Understanding Indoor Air Pollution
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has declared indoor air quality as the worst environmental health problem and has assessed that indoor air is generally 2 to 10 times worse than outdoor air pollution. Allergies, breathlessness, asthma, common cold and hay fever are becoming much more prevalent and severe in recent years as a direct result of rapidly worsening indoor air quality.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), the main indoor triggers for allergies are:
- Mold and mildew
- Hair and dander from pets
- Tobacco smoke
- Insect infestation – especially cockroaches & dust mites
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) emitted by synthetic carpets, fresh paint, plastic and glues
Some other common pollution sources are:
Dust, people, carpet, plywood and other construction materials, mattresses, furnishings, pillows, blankets, HVAC systems, household cleaning products, aerosols, insecticides, humidity & moisture are all common sources for indoor air pollutants.
Asthma and sinus allergy problems took a sharp turn for the worse about 20 years ago. Not coincidentally, houses and buildings began to be constructed in an air-tight fashion at about this time in an effort to gain more energy-efficiency, as a result of the energy crisis of the 1970s. However, more and more studies are showing that this kind of construction is creating an extremely unhealthy environment for breathing, by trapping pollutants indoors, while keeping natural air-cleansing agents out. Study shows that asthma problem is much more a result of environmental triggers than anything else, and since most people spend more than 90% of their time inside, it means that indoor air pollutants affect our health far more than outdoor air pollutants.
We will check with your health insurance provide to determine if outpatient physical therapy services are covered under your plan. We recommend that you confirm your insurance coverage.
The science behind air purifiers
An air purifier is a device which removes contaminants like bacteria, virus, allergens (trigger allergies in sensitive people), pollen, pet dander, mold spores, smoke particles, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), & dust from the air. Air purifiers are commonly marketed as being beneficial to allergy sufferers and asthmatics, and at reducing or eliminating second-hand tobacco smoke but with the increase of pollution levels, mainly in metropolitan cities, it is advisable for everyone.
Most air purifiers utilize common air purification technologies such as HEPA, Activated Carbon, Ionizers, and UV bulbs, and these methods are usually categorized by filter type:
- Mechanical Filters such as HEPA and Activated Carbon force air through a mesh that traps particles.
- Electronic Filters such as ionizers use electrical charged to attract and deposit allergens and irritants onto electrostatically charged plates.
- Hybrid Filters contain elements of both mechanical and electrostatic filters, and many air purifiers use this type of filtration method.
- Gas Phase Filters remove odors and gases, but do not filter out particulates.
- UV Sterilization involves the use of UV light, which damages the DNA of microorganisms and bacteria.
HEPA filters were originally developed by the Atomic Energy Commission to capture radioactive dust pollen, and by definition, a true HEPA filter must be capable of removing at least 99.97% of particulates as small as 0.3 microns such as dander, dust, and pollen. These filters are popular because of their superior filtration abilities.
Negative ion and ozone air purifiers clean the air inside the same way nature does outside, by emitting the world’s most powerful and pure air-cleansing agents: negative ions and moderate amounts of ozone.
There are no official standards to measure an air purifier’s performance at this time, and the FDA has repeatedly asked groups of experts to recommend such standards. Nonetheless, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) does conduct independent tests which measure an air purifier’s Clean Air Delivery Rate, or CADR.
To clean an entire room, all of the air in the room needs to pass through the air cleaner’s filter. Air cleaners are rated by the amount of air moving through the filter. This rate is called CADR or Clean Air Delivery Rate. CADR measures the amount of particle-free air being delivered into the room. The higher the CADR, the larger the room size that an air cleaner can be cleaned.
CADR determines how much clean air an air purifier delivers to a room, and this is measured in cubic feet per minute. Air purifiers are usually tested on their ability to remove three types of common pollutants: smoke, dust, and pollen. If an air purifier has a CADR rating, this measurement is usually found on the packaging.
How to select the right air purifier
An air purifier is a long term investment you can make given that an average device comfortably lasts for many years. When buying an air purifier, you could consider the following factors:
a. What is your primary air purification need?
