Air Quality – Selected Resources

by Achim Haug

Here is a list of links to resources that we recommend to learn more about air quality in general and also in regards to schools.

The World Health Organisation has some good resources on air pollution including powerful infographics to explain various health impacts.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gives a good overview of the dangers of fine particles (PM 2.5).

The Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) of the University of Chicago calculates how much longer you would live if you would breathe healthy air. You can enter your location and see how much it affects your life.

The Air Quality Index Project (AQIcn) publishes hourly data of air quality in many cities around the world and also has historical data.

This Wikipedia article gives a good overview of how air quality indexes (AQIs) around the world are calculated.

Please be aware that PM 2.5 air pollution has two different units AQI and the more scientific μg/m3. These numbers are often close, so make sure you do not mix them up. An online converter can be helpful.

Joel writes on Medium about his research about CO2 impacts called “I’m living in a carbon bubble“. A very good introduction to the topic.

The Guardian recently ran a short article about the negative impacts of high CO2 levels which gives a good overview.

Harvard University carried out one of the most frequently quoted studies on CO2 and specific cognitive impacts in 2015 called Associations of Cognitive Function Scores with Carbon Dioxide, Ventilation, and Volatile Organic Compound Exposures in Office Workers.

Nature published a very scientific focused article on the cognitive impacts of elevated CO2 levels. Another article from Nature focuses on the same subject.

Air Quality in Schools

The EU funded the report Healthy Air, Healthier Children – 50 schools across the EU monitor air quality. It is a comprehensive document outlining the background and importance of healthy air in schools. It took a snapshot of indoor and outdoor air quality at 50 schools in six capitals in the EU.

The City of London together with the University of Cambridge looked at the indoor air quality in London’s schools. The study not only focused on PM2.5 and CO2 but took also other pollutants into consideration.