Airocide Air Purifier Accessories
Airocide Air Purifier Accessories
Airocide Air Purifier Review (APS-200 vs APS-200 PM 2.5)
Airocide Air Purifier Accessories
Airocide Air Purifier Review (APS-200 vs APS-200 PM 2.5)
Airocide Air Purifier Review (APS-200 vs APS-200 PM 2.5)
Airocide Air Purifier Review (APS-200 vs APS-200 PM 2.5)
Airocide Air Purifier Review (APS-200 vs APS-200 PM 2.5)
Airocide Air Purifier Review (APS-200 vs APS-200 PM 2.5)
Airocide Air Purifier Review (APS-200 vs APS-200 PM 2.5)
Airocide Air Purifier Review (APS-200 vs APS-200 PM 2.5)
Airocide Air Purifier Review (APS-200 vs APS-200 PM 2.5)

Airocide Air Purifier Accessories

$39.00$149.00

With Airocide, there are no filters to change or electrostatic plates to periodically wipe off. You’ll just replace the Reaction Chambers when the indicator light starts blinking, approximately once a year.

The APS-200 PM 2.5 has a state of the art cartridge that is unique from the traditional Airocide Cartridge. The two are not interchangeable. If you have purchased the APS-200 PM 2.5 unit, just replace the Reaction Chambers when the indicator light starts blinking, approximately once a year.

*For extreme environments, we recommend replacing the APS-200 PM 2.5 reaction chamber every six months.

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Description

Enhance Your Airocide Experience

Introducing Airocide’s Reaction Chamber Replacement Kit

Once a year. That’s it.

Filterless Air Purification Technology

Our unique design sets us apart from traditional air purifiers, not only in the way we look, but in the way we perform. With Airocide, there are never any dirty filters to change. Instead, simply replace the Reaction Chambers once a year. It’s easy.

Bringing NASA Technology Down To Earth.

Originally licensed for privatization by the agency, Airocide soon took root in commercial applications for the removal of ethylene gas. In 2001 during the tragic Anthrax threats in Washington, D.C., Airocide, in conjunction with NASA and one of its research facilities (the University of Wisconsin), tested Airocide technology and determined it to be effective in eliminating Anthrax spores.

In fact, Airocide eliminated over 99.9% of spores that entered its Reaction Chamber. This discovery spurred other research which determined the technology was effective in destroying bacteria, viruses, and virtually any VOC it came in contact with, as well as pollen, mold spores, mycotoxins, dust mites … you name it. In essence, anything organic that passed through its Reaction Chamber.

Air Purification – Reinvented, Redesigned.

How It Works

Airocide’s Revolutionary Filterless Technology. Airocide’s air purifier looks radically different, because it is radically different.

The technology is so scientifically advanced it doesn’t use a filter.

What Happens Inside Our Filterless Air Purifier?

Airocide’s fan draws in airborne organic pathogens like allergy triggers, mold spores and fumes from household chemicals (VOCs) and slows them down, dispersing them across a densely packed matrix of hollow glass tubes. As they contact this catalytic surface they are broken down at a molecular level – the catalyst strips away their carbon atoms until the organics are destroyed. The process, known as oxidation, is safe, highly effective and produces no ozone or other harmful byproducts.

NASA created it and used it on the Space Station to eliminate ethylene gas. Today it’s known as the Airocide Photo-catalytic Reaction Chamber and it’s what powers every Airocide air purifier. This is what makes Airocide the best filterless air purifier.

Safe, Effective And Simple To Maintain.

Airocide is FDA listed as a Class II Medical Device and produces no ozone. Unlike filters, which typically consume a lot of energy, the Airocide air purifier uses very little power and takes up far less space than conventional filter systems. The only maintenance required is an annual replacement of our Reaction Chambers. The process takes about thirty-seconds and involves no mess. And, if you’ve ever changed your printer’s toner cartridge, consider yourself overqualified.

Using the Coanda-effect aerodynamics, air is drawn in the front of the vent, across two Catalytic Reaction Chambers and then amplified across a fine lip at the back center of the void. This ‘throws’ clean air into the room while using the least amount of power.

