Just as we all know, air pollution happens everywhere nowadays. According to a recent report released by the World Health Organization, outdoor air pollution is now becoming a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths. People have become increasingly concerned with the quality of the air. In Beijing, many foreign expats choose to leave simply because of the continuous, severe smog.
When the level of outdoor air pollution is high, people tend to stay at home. But a study conducted by the US Environmental Protection Agency has shown that indoor air is often two to five times more polluted than the air outside, if not more. When you combine this with the fact that average people spend about 90% of their time indoors, it becomes very important for people to realize the risk of any indoor air pollutant, and take certain measures to deal with them.
Common Indoor Air Pollutants
Generally, there are two main types of pollutants: particulates and gaseous pollutants. Particulates are dust, pollen, animal dander, tobacco smoke, and tiny organisms like dust mites, mold or bacteria. The best way to fight against particulates is to remove the source, that is, by vacuuming your home regularly, washing your bedding at least once a week, and similar actions.
But gaseous pollutants are on a large scale and unavoidable. Most come from combustion processes. For example, cooking or smoking, but sometimes your house itself produces gaseous pollutants: building materials, furnishings or paints. In this case, you will not be able to remove the source, so ventilating your home with fresh outdoor air might be your best choice.
However, when these two measures are insufficient – you cannot cook outside, and sometimes the “fresh” air outside is not clean at all – buying an air cleaner will be useful. Air cleaners are devices that are designed to remove pollutants from indoor air. There are many types of air cleaners available on the market, and here I will provide some information on different types and how they work.
Air Cleaner And Their Filtration System
When choosing an air cleaner, you should notice the filtration system first. Different filter types are particularly useful against certain pollutants, while some filtration methods are unsuitable for people with certain allergies. The most common filtration systems are listed below:
HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air, and this technology has the capacity to remove 99.97% of airborne particles down to 0.3 microns. The HEPA filtration system is useful against pollen, mold, pet dander and dust mites. It doesn’t have any side effects and is most recommended by doctors for people who suffer from allergies and asthma.
Carbon filters absorb most types of gaseous pollutants in your air. They remove harmful chemical fumes, cigarette smoke and odors in your room, and like HEPA filters, don’t release any harmful contaminants into your air.
An ionizer generates negative ions that attract positive airborne particles. The two bind together, making the resulting particles heavy, and so they fall to the floor. Ionizers are best for removing particles at molecular levels as well as killing bacteria and viruses. But people who are chemically sensitive must realize they also produce ozone, which may be harmful to your health.
UV light does not filter; it kills bacteria and other pathogens by breaking the molecular bonds in their DNA. It is very effective when it comes to killing bacteria, viruses or molds, but it’s useless for any solid pollutants in your air.
According to some experts, indoor air pollution is among the top five environmental health risks. There are numerous sources for it, but many of them can be fought by using relatively simple steps: keep the humidity level in your house low, ventilate your indoor air with clean air if possible, or invest in an air purifier (find some top rated air purifiers here). With all these methods, you can significantly improve the quality of the air you breathe at home, thus reducing the risk of having health problems.