Do you know what you breathe in? A trial starting today monitors exposure to air pollution – volunteers will get important information about the health effects of their environment

15.3.2021 Press release

HELSINKI 15.3.2021 In the Tiedä mitä hengität trial, volunteers living in the Capital Region of Finland use a smartphone application to monitor how exposure to air pollution impacts how they feel. The trial aims to find ways to utilize air quality data for better wellbeing of citizens. Volunteer enrollment starts on Monday 15th March.

The trial is organized by Helsinki City innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki and healthtech company KAMU Health Oy. It’s a part of the UIA HOPE air quality project. In the Tiedä mitä hengität (‘Know what’s in the air you breathe’) trial, the goal is to find out how monitoring air quality information and being aware of personal exposure to different air quality affects the citizens’ understanding on the connection between air quality and how one feels.

The volunteers will monitor air quality infromation and exposure as well as their feelings on KAMU’s smartphone application. The app comes with a local weather and air quality forecast where the user can see the amount of different air pollutants in their location. The overall feeling of the day is reported in the app daily with a simple smiley face survey. The KAMU app also estimates the user’s personal exposure to different air quality with hyperlocal air quality data and the user’s location.

– The AI detects how fast the user is moving and decides whether they are most likely stationary (indoors), moving by foot or by bicycle or sitting in a vehicle. The user then sees a summary of their air quality exposure in the app, showing how different types of movement have exposed them to different quality air, explains KAMU’s co-founder, Chief Product Officer Seppo Salorinne.

Global warming makes air quality forecasts increasingly more important health information

Air quality has a significant impact on health and wellbeing: impurities in the air can for example make the symptoms of chronic respiratory conditions worse, but exposure to them also increases the risk of developing new disease. Global warming and urbanization lead to increased amounts and exposure to air pollution, which is why air quality forecasts are becoming more and more important health information.

– Compared to many other countries, we don’t have that much air pollution in Finland. But road dust, for example, causes work absenteeism during springtime even in our country, says KAMU Health’s advisor, clinical physiology specialist Harri Lindholm. – Monitoring air quality information is an easy way to take care of your health. You can, for example, use it to plan outdoor activities for times and routes with better air quality. And a face mask that filters small particles helps to not only prevent diseases like the coronavirus spreading, but also the adverse health effects of air quality.

Trials make air quality information visible for citizens

Volunteer enrollment for the Tiedä mitä hengität trial starts on March 15th. Anyone living in the Capital Region can join the trial, as long as they have a smartphone to use. There are no age limits and taking part is free of charge. For the volunteer, the trial offers valuable information about environmental factors affecting health. The trial ends on May 15th and until then, the trial can be joined at any time. Further information and instructions for enrollment will be published in the Facebook event of the trial.

– The trial offers citizens an easy way to take part in monitoring air quality and understanding its effects for their health. The app also allows a new and interesting way to bring air quality information visible for the citizens. The volunteers will also be asked for feedback after the trial, says project manager Ville Nousiainen from Forum Virium Helsinki.

Behind the trial is a contest arranged by Forum Virium Helsinki, for finding innovations to test in real-world environments.

– Tiedä mitä hengität is one of the four trials chosen for this year, aiming to improve the intelligibility and usability of air quality information and to find new digital solutions for improving air quality related actions. KAMU Health offered an excellent solution for the contest challenges, and we can’t wait to see the results and impact of this trial, says Nousiainen.

Contact persons:

Seppo Salorinne, KAMU Health Oy

Ville Nousiainen, Forum Virium Helsinki

KAMU Health Ltd develops and markets digital therapeutics for respiratory-illness care. Through technology, KAMU provides users and their healthcare providers with better data to support treatment while empowering users to take a proactive role in managing their conditions. All KAMU’s services are founded on the latest evidence-based medicine and comply with local medical regulations in the US and Europe. Read more: www.kamuhealth.com.