Most of us may not sense it, but air pollution poses a potential health risk wherever we go. It is present when people smoke cigarettes, car exhaustions take long because of traffic, and even when you have a barbecue party at home.

Given this, air pollution is noted as one of the top 10 threats to our health linked with non-communicable diseases. It contributes to:

  • cardiac diseases
  • respiratory diseases
  • neurobehavioral problems.

Also, it becomes difficult for us to measure air pollutants, though many have already attempted, including scientists who strategically placed expensive air monitors in different locations.

These devices sound convenient, but it has its limitations. So, an assistant professor from Yale School of Public Health, Krystal Pollitt, introduced the Fresh Air Wristband, a new air pollution sampler that is wearable, lightweight, and unobtrusive.

Testing the New Fresh Air Wristband Specifications

This Fresh Air Wristband resembles a stylish wristwatch; however, they placed a plastic air sampler on the watch’s face. Inside the cover is a triethanolamine-coated mini small foam pad that reacts with an air pollutant called nitrogen oxide.

It also contains a small silicone-based polymer sorbent bar, which collects volatile organic chemicals and polycyclic aroma hydrocarbons (PAHs).

Both of these allow the wristband to capture heavier compounds and storing them over several days, which made it easy to analyze and monitor large samples of the population.

Though it is initially meant for air pollutant detection, Pollitt is working with a team of experts and health care providers from a hospital at Yale to conduct a field test for the wristband’s possible detection of the Coronavirus.

Pollitt’s Research and Findings in Springfield

In Pollitt’s Springfield study, along with a team of YSPH graduate students, they utilized the wristband to research on school-aged children’s exposure to air pollutants.

Thirty-three 12- and 13-year-olds, including those with asthma and 69% of which are girls, wore the Fresh Air Wristband for five days, and only took them off as they sleep at night.

Given this, some of their findings include:

  • Girls are more exposed to air pollutants than boys.
  • Children with asthma are highly exposed to pyrene and acenapthylene, which worsens their breathing.
  • Children with gas stoves are more exposed than those with electric stoves.

Pollitt's Research and Findings in Springfield - THESIS.PH

The Environmental Science & Technology Letters journal recently published the study to show the wristbands’ potential applications in evaluating more vulnerable populations’ exposure.

The team now introduced their research globally. Hundreds of Fresh Air Wristbands explore different demographics in many countries. Pollitt is filing for a patent at the moment, while students from her research group are starting to form a company to make the wristbands available for consumers.

The team became a finalist in an innovation and entrepreneurship competition at Yale, which inspired Pollitt to formulate more uses for the device. She noted that the Fresh Air Wristband could be of essential use in epidemiological studies. The new Fresh Air Wristband can also provide insight into our pollutant profiling and enlighten us about the health risks factors around us.

How do you plan to promote fashion and health consciousness in your thesis? Let me know in the comments.

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