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Douglas Booker

Research Student

Douglas Booker

Lancaster University

LEC Building

LA1 4YQ

Lancaster

Tel: +44 7540 693581

Research overview

Environmental Justice research on air pollution has traditionally focused on demonstrating the extent to which air pollution is equally—or unequally—distributed across particular defined social groups. A socioeconomic group of particular importance are children, as they are especially susceptible to air pollution. More than just exhibiting negative health consequences, exposure to air pollution has also been associated with poor academic performance.

Research has largely focused on outdoor air pollution, however, the conclusions drawn have a methodological myopia: the research assumes that outdoor air pollution is an accurate indicator of personal exposure. Yet, on average, people spend more than 90% of their time indoors, where levels can be 2-5 times more polluted than outdoors. The combination of both the length of time spent inside, and the potential for higher concentrations means that personal exposure is greater indoors rather than outdoors. Therefore, the current exposure-based assessments are not reflecting “real-world” patterns of exposure.

Schools are perhaps the most investigated indoor environment, however, this does not take into account all of the relevant indoor environments. An indoor environment of particular concern is school buses, where around one hour of this indoor exposure is spent per day. This is referred to as Vehicle Interior Air Quality (VIAQ). This exposure is important to understand given the immediate proximity to significant pollutant sources (other vehicles), plus, in urban areas, high outdoor concentrations compared to other micro-environments. This combination of vulnerable population (children), plus environments of high exposure (at school and in-vehicle) represents a double jeopardy that requires more investigation. However, to understand indoor air quality one must rely on the principle that the indoor atmosphere is an extension of the outdoor atmosphere: to understand environmental justice, one must have a holistic understanding of air pollution, indoors and outdoors.

The aim of the research is to develop new understandings of patterns of exposure to poor air quality for school children. This will involve simultaneously monitoring multiple pollutants inside and outside a range of different places and indoor environments (schools and school buses) and with a fine temporal resolution. This will permit a holistic and more complex understanding of patterns of exposure for school children to be developed, including in terms of its implications for vulnerability and distributive justice.

Current Teaching

I deliver the LEC 101 lecture on environmental justice and air quality.

This lecture examines who, in social and geographical terms, lives with the consequences of air pollution. Is bad air quality distributed equally according to differences in income, ethnicity, or age? Or does pollution follow some in society more than others? 

 

Business and Enterprise

Co-Founder and CEO of NAQTS Ltd.

National Air Quality Testing Services Ltd (NAQTS) is a social enterprise that is passionate about improving the quality of life. We seek to improve awareness of indoor air quality through widespread public and commercial monitoring using our holistic, high-quality, air pollution monitoring technology.
 
Our technology incorporates the latest developments in low-cost sensor technologies, alongside a regulatory grade Condensation Particle Counter, Thermal Desorption tubes, and other environmental measurements, the NAQTS V2000 is a portable air quality monitoring station designed to be easy-to-use for high-volume, lower-cost air quality measurements.

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