Pollution and our mobility in the city

Air pollution affects different urban populations: cyclists, pedestrians or motorists, we are all more or less exposed to it. It is the 3rd cause of death in France.

Pollution and our mobility in the city

How can we protect ourselves from this air pollution that affects us all?

Where does air pollution come from?

Air pollution is caused by various pollutants in the atmosphere. These pollutants can be of natural origin (pollutants emitted by vegetation, soil erosion, volcanoes or oceans) or of anthropogenic origin, i.e. produced by human activities. 

All sectors of human activity are likely to emit air pollutants: industry, transport and agriculture can be sources of pollution. 

Pollutants observed in the atmosphere can also come from physico-chemical reactions. These reactions, governed by meteorological conditions, most often occur between chemical components, i.e. primary pollutants and other constituents of the atmosphere. These include ozone, nitrogen oxides, VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), PM (particulate matter) and CO (carbon monoxide).

What are the consequences of pollution?

Everyone can easily imagine that pollution can be responsible for respiratory tract problems: asthma, nose or throat irritation, etc. But this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Most mortality is linked to cardiovascular problems. Once in the lungs, pollution molecules pass into the bloodstream and irritate the veins and arteries. Thus, pollution is responsible for about one third of strokes and one third of heart attacks. The World Health Organization (WHO) calls it the "invisible killer".

Subway users, the most exposed to pollution?

The confined space of the metro and the activity of the trains expose its passengers to a high dose of fine particles, 10 times higher than at the surface. In cars, the closed passenger compartment also stores polluted air, which is not renewed, so pollutants are very present. It may then be preferable to walk or ride a bike, but exposure remains high in cities.

A study has shown that people inhale less nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide with these gentle modes of transportation. However, caution should be exercised, taking into account the travel time and physical effort required. When it comes to biking, it is important to take it easy. Physical effort increases the respiratory rate and considerably worsens the effect of pollution. It is then necessary to find a solution to protect oneself from this air pollution.

But how to find an effective anti-pollution protection?

Simply wearing a cloth in front of the lower part of the face will not protect against fine particle pollution. The meshes are not tight enough to filter them. It is possible to protect oneself from pollution with urban anti-pollution masks. 

You must obviously choose your mask carefully. It is important to take into account several essential criteria:

- A good sealing, to avoid air leaks that make the mask ineffective.

- Choosing the right size for your face so that it doesn't look outdated.

- A high-performance filter that captures fine particles 

As demand has increased, the market has developed, so it is easier today to find masks adapted to the need. The masks have a more pleasant ergonomics for breathing comfort, ease of use and transport or a design that makes you want to be worn. Another thing to emphasize, especially in the winter season when night falls faster, is the wearing of a reflective mask. It can be very useful when traveling. With this in mind, Le Mask Français ® has launched its stratus - reflective trim range.

In addition to the efficiency of the filter and the design of the mask, it is also very important to take a mask that is perfectly adapted to your morphology, because the mask will only be effective if it fits the shape of the face perfectly.

Many masks only come in one size, which can cause a problem of air leakage, let alone efficiency. There is a new innovative thermoforming technique that allows the masks to fit perfectly to the face of the user. Simply heat the mask for a few seconds with a hair dryer and then apply it to the face with light pressure. The mask immediately takes the shape of the face and allows a perfect seal. This is the case of our Sirocco with this device.

Do not hesitate to adapt your itinerary to inhale as few fine particles as possible. Several studies have proven that using the facilities provided for cyclists, away from traffic, can reduce the rate of inhaled particles. A study conducted by Airparif, dating from 2009, shows that, on average, exposure to pollution is half as high for cyclists on a separate track as in car traffic and 30% lower in bus lanes.

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