Are Air Purifiers Good For Your Health?Daniel Savoury
We all know that the living beside a busy road, near an airport or in the centre of a large city is going to be detrimental to the quality of air that we breathe. There are over 2000 locations in the UK where the levels of air pollutants exceed safety levels. The government acknowledges that air pollution is one of the biggest threats to health in the UK– behind cancer, heart disease and obesity and has launched an ambitious strategy to reduce air pollution.
What’s wrong with the quality of the air?
The pollutants which cause the most harm are ozone, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, particles, hydrocarbons and metallic pollutants. These pollutants are very small and can be categorised as small (less than 1 micron), medium (1-100 microns) and large (over 100 microns). The small group would include smoke, chemical fumes, viruses and small bacteria. The medium group include pollen, large bacteria and the large group includes dust mite faeces and some moulds.
Small pollutants are easily inhaled and get stuck in our lungs which can lead to many health problems.
What types of health problems result from poor indoor air quality?
Once you open a window or door and let the outside air in, you bring in these pollutants to your home or workplace. For respiratory vulnerable people or people susceptible to allergens, these pollutants can be debilitating. They can lead to asthma, irritated eyes, nose and throat, headaches, hay fever, sneezing, sinus congestion, coughing, fatigue and dizziness. These symptoms are not always recognised as being the result of poor air quality, but there is evidence to support the influence pollutants have on our general well-being and health.
Air cleaners can increase air quality
Air cleaners on the market can have several different ways of working to reduce air contamination. One of the common ways to reduce pollutants is by filtration. Filters will trap airborne pollutants by size exclusion. HEPA filters can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns in size and are highly effective in this range. However, they are even better at larger contaminants. HEPA filters will need to be changed in order to continue bringing benefits.
Activated carbon filters trap odours and gases and sometimes larger volatile chemicals. Carbon filtration and HEPA filters are usually used together to provide improved air quality.
Another type of air cleaner uses Ionizing technology. These work by creating an electrical charge around the contaminants in the air which as a result then sticks to surfaces such as furniture, walls etc. The contaminants causing poor air quality are not removed entirely from the room but simply deposited on a surface and these will need to be physically removed.
Remember that by re-opening windows and doors, pollutants get refreshed and therefore it is a good idea to keep the air purifier running constantly. Vacuuming often can also help.
Can air cleaners improve your health?
Evidence is accumulating that there is a beneficial effect of operating an air cleaner. Earlier studies were inconclusive but later more robust research has shown evidence of a benefit to health. Air cleaners are never going to be the only thing that asthma sufferers and people with allergies are going to have to use to improve their health, but they may be another weapon to use to fight poor air quality in the home or workplace and therefore improve the health.
CAS Hire has experts who will be able to provide further help in choosing the right air purifier for you. With offices throughout the UK, CAS hire are the UK’s leading supplier of air purifiers.