Developed Reaction Chambers

Ionic Air Purifiers. Most ionizing purifiers work silently, releasing a steady stream of negatively charged ions to electrify bits of dust, dander and other matter in the air stream.

Activated Carbon Purifiers (Charcoal air filters) consist of charcoal that has been treated with oxygen to open up millions of tiny pores between the carbon atoms. This medium is used to adsorb odorous substances from gases.

Safe. Effective. Simple. Airocide.

Wall Mount – Airocide can hang with the best of them.

Put your Airocide on display with our wall mount, giving you the flexibility of placement in any room. We recommend hanging anywhere from four to six feet high for optimal performance.

Decorative Sleeve – A fresh look.

Fresh, crisp and clean. Change the look of your Airocide unit by adding this decorative sleeve. Featuring dark wood grain, this sleeve adds a warm touch to the product’s upscale appearance and enhances the look of any décor.

*Free with purchase of an aps-100 or aps-200 pm 2.5 unit

Get To Know Your New Airocide

Wall Mount Installation Demo

Floor Stand Installation Demo

When is it time to order Reaction Chambers?

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of maintenance is required?

The only maintenance needed is to replace the Reaction Chambers. The unit will prompt you with an indicator light when it is time to change (about once a year). The Reaction Chamber Replacement Kit can be ordered at here.

How many fans does the Airocide have?

Airocide has one internal fan. Using Coanda-effect aerodynamics, air is drawn in through the front vent, accelerated through two catalytic reaction chambers and then amplified across a fine lip at the back center of the void. This ‘throws’ air further into the room while using the least amount of power.

Certifications

  • This product has been tested and complies with UL 507, CSA C22.2 No. 113, FCC 47CFR Part 15 (Subpart B, Class B), ICES-003
  • This device complies with part 15 of the FCC Rules. Operation is subject to the following two conditions: (1) This device may not cause harmful interference, and (2) this device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undesired operation.
  • This air cleaner complies with the Federal Ozone Emissions limit and is ARB Certified by the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Resource Board.
  • These products fulfill the essential requirements of EMC Directive 2004/108/EC and Low Voltage Directive 2006/95/EC

Notice for Customers in Canada:This Class B digital apparatus complies with Canadian ICES-003. Cet appareil numérique de la classe B est conforme à la norme NMB-003 du Canada.

Changes or modifications not expressly approved by the party responsible for compliance could void the user’s authority to operate the equipment.

Note: This equipment has been tested and found to comply with the limits for a Class B digital device, pursuant to part 15 of the FCC Rules. These limits are designed to provide reasonable protection against harmful interference in a residential installation. This equipment generates, uses and can radiate radio frequency energy and, if not installed and used in accordance with the instructions, may cause harmful interference to radio communications. However, there is no guarantee that interference will not occur in a particular installation. If this equipment does cause harmful interference to radio or television reception, which can be determined by turning the equipment off and on, the user is encouraged to try to correct the interference by one or more of the following measures:

  • Reorient or relocate the receiving antenna.
  • Increase the separation between the equipment and receiver.
  • Connect the equipment into an outlet on a circuit different from that to which the receiver is connected.
  • Consult the dealer or an experienced radio/TV technician for help.

What Is No Credit Needed Financing?

  • Payoff within 90 days, and we will close your account as paid in full.
  • Payoff after 90 days and save 25% or more on all outstanding payments.
  • Payoff over 12 months and we’ll set up a flexible payment schedule tailored to coincide with your payroll dates.

Don’t Let Bad Air Ruin Your Summer

Summer is a time for making memories. It is when the kids leave school, bathing suits come out of the drawer, burgers and hot dogs go on the grill, and the cameras on our phones memorialize every last minute. There is nothing more quintessentially American than summertime. Regrettably, we now face something more consequential than a painful sunburn following a day at the beach: Bad Air Quality. The Los Angeles Times reported this week that warmer weather makes all the problems in our air worse. While this is a seasonal phenomenon, it can have long-lasting consequences. Poor air quality has been linked to a number of respiratory, cardiac, and psychological ailments. Something to keep in mind while compiling your summer fun checklist.

