Exhale

LEZ Schools Study which is funded under the EXHALE programme

Introduction


The London Low Emission Zone (LEZ) was introduced in February 2008 with the aim of improving London’s air quality by deterring the most polluting vehicles from driving within the Greater London area. The Environmental Research Group are currently undertaking a four-year study designed to assess the impact of the LEZ on the respiratory health of school children in East London. 

The study involves conducting health assessments in 8-9 year-old children at selected schools in Tower Hamlets and Hackney. The assessments include measurements of respiratory health, biomarkers of exposure to traffic-related air pollution, genetic susceptibility to the effects of air pollution, and systemic response to air pollution. 

The health data will be linked with modelled air quality data, provided by ERG's modelling team, to provide a comprehensive picture of the affect of traffic-related air pollution on children’s health, and the impact of the LEZ on this. 

As part of the study, we provide a morning of education for the Year 4 class at each school we visit, teaching them about the science and history of air pollution. This included a professional artist, Effie Coe, working with ERG to provide an art-based element to the teaching session. She has designed a number of art activities which aim to help the children understand air pollution. Effie is one of the artists working on a project called Invisible Dust – a collaboration between artists and scientists exploring air pollution, health and climate change, which is curated by Alice Sharp. 

Understanding air pollution is difficult due it being invisible and seems unconnected to the 20,000 breaths that we each take a day. Coe's input into the study has been to illuminate and visualise the effects of breathing and relate it directly to the lung physiology.

Effie Coe was selected to join EXHALE by Curator Alice Sharp and Professor Frank Kelly, Kings College and Chair of COMEAP, the independent Committee advising the UK Government on the Medical Effects of Air pollutants. 

She joined a team of scientists and doctors. EXHALE is an ongoing BRC funded research study on the effects of the London Low Emission Zone (LEZ) on children's lung health in Hackney and Tower Hamlets in East London. Coe's art activities support the science learning in the classroom on air pollution.

Videos


This video was made at one of the school visits and shows the health assessments, as well as some of the teaching activities in the classroom. 

Breath is a video animation created by artist Effie Coe. Coe has meticulously hand cut the shape of intricate ink breath drawings created by 7 and 8 year old pupils as part of art and science collaboration on air pollution between King's College London and Invisible Dust. 

© King's Environmental Research Group. All rights reserved 2016.