In most cases, a general purpose air purifier would resolve majority of your problems. Typical air purifiers from Atlanta Healthcare are effective against all forms of air pollutants and work effectively in heavily polluted urban air conditions.
b. What area do you want to cover?
The floor area (in most residential scenarios) is an important parameter in choosing the right air purifier for your needs. Atlanta Healthcare’s air purifiers are designed to address the widest possible range of floor space with Tornado Pure, Alfa 351 and Gama 331 being entry level models for small-medium sized rooms and Gama 501 and PureZone 651 being for larger rooms upto 500 Sq. Ft.
For industrial purposes and for usage in offices, much larger space needs to be addressed and this segment is catered to by the PureZone 1001 series.
c. How good is the product’s technology?
This is a subjective decision you need to take. As we have described in our Technology page, Atlanta Healthcare has by far the most advanced air purification technology in the industry. We use the finest quality materials in making them and provide excellent service and support.
d. How much noise does the machine make?
Most air purifiers in the market trade off effectiveness against noise levels. Our products are designed after several years of research to optimize the ‘air flow’ levels for effective purification without making much noise. At <50 db, our products are by far the most silent devices in the market.
e. How easy is it to install the product and how portable is the product?
Ease of installation and portability are key concerns most of our customers have which is why we have fine-tuned our designed to be ‘plug-n-play’ using regular 5 Amps socket. Except for the heavy duty PureZone 1001, all our other products weigh less than 14 Kgs which make them easily portable.
These are some simple parameters you can use to select the right product for yourself. However, if you have more specific needs, feel free to reach out to us via email or phone. Our experts will be happy to assist you.
It is very important to know the annual operating cost before you buy an air purifier. It would be expensive to operate an air purifier if the filter replacement cost is high and the unit is not energy efficient. You can determine the annual operating cost of an air purifier by adding up its annual electricity cost and the filter replacement cost.
Benefits of air purifiers
Dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and dust mite feces can act as allergens, triggering allergies in sensitive people. Smoke particles and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can pose a risk to health. Exposure to various components such as VOCs increases the likelihood of experiencing symptoms of sickness building syndrome. Additionally, with advancement in technology, air purifiers are becoming increasingly capable of capturing a greater number of bacterial, virus, and DNA damaging particulates. Air purifiers are used to reduce the concentration of these airborne contaminants and are very useful for people who suffer from allergies and asthma. Technological and scientific studies are also finding that poor air quality can be a contributing factor of some forms of cancer, respiratory illnesses, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other pulmonary infections and illnesses. Air purifiers are also very useful for pregnant women, newborns & the elderly.
We inhale roughly 10,000 quarts of air every day, and this brings not only oxygen into our lungs, but also harmful pollutants. This, coupled with the fact that we spend up to 90% of our time indoors, makes us highly susceptible to harmful indoor particulates such as dust, dander, mold, chemicals, and even carcinogens. Exposure to these pollutants has been shown to cause a range of health problems such as allergies, asthma attacks, and damage to the respiratory system. With this in mind, investing in an air purifier can improve the health and well-being of you and your family.
First of all, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tells us that the air outside your home establishes the baseline for your indoor air.
This seems to make perfect sense. It also means if you already live in an area with high levels of outside pollutants, your indoor air probably started out ‘bad’ before anything inside your house had a chance to impact it even further.
Once you are inside your home or office, the air you breathe can get worse and loads of other pollutants may be added from materials and faulty processes inside your home (common sources). The circulation of pollutants makes indoor air harmful.
No, but air purifiers can definitely help reduce the amount of medication needed by you or a family member. Many asthma medications that asthmatics take are reactive, meaning they are taken to relieve asthma attacks which are generally caused by environmental triggers. Removing environmental triggers such as airborne allergens and contaminates from the air will decrease asthma problems, therefore enabling a reduction in medication. Considering all of the side effects and financial costs imposed by asthma medications, investing in an air purifier is a good decision.
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