Why Do We Need Air Purifiers?
Most of us live in highly polluted areas where almost 80% of the urban population breathe in immensely contaminated air. An astounding 9 out of 10 people on earth are exposed to breathing polluted air and almost 80% of population have to breathe hazardous outdoor air, as revealed in a study by the World Health Organization. All this definitely affects our quality of living and shortens our lifespan to a significant degree. Though we might be unaware, indoor air pollution is just as terrible as outdoor air pollution. In the report named “The State of Global Air,” it was revealed that outdoor air pollution or exposure to PM 2.5 along with indoor air pollution together accounted for over 6 million deaths in 2016.
The term ‘PM’ refers to particulate matter. Particulate matter is a complex mixture of solids and liquid droplets. The particles of 2.5 micrometers in diameter can enter easily into the lungs due to their tiny size and cause serious threats like lung infections, respiratory illnesses, increases the risk of heart attack and has even been linked to diabetes and degenerative brain diseases.
While we cannot control the type of air we’re surrounded with, outside the comfort of our homes, we can at least try to purify the air indoors and protect the health of our family.
The need for air purifiers :
Air pollution is the highest environmental health risk and the fourth major cause that claims the most number of lives after high blood pressure, obesity, and tobacco usage. To quote stats, a report by the Health Effects Institute, a non-profit organisation showed that in 2016, India accounted for nearly 25% of all deaths related to air pollution, globally. India and China together accounted for 50% of all 106 million disability-adjusted life years, which is the number of healthy years lost in a person’s life due to air pollution.
We spend 90% of our lives indoors. This only underlines the significance of the need to install an air purifier in our home. An air purifier is a device that promotes our health and reduces the risks of contracting infections caused by germs and viruses in the surrounding air. Since it’s impractical as well as impossible to wear air masks at all times even inside our house, hence it is only wiser to opt for a purifier that automatically traps the dust and other contaminants while purifying the water of its impurities.
Sources of indoor pollution:
Biological contaminants: Biological contaminants are found everywhere in our nature. Including pet dander, dust mites, and sand bites. Many of the biological contaminants can easily be inhaled.
Carbon dioxide: Carbon dioxide is a colourless, odourless by-product of carbon combustion. Increased levels of carbon dioxide may lead to breathing difficulties and headaches.
Carbon monoxide: During the combustion process, carbon monoxide is produced due to the incomplete oxidation of carbon. High inhalation of CO might lead to symptoms like nausea, dizziness and headaches. Inhalation of excessively high carbon monoxide levels might lead to even death.
Dust: There are many sources of dust in our homes including fleecy surfaces, carpets, lead-based paint walls, the burning of any fuel like coal. Dust allergies are prevalent among a lot of people.
Environmental Tobacco Smoke : This kind of smoke is also called secondary smoke and is widely found across the home. Tobacco smoke contains a lot of smoke, droplets, vapour, and gases resulting from tobacco combustion.
Fine Particulate matter: PM 2.5 OR fine particulate matters include particles which are tinier than a human hair. These fine particulate matters include diesel exhaust or soot which is about 2.5 microns in size. The primary sources of PM 2.5 are diesel vehicles.
Lead: Young children are especially susceptible to harmful effects of lead like slow mental development, kidney problems and damage to the nervous system.
|Biological contaminants||Unvented bathrooms, cooling coils , humidifiers, draperies, carpets, bedding|
|Carbon dioxide||Exhaled air, exhaust from vehicles|
|Carbon monoxide||Improper vented furnaces, malfunctioning gas ranges|
|Dust||Exhaust fumes, soiled fumes, fleecy surfaces, pollen, lead and burning of fuel|
|Environmental Tobacco smoke||Cigarettes, Beedis|
|Fine Particulate Matter||Diesel engine combustion|
|Lead||Wall paint, water and air|
|Nitrogen oxides||Unvented combustion appliances|
Filtration technology in air purifiers:
Effective air purifiers mostly include the following kinds of filters-
Composite filter (Pre-Filter · HEPA · Active Carbon Filter): Technologically advanced air purifiers come with Composite filtration technology which is a combination of several purification measures. Some extremely efficient air purifiers can filter particles up to 0.3 microns in size. One such brand is Moonbow that offers air purifiers that can remove impure particles.
