Small particles - World’s greatest cause of death
There is a growing public awareness and knowledge about poor indoor air quality and its alarming health effects.
Hundreds of community health studies have linked daily increases in fine particle pollution to reduced lung function, greater use of asthma medications, and increased rates of school absenteeism, emergency room visits, hospital admissions, and even tens of thousands premature death each year. Fine particle pollution is especially harmful to children, elderly and people suffering from lung and cardio vascular diseases such as asthma, COPD, artery disease and congestive heart failure. In America alone 20 million people suffer from asthma and 50 million from allergies.
In the last couple of years, scientific evidence has indicated that it is actually the indoor air that is a major health threat being seriously more polluted than the outdoor air in even the most industrialized cities. As people are known to spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, the health risk may be severe.
In conjunction with the European Respiratory Society Congress (ERS) in Stockholm in 2007 WHO published a report stating that one billion of the world’s inhabitants now have chronic lung diseases and that by 2020, these will be the world’s greatest cause of death. This applies to pulmonary infections such as tuberculosis as well as lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), plus a range of respiratory diseases such as asthma and diseases involving defective breathing regulation, like sleep apnea and sudden infant death. Whilst the incidence of many other major disease groups is declining, lung diseases are on the increase! (DN )
It is all about small particles
Small particles, below the size of 2.5 micron (PM2.5) and even more below 1 micron, are inhaled more or less deeply into our lungs and enter our blood stream bringing also other substances into our body. Today this is considered to be a major cause of heart and vascular diseases as well as different forms of cancer.
A number of different lung problems are caused by the same small size particles. During the last couple of years it has been proven that allergic and asthma reactions have become 10 -100 times more aggressive in combination with breathing such small soot particles, mostly from combustion of fossil fuels, which are the great majority of particles in the air today (see enclosed report). And it does not have to be simultaneous.
Fine, ultrafine and nano particles cause almost all the health problems from particles in the air according to scientific evidence during the last years. Not even the allergy organisations seem to be fully aware of this yet. E.g. they still consider pollen and mould spores to be major causes which is both true and false. Air cleaning of pollen is like trying to suck in basket balls into a vacuum cleaner. Pollen are huge particles but they contain allergens which come lose when pollen break apart and become ultrafine particles mostly containing allergens, i.e. proteins/albumins.
Health problems caused by mould are most probably not caused by rather large sized mould spores. It has been proven over the last 4-5 years that different kinds of mould continuously generate large quantities of ultrafine particles containing mycotoxins which are among the most potent poisons in nature. This is the major cause of mould sickness.
Thus, the smallest particles, which are everywhere in enormous numbers and which are “floating” for very long periods of time in the air, are proven to cause most of the different health problems and even more so in combination with different allergens. Reducing the concentration of such small particles in the air has a positive effect on our health. This can be accomplished by using high performance air purifiers provided however that they are in continuous operation as air quality is extremely volatile.
Why do you need an air purifier?
We breathe 20 000 liters of air every day. The air is full of particles that derive from different sources in our society. The majority of these particles are so small that they can actually enter our blood stream.
An air cleaner is useful in many areas in our society, from households and offices to hospitals, laboratories and industries. Each market has one thing in common; they need to improve the indoor air quality (sometimes even make it sterile). LightAir will in time meet the demand for all air cleaning markets. Below is a comprehensive explanation to why the indoor air is polluted, the effect it has on our health, and what we can do to improve it.
There are four main reasons to why we need an air purifier:
- The indoor air quality is worse than the outdoor air, even in the most industrialised cities. We spend approx. 90% of our time indoors.
- Polluted air is harmful to your health and can cause symptoms such as asthma, allergy, heart & vascular decease, fatigue, nausea, headache, respiratory decease and more.
- The indoor air lack negative ions, the air’s natural vitamins.
- Polluted air cost you and the society health, time and money
What pollutes the indoor air?
The outdoor air – through the ventilation system enters exhaust fumes, pollution from industries, mould, allergens, pollen, radon, pesticides, micro/nano particles, etc into the house or premises.
