Innovation That Matters

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Public health print ad used in homes to test ventilation

Health & Wellbeing

A print advert includes instructions for testing the efficacy of home ventilation units to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

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Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, making it a silent killer. In Poland, more than 100 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning. Additionally, nearly two thousand become seriously ill. Appropriate and fully functioning building ventilation prevents such deaths. A new public health and safety campaign teaches citizens how to check that. The Polish National Fire Department worked with a consortium of retailers to create a low tech awareness-raising campaign. Pepco, Lewiatan and Złote Tarasy contacted 28 million households with the information flyer that was included in the retailers’ advertising. Advertising company Grey Group Poland designed the leaflet. As well as containing information about carbon monoxide poisoning, the leaflet itself was also the test device.

Citizens place the ad over the vents in their home. If the paper stuck to the vent, the airflow was sufficient. Carbon monoxide poisoning should not occur. If, however, the paper did not stick to the vent, the ventilation system is not working correctly. In that case, citizens must call for help.

As wonderful and innovative as technology is, sometimes it is very simple solutions that best solve a problem. With most Thai food cooked in generous portions of oil, the Thai Health Promotion Foundation is trying a new approach to healthy eating. A reusable, washable plate soaks up 30 calories at every meal. For gardeners, an ancient irrigation technique waters plants for up to a month. An Egyptian company makes tiny handmade clay pots that use gravity to release the water. They can also be connected to create a larger irrigation system. How else could old techniques provide new, simple solutions to complex, modern problems?



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