World Environment Day 2023

SynAir-G’s approach to Indoor Air Quality


The 5th of June is World Environment Day (WED). Led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), World Environment Day is the largest global event for environmental public outreach. On this day millions of people across the world join efforts to raise awareness on the environmental challenges and advocate to protect and restore the Earth.

The SynAir-G project aims to reveal and quantify synergistic interactions between different pollutants affecting health, from mechanisms to real life, focusing on the school setting. Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is highly susceptible to air pollutants, particularly the ones detected in schools.

It is important to know more about air pollutants, their sources, and their impact on children’s health. For instance, on average 8-year-old pupils spend around 1,000 hours per year at school and breathe 900 litres of air per hour. They also tend to breathe 30% more times more per minute than average adults, which implies a much frequent intake of air, and subsequently, at major risk of questionable air quality.

According to World Health Organisation, air pollution is defined as “contamination of the indoor or outdoor environment by any chemical, physical or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere”.

Indoor air pollutants have both indoor and outdoor origins. For instance, in a school setting, some indoor pollutants can be chalking dust created by their use on the blackboard, or a wall freshly painted. On the other hand, examples of outdoor air pollutants are more mainstream and can be visualised as the pollution caused by vehicles passing nearby the school, a school garden or a public street full of white poplar trees that produce high quantities of fluff.

Among the conditions exacerbated by air pollution there are allergies, asthma, atopic eczema, together with rhino conjunctivitis. Moreover, research studies have linked indoor air pollution in schools with a decrease in learning performance and academic execution of the children affected by it. One of SynAir-G’s objectives is to study the connection between the dynamics of indoor air pollutants (sources, routes of exposure, dispersion), including interactions between indoor and outdoor spaces.

In detail, SynAir-G plans to use an ample range of sensors that can accurately and concurrently survey the vast assortment of chemical and biological pollutants. In parallel, the project will continue to obtain and detail the relevant health outcomes, considering the appropriate population collecting in real-life settings (in schools in 5 different countries) and covering multiple socioeconomic backgrounds in Europe. If needed, this data will combine in a multi-sensing platform.

Therefore, SynAir-G expects to build robust scientific evidence about synergies between air pollutants and allergens in indoor spaces, and boost interest and highlight the relevance of research on indoor air quality and allergens in public spaces. Simultaneously, it foresees to implement of informed and preventative European policies addressing air quality in schools; and setting up clear guidelines on how to create cleaner indoor spaces in schools. SynAir-G ultimately envisages, with its work, to increase awareness of the impact of indoor quality on education and reduce the risk of exacerbations in schools for students living with asthma and allergy.

SynAir-G will develop & execute an effective dissemination/communication strategy focused on visionary scientific research, to impact the lives of EU citizens and try to turn the future into reality with active involvement of all partners.



  1. Annesi-Maesano, I., Hulin, M., Lavaud, F., Raherison, C., Kopferschmitt, C., de Blay, F., André Charpin, D., Denis, C., 2012. Poor air quality in classrooms related to asthma and rhinitis in primary schoolchildren of the French 6 Cities Study. Thorax 67 (8), 682–688.
  2. Baloch, R. M., Maesano, C. N., Christoffersen, J., Banerjee, S., Gabriel, M., Csobod, É., … Szuppinger, P. (2020). Indoor air pollution, physical and comfort parameters related to schoolchildren’s health: Data from the European SINPHONIE study. Science of The Total Environment, 139870.
  3. Daisey, J.M., Angell, W.J., Apte, M.G., 2003. Indoor air quality, ventilation and health symptoms in schools: an analysis of existing information. Indoor Air 13 (1), 53–64.
  4. European Commission, European Education and Culture Executive Agency, De Lel, G. (2021). The organisation of school time in Europe – Primary and general secondary education: 2021/22, Publications Office of the European Union, page 3.
  5. com, 15 November 2022, What Is a Normal Respiratory Rate for Adults and Children?,
  6. Hibbert, M. E., Couriel, J. M., & Landau, L. I. (1984). Changes in lung, airway, and chest wall function in boys and girls between 8 and 12 yr. Journal of applied physiology: respiratory, environmental and exercise physiology, 57(2), 304–308.
  7. Hulin, M., Simoni, M., Viegi, G., Annesi-Maesano, I., 2012. Respiratory health and indoor air pollutants based on quantitative exposure assessments. Respir. J. 40 (4), 1033–1045.
  8. Ramachandran, G., Adgate, J.L., Banerjee, S., Church, T.R., Jones, D., Fredrickson, A., Sexton, K., 2005. Indoor air quality in two urban elementary schools—measurements of airborne fungi, carpet allergens, CO2, temperature, and relative humidity. J. Occup. Environ. Hyg. 2 (11), 553–566.
  9. Siskos, P.A., Bouba, K.E., Stroubou, A.P., 2001. Determination of selected pollutants and measurement of physical parameters for the evaluation of indoor air quality in school buildings in Athens, Greece. Indoor Built Environ. 10 (3–4), 185–192.
  10. World Health Organisation (2023) Air Pollution,