Study finds worrying levels of indoor CO2 in Bromley

PUBLISHED: 13:11 01 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:11 01 February 2018

Professor Colbeck recommends using an air purifier. Picture: Tim Young

Professor Colbeck recommends using an air purifier. Picture: Tim Young


A study by Dyson has found that there are alarming indoor levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) across the capital, including in Bromley.

London’s dangerous levels of air pollution are consistently being acknowledged, but the study found that indoor air pollution in London might be a much bigger worry.

Currys PC World and Dyson worked alongside Professor Ian Colbeck from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Essex to better understand the extent of indoor air pollution in London.

The study participants were four volunteers who used air quality monitors to measure the CO2 levels in places they visit daily.

Carbon dioxide is naturally present in the air at around 400 parts per million (ppm), however, all four participants consistently measured above this during the experiment, with the highest CO2 reading of 2,284 ppm recorded inside a packed train at Baker Street station.

Cecile, a mother and teacher who was staying at her home in Bromley during the school holidays, recorded 1,172 ppm at home - the highest at-home reading found throughout the study.

Surprisingly, the amounts of CO2 were much closer to normal when she was outside at Bromley town centre and train station.

Exposure to high levels of indoor air pollution can lead to health problems including asthma, respiratory irritation, heart disease, cancer and sick building syndrome.

Professor Colbeck said: “Lack of ventilation will result in CO2 increases.

“Levels will vary throughout the day as people come and go, and windows are open and shut.”

Professor Colbeck warns that CO2 levels between 1000-2000 ppm can cause drowsiness, while levels above that are even more worrying, and can cause headaches, sleepiness, poor concentration, nausea and increased heart rate.

Professor Colbeck has listed his top tips for reducing indoor air pollution at home, which include: smoking outside, away from open doors/windows; choosing hard-surface flooring; not keeping shoes inside; using an extractor fan; preventing condensation by increasing ventilation; limiting exposure to volatile organic compounds by using products based on natural ingredients; keeping house plants such as English ivy and baboo palm and using an air purifier.

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