While you have a choice to choose your drinking water, you don’t have any with regards to the air you breathe. The air around you is completely dependent on the surroundings you live in. And did you know that though your city may not be as polluted, your air at home is equally bad and impure? Reasons you may ask? Dust, pollutants and allergens in your home are the main causes of concern. These issues are born even though you have your doors or windows open or inside a completely air-condition home. Breeze from an open window brings in with it dust and other pollutants, which settle on furniture, walls and floors, causing irritation to skin, breathing issues and many more health issues. Apart from polluted air coming in from outside, Indian homes are more prone to impure air within the house. These include inconsistent cleaning and dusting of furniture and corners, time delayed in cleaning areas that hold these issues such as curtains and alike, and most importantly the type of cooking which releases health-damaging particulate matter. Such issues increases the risk of respiratory illnesses, including childhood pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular diseases, and lung cancers.
We just passed the World Allergy Week last month, which highlights the increasing awareness of Atopic Dermatitis/Eczema — an itch that rashes. The World Allergy Organization (WAO) was seen addressing the need for greater awareness and understanding of atopic dermatitis including the role of food allergy as well as the quality of life concerns, new treatment options, the socio-economic burden and the importance of skin care.
So how does one tackle indoor air pollution in such cases? Deploying an air purifier is probably your only option unless you want to end up spending your entire day cleaning and dusting with extreme care. According to the INSEARCH report published in 2017, roughly 4-5 per cent of the total Indian population suffers from chronic airborne diseases. Children, especially during summer holidays, tend to spend a large proportion of time indoors with studies showing that indoor air can be up to 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air.
Philips, marking the World Allergy Week, introduced a few smart air purifiers, which claims to take control of the indoor air impurity and help families take charge of their children’s health. The air purifiers claim to help reduce the triggers that aggravate a child’s allergy symptoms. The company claims that the Philips new air purifiers have been specifically developed to significantly improve the quality of indoor air. The new range includes the 2-in-1 air purifier and humidifier – Mario (AC3821), MicroCube (AC5659) and Puma DI (AC3259). Equipped with VitaShield IPS, AeraSense and NanoCloud technology, these air purifiers promise to help improve indoor air quality while easing asthma and allergy symptoms in children and adults. This range of air purifiers uses HEPA filters and claim to be tested to help remove 99.9 per cent of PM2.5, bacteria, H1N1, and 99.97 per cent of 0.3um particles, which is the size of common allergens in the air.
We got in touch with Gulbahar Taurani, Marketing Director and Business Head, Philips India, to give us more insights on the brand’s approach towards the entry into indoor air purification. We grilled him with questions with regards to their new products, what do they do, how they are superior as compared to existing ones from the competition and why does Philips think the consumer should consider it.
Deccan Chronicle: What is the company doing in the air purification/health business for the consumer?
Gulbahar Taurani: The problem of polluted air is now a national challenge and needs immediate intervention, both at an individual level as well as a community level. It is important that we take charge of the situation and of our health. Philips is dedicated to providing innovations that help consumers do just that; make the right choices for a healthy lifestyle. Philips introduced the air purifier category for the Indian market 4 years back and has since studied the market closely to understand the needs and expectations of the Indian consumers. These consumer insights inspired us to introduce purifiers, humidifiers and combination products (a purifier and humidifier in one device). These appliances reduce exposure to airborne allergens and give parents the confidence that the indoor air their children are breathing is cleaner, hence easing any symptoms of allergy or allergic asthma.
DC: What are the products stated for release ahead, apart from the one being launched?
GT: At Philips, we are continuously looking for advancements in technology in terms of our launches for the benefit of our consumers. We already have a range that is among the most effective in the market in terms of area covered, particle efficiency, cleaning speed. This year, we intend to take our technology a level up and launch a mix of purifiers and combi (Purifier + humidifier) products that are even more effective – With particle efficiency of 0.003 microns, 800 times smaller than PM2.5, cleaning speeds that will purify a standard room in 4-5 minutes, and with an sq ft coverage up to 1800 sq ft meant for much larger spaces. The intent is to not just purify indoor air, but provide solutions for better health.
DC: What are the allergies in concern? Which is the most dangerous of them in homes?
GT: With the annual changes in season, the burden of allergic diseases in India has been on an uprising trend in terms of prevalence as well as severity. The most common are Allergic Rhinitis and Allergic Asthma. Symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis can occur in spring, summer and early fall which are usually caused by allergic sensitivity to outdoor pollen and seasonal mold spores from grass, trees and weeds, commonly known as hay fever. There are certain cases where children experience perennial allergic Rhinitis. It is generally caused by house dust mites, pet hair or indoor mold spores. Apr-July is the peak allergy season in India – This is the time when most of the people are impacted, especially children. Post that, allergen levels rise again just before the onset of winters in Oct-Nov.
In case of Allergic Asthma, it is harder for children to breathe and can trigger an asthma attack. However, both allergic and non-allergic asthma have the same symptoms, such as shortness of breath and wheezing.
