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INDOOR AIR QUALITY - A SILENT THREAT TO HEALTH


The available scientific data indicate that people stay indoors for 90% of the day. Indoor air quality can actually be 2 to 5 times worse than outside. Appropriate comfort of staying in a room depends on the quality of the air, internal temperatures, humidity, proper lighting and acoustic comfort.


SERIOUS EFFECTS OF POOR INDOOR AIR QUALITY

  1. Indoor air quality (IAQ) is affected by many things, like furniture, paints, building materials, carpets, tobacco smoke etc.

  2. The most known group of chemical impurities in indoor air corresponds to volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

  3. VOCs like Benzene, toluene, ethylene, xylenes (BTEX) and formaldehyde have been suggested to be possible carcinogens, mutagens and teratogens.

  4. Long-term exposure to VOCs can result in acute and chronic health effects as eye irritation, skin allergies, respiratory tract and neurological problems (WHO, 2010).

  5. Poor indoor air quality affects the health, well-being, work performance and in the case of children, it has an impact on their cognitive skills.

CORONAVIRUS VS. PARTICULATE MATTER

  1. Viruses and air pollution spread through the air, however, they are quite different in terms of their size.

  2. Most air purifiers similar to HEPA are not efficient against the Coronavirus, due to its Small size.




WAYS TO IMPROVE IAQ

  1. Several air-purifying techniques are available in the market. They use numerous devices, air transport systems, which are energy consuming and it is necessary to clean or replace the working elements periodically.

  2. That is why these days, studies are focused on Passive air purification techniques, like the use of plants.

  3. Plants have the ability to remove VOCs from the air and they produce oxygen, thereby improving the surrounding air quality.

  4. A single potted plant cannot improve the IAQ, so studies have now moved onto green walls (living walls, indoor vertical gardens) which allows a higher density of plants and increased purifying properties.

  5. By the experience of the global pandemic so far, there is a need for improved building regulation and new technology that improves the air quality as well as virus contamination.

Reference

I. Air Purification in Sustainable Buildings, 2020.

Author

Sharanya D, Field Application Specialist

MedCuore Medical Solutions Private Limited

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