Researchers find a way to make air pollution harmless using graphene composite

SMOG - NARA - 542581
Credit Wikimedia Commons

A team of researchers has  found a way to render smog that causes air pollution harmless,  using a coated graphene composite

The implications for human health could mean fewer incidences of childhood respiratory diseases, heart problems and so much more

Pollution that comes from industry and motor vehicle exhaust fumes have been a growing problem and concern of the World Health Organization. 

Health experts have repeatedly warned lawmakers about the adverse effects of nanoparticles in the air that, if left unchecked, will continue to contribute to rising health costs and human suffering.’

According to the WHO, one out of every nine deaths have been linked to air pollution from nanoparticles. 

Air pollution  harms the body in ways that have been uncovered over the past decades. 

Lack of clean air in inner cities, underdeveloped countries and near freeways remains a concern, though some progress has been made thanks to government regulations; some of which have been rolled back, much to the chagrin of the public health sector. 
What scientists are doing

The Graphene Flagship team, in conjunction with Italcementi, HeidelbergCement Group, Italy, have produced a new graphene-titania composite that when exposed to sunlight removes nitric oxides from the air. 

The coating on the titania that is newly developed “depollutes” the air.

The graphene composite can be applied to concrete or building walls. The  byproducts are environmentally friendly and wash away with rain or cleaning.

Xinliang Feng, Graphene Flagship Work Package Leader for Functional Foams and Coatings, explained in a press release:  “Photocatalysis in a cementitious matrix, applied to buildings, could have a large effect to decrease air pollution by reducing NOx and enabling self-cleaning of the surfaces – the so-called “smog-eating” effect.”

NOx is a volatile compound found in VOCs or volatile organic compounds in particulate air matter that can enter the lungs leading to cardiovascular and respiratory problems.

The only thing needed is sunshine - and industries willing to make a somewhat pricey  investment to help keep people healthier.