Studies reveal that indoor air can be up to 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air which is why this is an area we need to be more aware of. Allergies exist in many different forms. Poor ventilation also causes significant indoor health problems, as do fumes from cooking, paint, carpets, cigarette smoke, house dust mites and pet dander.
DC: How is your air purifier helping eradicate the issue?
GT: Philips’ new range of air purifiers has been specifically developed to significantly improve the quality of indoor air. The range includes the2-in-1 air purifier and humidifier - Mario (AC3821), MicroCube (AC5659) and Puma DI (AC3259). Equipped withVitaShield IPS, AeraSense and NanoCloud technology, these air purifiers are proven to help improve indoor air quality while easing asthma and allergy symptoms in children and adults.
Air purifiers from Philips use True HEPA filters and are tested to remove 99.9% of PM2.5, bacteria, H1N1, and 99.97% of 0.3um particles, which is the size of common allergens in the air.These products also have real-time sensing and indication and are connected through Air Matters App, making it easy to track and control air quality not just at home, but from anywhere, anytime – alerting in real-time to even the slightest change in indoor air conditions.
DC: How can you differentiate your air purification from others? Is yours superior, better or at par?
GT: At Philips, it is our endeavour to understand the consumer needs and evaluate our existing portfolio to bring in highly advanced technology that truly makes a difference to the lives of our consumers. Our cutting-edge technology offers the most superior solutions to manage indoor air quality in comparison to the other products available in the market.
We use Vitashield Intelligent Purification system, which is a superior filtration technology. It removes pollutants and allergens as small as 0.003um from the air, 800 times smaller than PM2.5, apart from removing dust, smoke and pet dander. Our purifiers are 100% Ozone free, making them extremely safe to use.
With AeraSense technology, Philips air purifiers automatically monitor, react, and purify indoor air, sensing and giving real-time feedback on pollution levels in the room. They remove the most common allergens, including pollen, pet dander, dust mites, mould spores, as well as gases and odours. These purifiers also have an extra-sensitive allergen mode that boosts the fan speed even when it detects small increases of allergens in the air.
Our combi products also offer a smart humidity sensor that enables the consumer to precisely manage the humidity level of the room and shuts off automatically to prevent over-humidification, hence, making indoor air healthy and comfortable to breathe.
All these solutions that we offer to our consumers make us more superior and much better than other players in the market.
DC: What are the types of air purification layers in the purifier, benefits of each of them?
GT: There are four layers of purification in our Purifiers, the first being filtration of dust, pet dander and large particles through a Pre-filter. This helps ensure that our consumers can keep these particles to the minimum in their homes, hence, easing their symptoms of dust allergy-like sneezing, coughing, throat irritation, etc. The second layer ensures absorption of harmful gases and fumes like cooking fumes, smoke from cigarettes, formaldehyde, NO2, CO, etc. through an Activated carbon filter.
Bacteria, Virus, and PM2.5 ultrafine particles which are the most harmful and are one of the major causes of respiratory issues among children in India, are filtered through are third and fourth layers respectively. This is done using a TRUE HEPA filter.
DC: What do the filters do, and how long do they last?
GT: Philips Air purifiers have three types of filters – Prefilter for removing dust and large particles, Activated carbon filters for removing harmful gases and fumes, and TRUE HEPA filters for removing bacteria, virus, PM2.5 and ultrafine particles.
Pre-filters are washable and do not need to be replaced. Activated Carbon filters and HEPA filters require replacement which is indicated by the digital panel of the Air purifier. Though we suggest a filter life of 6 months to 1 year, the time of replacement depends a lot on the level of pollution in the area. If the pollution/allergen/gas levels are much beyond the recommended levels for a constant period of time, filters might have to be changed earlier than the suggested period. Cost of filters varies from model to model.
DC: How are you tackling issues such as power consumption and noise, given this to be a 24x7 appliance?
GT: Philips Air purifiers operate on a very low noise level, allowing people to fall asleep and wake up more easily – Noise level being as low as 32-35 dB.
Air purifiers are extremely energy efficient – Power consumption ranging from 50W-65W, which is 1/40th of what an Air conditioner consumes. They also come with a sustainable stand-by power consumption of less than 0.5W making it extremely cost effective.
DC: What is the area covered by the purifier — what if people have larger homes/rooms.
GT: Philips Air Purifiers are divided into different ranges for Living rooms, large bedrooms and small bedrooms. Philips Series 5000i delivers superior performance in rooms up to 1,400 sq. ft. while the Philips Series 3000i Air Purifiers perform in rooms up to 1,000sq ft.
With numerous air purifiers in the market today, many come with a price tag which could probably make you think twice about owning one — reason — the price of the equipment and the continuous recurring price of changing the filters in due time. Air purifiers are now in abundance, from renowned brands such as Samsung, Philips, Kent, Blueair, Xiaomi, Tefal and many more. Each is priced depending on the technology they adopt, their effectiveness in the installed area and the price of the filters used inside. But which one is the right choice for your home? You take a pick. The Philips purifiers start from a price range of Rs 39,995 onwards.