Construction material – can secrete poisonous gas (radon), raw material, asbestos-containing insulation, wet or damp carpet, and furniture etc. It can also collect particles, bacteria, virus, mould, etc. These are a few of the effects that go under the name “Sick Building Syndrome” (SBS). Other pollutants are products for; central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices.
The human being – leaves remains from skin, hair, fibre & dust from clothes, dirt from shoes, etc. Furthermore we pollute more by smoking, cooking, lighting fires, keeping pets, household cleaning and maintenance, personal care and hobbies.
Oxygen ions – human activities and pollution generates positive charged ions, which result in an unnatural imbalance of ions, which has been proven to cause health problems.
Why is indoor air more dangerous than the outdoor air?
Most buildings constructed during the last 60 years have integrated complete ventilation systems (mechanical supply & exhaust air). It has been necessary because of the size of buildings and due to tighter and better insulated construction materials. All such buildings function like large vacuum cleaners whereby we spend most of our time in the filter bag i.e. indoors an absurd situation but unfortunately the truth. The indoor climate also creates a friendly environment for bacteria, fungus and virus to grow in.
The indoor air quality is in general proven to be 4-5 times worse than the outdoor air because most ventilation can not handle the large amount of fine particles and the systems are often also malfunctioning as a result of:
- complete isolation (especially in countries with changing climate), which decrease the natural ventilation.
- ventilation ductwork systems have been found to be dangerously dirty inside preventing airflow and balance.
- only a fraction of the air particles get stuck in the supply air filter system, the rest pass on straight into the building.
- the exhaust system is unable to efficiently handle the extraction of particles partially because they have a certain weight.
- bad situated supply air, for example too close to car exhaust fumes, restaurant exhaust, industry exhaust.
- exhaust air is situated to close to the supply air, which means that the air the just went out comes back in again.
- temporary turn-off of the ventilation system during the night (to save money) expose the filters and the ventilation systems to evaporation, which creates a living friendly environment for fungus, bacteria, virus, and mould. These microbes are in the morning pushed into the building when the ventilation system is turned on.
- the supply filter is changed too seldom, which results in the filter becoming a living environment for microbes that are constantly pushed into the building.
- mechanical exhaust have been shown to cause pressure, which makes polluted air to be sucked into natural chinks and holes in the isolation and ground.
- there are regulations and standards almost everywhere for minimum fresh air supply, these standards are however in general never met.
Why is the balance of ions important?
In a healthy environment approximately two thirds of the ions should consist of negative ions. Humans and our environment generate positive ions and create an unnatural balance of ions. For example at a waterfall it circulates about 50,000 negative ions/cm3 and at an office it circulates about 20 negative ions/cm3. Common sense tells us that the environment at a waterfall is healthier than the one at an office.
The balance of ions is also connected to the number of particles you find in the air including bacteria, virus, allergens, etc. Since particles generally are charged positive negative ions work as natural air cleaners by attaching themselves to positive charged particles. These will thereafter cluster and become heavy and fall out of the air or get attracted to positive charged spaces.
Learn more about negative ions HERE
Consequences of polluted indoor air
After studies of people who have been exposed to SBS (Sick Building Syndrom) or other polluted environments it has been clear that a polluted environment is the cause of the following symptoms:
- irritation in eyes and throat
- cardio and vascular decease
- respiratory decease
- fatigue, concentration difficulties, headache, irritation, depression
- virus and bacteria attacks
The consequence of these symptoms is long-term sickness and absence from work and school as well as an enormous cost for the society (the estimated cost on the society in Sweden from only asthma is approx. 4-6 billion Swedish kronor/year). There are urgent problems in the hospital industry where there is a continuous losing battle against resistant bacteria and virus infections.
Many industrial procedures have problems with particles in the air. These are directly functional problems causing production and quality problems or storage losses in the hospital industry, the food and pharmaceutical industries, the electronic industry, paper and photo industry and in many other industrial processing situations.
How can I improve my indoor air environment?
It is unfortunately not as simple as open your window and let in some "fresh" air, especially not if you live in a big city. The outdoor air in cities is dangerous and should pass through the ventilation system before entering. A good advice to solve air quality problems in apartments, homes and offices, involve actions like eliminating or controlling the sources of pollution, increasing and maintain ventilation systems, and installing air purification devices.