Office workers are slower and less focused in polluted air
Higher concentrations of fine particulate matter in the air and lower ventilation rates were linked to reduced accuracy in cognitive tests
The research included 300 office workers in six countries including the UK, in fields such as engineering, property investment, architecture and technology. It found that higher concentrations of fine particulate matter in the air and lower ventilation rates were associated with slower response times and reduced accuracy in cognitive tests.
The study looked at a type of pollution known as PM2.5, which consists of particles less than 2.5 micrometres long and is now understood to be particularly damaging to health. It also looked at levels of carbon dioxide, which increase in poorly ventilated spaces.