How to improve your indoor air?
Do you suffer from indoor air pollution, or do you simply want to take care of yourself and your loved ones? The air purifier is a device made for you. By fighting against indoor pollution, it relieves people who suffer from respiratory problems, asthma and allergies. The air purifier also allows you toimprove your daily well-being.
Indoor air pollution
As a result of daily life activities, people spend more than 80% of their time in indoor spaces (IE) (offices, schools, hospitals, day care centers, shopping malls, private homes, etc.); therefore, the quality of the air they breathe can affect the health of their inhabitants. The WHO has estimated that 2 million deaths per year are attributable to indoor air pollution worldwide, and has also ranked it as the tenth most important preventable risk factor for the health of the general population(2).
Potential pollutants come from a variety of sources: combustion by-products, biological agents and processes, gases and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The pollutant and the disease processes derived from exposure are different depending on the income level, geographic location and cultural conditioning factors of individuals. In more socioeconomically developed countries, indoor pollution is influenced by the architectural design of buildings, sources of outdoor pollution, building materials, furnishings, and ventilation and air conditioning systems. In less developed countries, the use of biomass as a fuel for cooking or heating homes is the main source of contaminants. Lower respiratory tract infections in children, as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and respiratory tract tumors in adults, are the main pathologies responsible for deaths attributable to poor indoor air quality (3). One of the best ways to greatly reduce indoor pollutants is to use an efficient air purifier or to air the rooms in summer if you do not suffer from seasonal allergies.
How to choose an air purifier?
The classic air purifier is based on an air filtration system. It is generally made up of several filters on top of each other: a pre-filter, a HEPA filter, and an activated carbon filter. It is important to consider first the size of the room to be treated. Generally, experts recommend a minimum CADR of 100 m³/h in order to have a good flow of treated air in the room . Moreover, it is important to know the various filtration modes in order to meet your air filtration needs. The pre-filter, the carbon filter and the HEPA filter are the main elements not to be neglected when buying a good air purifier. Here is a short description of these:
1. The pre-filter
The pre-filter of the air purifier stops visible particles larger than one micron. It limits the rate of clogging of the other filters, and increases their life span. The higher the filtration capacity, the faster the filter clogs.
2. The activated carbon filter
The activated carbon filter is used to capture chemical pollutants, i.e. odors and gases present in indoor air. It acts by adsorption: the gas molecules, put in contact with the activated carbon, are incorporated in its entire volume. Activated carbon filtration is a complex technology: it depends on many factors and adsorption is also a question of balance between adsorbent and surrounding air. It is often requested by smokers or those who want to get rid of any odors.
3. The HEPA filter
HEPA is an acronym for High Efficiency Particulate Air. Under laboratory conditions, the HEPA filter of the air purifier captures at least 99.97% of particles of 0.3 micrometers in diameter.
This percentage must be put into perspective in several respects:
90% of airborne particles, bacteria spores and viruses included, are smaller in size.
An air purifier with a HEPA filter manages, in practice, according to this same study, to reduce ultrafine particle pollution by 68%.
It is the technology to recommend for allergic and asthmatic people, being able to capture pollen particles, dust mites, mold spores, dust or other allergens present in the air.
Other filtration mode for more sophisticated purifiers
4. The Photocatalytic filter
The photocatalytic air purifier combines the filtration of volatile particles and the destruction of viruses and bacteria, solvents, detergents and nitrogen oxides and is composed of a titanium dioxide filter and a UV lamp. This process conserves and accumulates the energy of the UV lamp to destroy microorganisms, and transforms VOCs (volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde, toluene, xylene, ammonia, TVOC and other pollutants) into H2O and CO2.
5. Ionizer (ON/OFF)
Ionizer air purification produces an electrical reaction: it generates negative ions (anions) that amalgamate the particles in suspension. By charging them negatively, dust, pollen, or animal hair fall to the ground or attach themselves to furniture. Ionizers precipitate but do not destroy the particles, so they must be vacuumed up by some other means, otherwise they may be blown back into the room by the slightest draft. Ionizers do not treat industrial and domestic chemical pollution (VOC).
More than 6 million ions per second are released on the P3001 model alone. These anions help to rebalance your environment. Fine electrically charged particles, negative ions energize and soothe us, positive ions stress and tire us. Ions: Where to find them? At the foot of a waterfall: 50 000 negative ions/cm3. In the mountains: 8 000 to 12 000. By the sea: 4,000. In the forest: 3,000. After a storm: 1 500 to 4 000. In the countryside: 500 to 1,200. It is important to note that purifiers with this technology can release ozone (which can be uncomfortable for asthmatics) and must be below the threshold issued by Health Canada, which is the case for the P3001.
6. The UV lamp (ON/OFF)
UV air purifiers destroy microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, molds, spores, and oxidize odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in indoor air.
These UV air cleaners use special lamps that produce the same wavelengths as the sun. In fact, the sun produces specific UV (ultraviolet) radiation that destroys and deactivates contaminants in the atmosphere. Just like the sun's rays, these purifiers bring the same natural purification process into homes and buildings. The UV (Ultra Violet) lamp contained in the air purifiers kills over 99.9% of germs, bacteria and viruses in the air.
1.WHO. Global health risk: mortality and burden of disease attributable to select major risk. WHO, (2009),
2. World Health Organization. The World Health Report 2002: Reducing risks, Promoting Healthy Life. World Health Organization, (2002),
3. WHO. Quantifying environmental health impacts: global estimates of burden of disease caused by environmental risk. WHO, (2009),
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