Air pollution has been a crucial issue in recent times across the world, especially in India. As the air gets more polluted, its impact on health –particularly that of children – is in the spotlight. As awareness grows, people are understanding that air pollution – both, outdoor and indoor – is dangerous to physical, mental and emotional health. However, lack of awareness about the right purification technology is a hurdle.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution levels are dangerously high – 9 out of 10 people are inhaling high level of pollutants. The latest estimates say that an alarming 8 million people die every year due to ambient (outdoor) and household air pollution. Ambient air pollution alone killed 4.2 million in 2016, while household air pollution from cooking with polluting fuels and technologies caused 3.8 million deaths in the same period.
Air pollution is a critical risk factor for non-communicable diseases too, causing 24% of all adult deaths from heart disease, 25% from strokes, 43% from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 29% from lung cancer.
Airborne pollen and household allergens find their way indoors during winter, causing infections and diseases. In addition, closed and unventilated homes can breed dust mites, mould, pet dander and other irritants. Therefore, air purifiers are must-haves for healthy living. However, the market is flooded with purifiers, and it’s important to know which one is right for you.
Here are some tips to ensure a healthy, germ-free home:
Check the filters: Choose a purifier that has a Swiss HEPATM (high-efficiency particulate air) filter; they are highly efficient and capable of removing up to 99.97% of microparticles. There are many products that have ‘HEPA-like’ filters; avoid those. Also, choose an air purifier patented with Duotron technology that helps reduce the growth of viruses and bacteria.
Room size: There is no one-size-fits-all technology. Factor in the size of the room while choosing the purifier. There is a range of sizes available.
Certification: Choose products that are certified by the renowned German ‘GUI-Lab’ and are powered by an active shield x 2 filtration system with ultra-precision purification that has double the efficiency of purifiers in the same class to eliminate sub-micron respirable particles and infection-carrying microbes.
Check for pre-filter: In India, the air has heavy particulate matter. Hence the purifier needs to have a pre-filter that removes large particles, such as dust, hair, pet dander and fibre.
Active carbon filter: Granular activated carbon binds gases and odours of natural and chemical origin. This filtration stage is effective in reducing tobacco smoke and cooking smells, and in removing VOCs (volatile organic chemicals).
Avoid buying ozone-emitting devices: Stay away from technology that emits ozone. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, even relatively low amounts of ozone can cause chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath and throat irritation. It states that ozone air purifiers can be hazardous to health.
Poor air quality is a serious threat, one that we should be prepared for. Governments, the air purification industry and other institutions are working hard to reduce pollution levels, but this is a long-term effort. We need to take steps at an individual and family level to keep ourselves safe. Air purifiers are the answer.
-- Dr Abhay Kumar, Chief Scientific Officer, Eureka Forbes Limited...