crosby and the motorcycle pass through dirty air, the sophisticated laser analysers will detect these particles and record their mass per metre cubed. 

PM is an invisible killer causing up to three million deaths globally each year. PM, particularly from diesel combustion, can penetrate deep into the lungs causing cancer and other respiratory illnesses and conditions including asthma – with the UK currently among a number of cities worldwide which are unable to comply with EU legislation and are exceeding PM recommended levels. 

The expedition has been organised as part of Dr Crosby’s Every Breath Counts project, through which he aims to develop a novel monitoring and risk assessment toolkit. The aim of the project is to enable public and environmental health officials worldwide to better understand the risk and severity of exposure to PM, through monitoring regimes and risk profiles, improving people’s health in the process. 

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