I have teamed up with a great product designer Nathan Hassanali in our effort to offer clean air to the commuters that need to move around the cities where combustion engine vehicles are unfortunately still a priority over sustainable alternative methods.
The Problem – Air Pollution
One of the biggest challenges of the 21st century will be to mitigate the negative effects of transport – greenhouse gases, air pollution, and noise – while ensuring positive aspects of mobility. Meanwhile what can dwellers do to protect themselves from the toxic air that is present in the streets all around the world?
Although air pollution has decreased over the last two decades, it is still a major problem in many areas. ‘EURO standards’ for vehicles have not succeeded in reducing Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) emissions and “defected” vehicles (aka Dieslegate) still circulate without meeting the levels set out in the legislation. Recently, the World Health Organization updated the Air Quality Guidelines (2021 AQGs) which sets the bar for human health high because according to new methods for evidence synthesis and guideline development they found proof of health effects occurring at lower levels than previously understood.
Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) is one of a group of highly reactive gases known as oxides of nitrogen or nitrogen oxides (NOx). NO2 primarily gets in the air from the combustion of fuel. NO2 forms from emissions from combustion cars, trucks and buses, power plants, and off-road equipment.
Breathing air with a high concentration of NO2 can irritate airways in the human respiratory system. Such exposures over short periods can aggravate respiratory diseases, particularly asthma, leading to respiratory symptoms (such as coughing, wheezing or difficulty breathing), hospital admissions, and visits to emergency rooms. People living near busy roads across Europe are still particularly exposed to excessive air pollution levels. Harmful NO2 levels above legal limits were registered at 44% of roadside air monitoring stations in 2010.
Particulate matter (PM) is another common pollutant present in the streets. PM is emitted directly from a source, such as combustion engine vehicles, smokestacks or wood-stoves, and wildfires. Fine particulate matter aka PM2.5 contains microscopic solids particles that are so small that they can be inhaled and cause serious health problems. Some particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter can get deep into your lungs and some may even get into your bloodstream.
Motor vehicles are a significant source of urban air pollution. Adverse effects on health due to proximity to roads were observed in many scientific studies. Elevated health risks associated with living in close proximity to roads is explained by PM2.5, carbon monoxide, NO2, black carbon, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and some metals are elevated near roads.
Existing Solutions & Competition
Solutions are very limited for those that want to breathe clean air while cycling, walking or even commuting with electric scooters. Face masks offer a level of protection when it comes to particulate matter but there is no protection when it comes to gases like the notorious toxic NO2. Moreover, they are uncomfortable, especially during warm weather, and they don’t last long. A face mask touches the face of the commuter and sometimes gas pollutants irritate the skin to a greater extent because they are diluted in the moisture of the skin or sweat. Eyes are also vulnerable to gases and particulate pollution because face masks offer zero protection.
In the past, only a couple of companies have tried to build a helmet that will protect motor-bikers, but they have failed for various of reasons, one of which is that they didn’t understand the problem of air pollution in order to support their product. As you read this article there is zero competition.
We are very ambitious and we don’t want to create one solution but two: A bicycle/scooter helmet and a motorcycle helmet as there are different safety standards that they have to meet plus we believe that we have to offer this solution to a broad spectrum of commuters in order to succeed.
If you are an investor or a helmet manufacturer that would like to learn more about our project please feel free to contact us as we will be happy to share with you more information and discuss further the possibility of a collaboration for the development of the Breathe Helmet.