CURRENT AIR POLLUTION SITUATION
We spend up to 90% of our time indoors. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the air inside is two to five times more polluted than outside. It reports that, in 2014, approximately 92% of the world’s population lived in places where the WHO’s pollution level targets were not met.
We inhale 12,000 litres of air every day, that is approximately 15 kg – far more than our intake of food or water. The air we breathe directly influences our wellbeing and health.
Unfortunately, more and more people are suffering from allergies and heart and respiratory diseases caused by air pollution. Today, 20% of the world’s population already suffers from allergic diseases, and the trend is growing. Smog alerts (Summer and Winter smog) are being reported in an increasing number of cities, and the legal limits of particulate pollution are increasingly exceeded.
AIR POLLUTION INDOORS
There are various impurities in the air indoors, which basically fall into one of two categories: particulate and gaseous pollution. Below is a list of possible indoor air impurities:
• Bad odours (cooking, wet clothes and shoes, pets, etc.)
• Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
• House dust mites and their faeces
• Smoke and tobacco
• Bacteria and viruses
• Pet hair
• Mould and mould spores
• Cleaning supplies (floor cleaners, household cleaners of all kinds)
• Furniture and household textiles
• Air freshener sprays
• Adhesives and paints
• Paint strippers
• Body care products
• Printed materials
• Electronic devices
• Candles and incense sticks
• Combustion of fuels for cooking and heating
• Furniture and building materials
• High humidity and lack of ventilation
AIR QUALITY AND ALLERGIES
People with allergies often suffer from poor air quality, typical allergy symptoms are: an itchy and congested nose, urge to sneeze, watery eyes, scratchy and swollen throat, coughing and wheezing, tightness in the chest, hives, rashes, and asthma attacks. An air purifier can help allergy sufferers to breathe easily and sleep deeply and restfully, free from symptoms. Allergies can occur for a variety of reasons. Typical allergies which are related to air quality are pollen allergy, house dust mite allergy and asthma
VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS (VOCS)
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are organic substances that occur in gaseous form in the air. Typical sources of VOCs indoors are bacteria and mould, plastics, building materials, furniture and carpets, as well as cleaning products, and the waste products of smoking. VOCs can trigger a range of symptoms in humans such as headaches, tiredness, sleep disorders, irritation of the respiratory tract, and hypersensitivity reactions. Their symptoms are also summarized under the term “sick building syndrome”. Air purifiers can filter these VOCs out of the air. Alongside the use of an air purifier, it is recommended that you determine and eradicate the source of the pollutant.
DIFFERENT PARTICLE SIZES
Particulates come in a range of different sizes. Typically, their size is measured in micrometers (μm). One micrometer or micron is one millionth of a meter, i.e. 0.0001 millimeters. The expression “PM” is usually used to define particle size. PM stands for “particulate matter” and is based on the U.S. standard for particulate matter. Imagining particle sizes is not very easy. They are divided into the following rough categories.
Large particles: PM 10 = Dust, pollen, mould spores
Medium particles: PM 2.5 = Fine dust, large spores, and other organic contaminant particles
Small particles: PM 1.0 and smaller = Very fine dust, combustion particles, nanoparticles, bacteria, viruses, and small spores.
PURCHASING AN AIR PURIFIER
Here some important points to consider when buying an air purifier.
Room size for air purifiers (CADR and m2)
CADR stands for “Clean Air Delivery Rate”, which helps when comparing air purifiers. The CADR is measured by a laboratory. The recommended room size for an air purifier can be derived from the CADR.
The more frequently the air in a room is circulated per hour, the cleaner the air becomes. For normal air pollution levels, it is enough for the air in a room to circulate three times (the room’s entire air volume must circulate through the air purifier three times). For allergy sufferers, we recommend that the air volume circulated five times. The higher the speed setting the air purifier is set to, the more air is circulated per hour. Generally, we recommend running the air purifier continuously instead of just intermittently so that the air in the room is constantly being circulated and cleaned.