Pre-filter catches the hair, dander, and other large particle contamination. HEPA can help to remove PM 2.5 and efficient removal of the dust particle in 0.3 microns including pollen. Active Carbon can effectively remove various harmful gases, smoke, and formaldehyde, etc.
HEPA: HEPA filters are efficient in removing almost 99.97 % of pollutants from the air. HEPA filters were originally developed by the Atomic Energy Commission to catch the radioactive particles. HEPA filters allow the passage of only fine particles. Contaminants including animal dander, pollen, mold spores, and dust get trapped in the filter. HEPA filtration uses mechanical filtration technology that passes the air through a number of pleated filters that are known as high-efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA). A fan is used to pull the air through the HEPA filters.
Pre-filters: Large particles are removed prior to the main filtration process by this pre-filtration process. Pre-filtration is a feature that comes with all air purifiers.
Activated carbon filters: Activated carbon filters remove a whole spectrum of harmful gases as formaldehyde, toluene, and TVOCs. Activated carbon filters remove gas-based odours, thus making your home smell and feel fresh.
Ionization: Ionization is the process where negatively charged ions are produced and released into the air. Negative ions can replenish our health with a wide range of benefits. The release of ions helps to further purify the ar.
UV Sterilization : Ultraviolet rays are powerful agents with germicidal properties which makes them a popular candidate for use as a purifying tool. As soon as the air passes through the UV filter, the germs, bacteria and viruses are effectively removed from the air. Thus, you are provided with healthier indoor air.
Photocatalytic oxidation: The PCO mechanism helps to break down chemicals, odours and and smaller particles. These later turn into water vapour or carbon dioxide.
Benefits of Air purifiers:
Here are some of the most important benefits that an Air purifier provides you-
Cleaner air: The obvious benefit is that the air purifiers provide cleaner air that is free of contaminants. Thus, you enjoy the privilege of living in cleaner and healthier environment. The EPA explains that indoor air can be dirtier than outdoor air.
Prevents the spreading of germs : Air purifiers are a huge relief for someone if you’re a patient of asthma, respiratory conditions or allergies.HVAC air purification systems are often accused of facilitating the spread of germs and viruses of harmful diseases. This is where the air purifiers come can come in handy as they purify the air. Empowered with germicidal properties, these purifiers remove the germs from the air.
Removes all kinds of odours: You can refresh the air inside your home and remove all kinds of odour from the environment with the help of an air purifier. This is especially useful if you’re cooking dishes that leave behind a strong odour or when someone smokes a cigarette inside the room.
Safeguards against Seasonal Allergies: Some people suffer from seasonal allergies that might be aggravated due to a number of allergens such as pollens and molds present in the environment of their homes. Installation of air purifiers will help to achieve cleaner and safer homes.
Slower build up of dust: Dust build up is a common phenomenon in any place. However, with an air purifier around, you will be less likely to see the accumulation of dust on furniture, kitchen and all surfaces around the house.
Lesser issues with pets: It is highly likely that homes that have pets often are more susceptible to having a higher number of contaminants like pet dander, urine, pollens, and hair. These might invariably increase your risks of getting down with an allergic reaction, especially if you’re someone with a weak immune system.
Lesser burden on HVAC: The addition of air purifiers decreases the burden on HVAC systems and thus enhances their life cycles. As most of the contaminants are trapped by the air purifier, the HVAC system has to deal with a lot lesser stress.
What’s more precious to us than the health and well-being of our loved ones? It’s one thing that no one would ever want to compromise on. We breathe in about 13-14 kgs of air every day, meaning that we use up air more than what we eat or what we drink in a day. Indoor air is 2-5 times more polluted than the outdoor air and exposure to increased particles has been seen to correlate with higher levels of air morbidity. India has 11 of the 12 most polluted cities of the world. Hence, with the notorious levels of air pollution in our nation, it is perhaps the smartest decision to purchase an air purifier. However, keep in mind to check for HEPA filtration and consumer reviews before you bring home an air purifier. When it comes to giving yourself and your loved ones the gift of longer and healthier lives, it is always wiser to make a well-informed choice.
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