Good air quality for better health

Air pollution is still a major cause of illness and death. According to the Health Council of the Netherlands, exposure to particulate matter alone is responsible for approximately 4% of the burden of disease in the Netherlands. Some people are also exposed to loud noises or substances of very high concern during their work. In addition, there are relatively unknown risks, such as airborne microplastics.

Would you like to know more about TNO’s air quality research?

Take a look at the examples on this page or contact Fred Hartendorf directly.

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TNO has various programmes in place in order to promote healthier air. We create, for example, real-time sound maps of the environment, which enable employees in industry to better protect themselves against excessive noise. Similar to this research is the Exposome Programme, in which we use sensors to measure what people are being exposed to – different types of particulate matter, ultrafine particles and gases, for instance. By measuring this in a more efficient way, it also becomes possible to take measures for a healthier environment.

Personal point-of-care testing

Benzene is also a hazardous substance. For this reason, we’re working on a personal point-of-care test for the chemical industry that enables employees to immediately see at the end of the day whether they still fall below the threshold limit value of benzene.

Particulate matter sensor

In addition, we’re working on sensors that provide insights into the composition and health impacts of particulate matter. We’re designing this technology to be applicable in a sensor that is small enough for every employee, cyclist, etc. to have on them. Using calculation models, we can immediately identify the source of the particulate matter. This also makes it possible to tackle this source and reduce the health impact.


More recently, there has been concern about microplastics in, for example, cosmetic products. We find these tiny plastic granules not only in water but also in the air. Although the use of plastics continues to rise, little is known about the risks to health. By researching their presence in the environment and the effect on people, TNO is helping to develop policy and ultimately a healthy environment.

Environment & Climate

Drs. ing. Fred Hartendorf

  • Sensors
  • Air quality
  • Environment
  • Health

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