Ground Level Ozone

Ozone is probably a term most of us are familiar with. It’s best-known function is protecting us from the sun’s UV rays in the earth’s stratosphere. Some will probably recall learning about the manmade “hole” in the Ozone layer, and all the consequences that came of it. Fortunately, that situation is getting better. However, the issue of ground-level Ozone certainly isn’t. Ground-level ozone is created by reactions between nitrogen-containing compounds (called NOX) and Volatile Organic Compounds (called VOCs). Both of these chemical categories are emitted as pollution from vehicles and industrial activity. The problem is particularly acute on warm sunny days. In nature, heat makes chemical reactions happen faster. So, during the summer more ground-level ozone will be created than at other times of the year. While Ozone is wonderful high up in the stratosphere, it is really, really bad down here where we live. Ozone can cause serious issues for the lungs. Ozone is an oxidative molecule. This means that it likes to steal electrons from other chemicals. So, if you inhale Ozone it will be oxidizing the tissue in your lungs. That is obviously a bad thing. The EPA has linked Ozone exposure to chest pains, coughing, throat irritation, airway obstruction, and reduced lung function. Over time, this can turn into bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma. So, it pays to be up to date on the ground level ozone situation in your area. It is usually most heavily concentrated in large urban areas because of the population density and concentration of economic activity. If you live somewhere like Southern California and your summer plans call for long days at the beach. This could be a big problem.

VOCs

VOCs are another problem that gets worse during the summer months. These are organic (carbon-based) compounds that exist as a gas under normal conditions. They are varied and ubiquitous. Some of them originate from manmade sources such as paints, while others are natural. Regardless of the source, VOCs are unhealthy. They have been linked to all of the same maladies that Ozone is responsible for. What gives VOCs the edge in notoriety is their tendency to concentrate inside of homes. Indoor concentrations of VOCs have been proven to be ten times the outdoor concentration. It makes sense because the air conditioning units we use to keep cool in the warmer months only replace thirty percent of the air in our home on a regular schedule. So, if something is outside it gets in and stays in. There are a lot of indoor sources of VOCs too. They are emitted by just about everything. The finish on the wood floor, the new coat of paint, the cleaning supplies, the carpet, the fabrics on furniture all emit VOCs. If you have electronics built from plastics, or cook on an electric stove that will emit VOCs as well. Of course, it’s hot in the summer months, and to keep our indoor spaces cool we blast the air conditioner. This enhances the problem. The hot weather makes it easier for VOCs to form, and the accelerated movement of air pushes more of them into your home. It’s a vicious cycle, and one you should be aware of. Most people aren’t, and you shouldn’t be shocked if this is the first you have heard of the issue. It’s not that it isn’t in the news, you can enter “Air Quality” into your search bar and have a fortnight’s reading with two day’s reporting on the subject. Either the public is apathetic about it, or it is simply squeezed out by more sensational news topics. Those aren’t in short supply in 2019.

Everyone can acquire a NASA Air Purifier. It can save your summer.

How To Stay Safe This Summer

So, there is the problem: Ground Level Ozone and VOCs are more plentiful when the temperature rises. They are both bad for you in the short term and can have really terrible long term health effects. How does one avoid these things without spending their summer months in some kind of bubble or remove Arctic outpost? Well, probably the first thing to do is remember what you have read here next time you vote. Who takes a position on these things? As we have noted, this information is locked away in a vault somewhere. But, expecting dramatic change from the top is probably wishful thinking if the last few years count for anything. So, probably the best thing to do is get an air purifier. At the very least your home (and possibly office) will be free of these air pollutants. And, whether you realize it or not it is still where you spend most of your time. Even if you have hardcore “outdoor” kids who have to be dragged kicking and screaming to the dinner table, they still spend at least seven hours sleeping. Limiting exposure limits effects. True, an air purifier isn’t going to fix the situation outside. You need to spend more time on that air quality search to keep abreast of that. But, it does keep you and your family safe for most of the day. And, that helps. Let’s clear up one thing here though when we say air purifier we explicitly do not mean filter. The fact that these two terms have become convoluted is surely one of the great failings of public science in the last millennia. Filters are good. They get all the dog hair, dust, and cigar smoke out of the air. But, here is the thing: You already have one. If you are like most Americans, then you have an air conditioner. Every month you go to the grocery store, buy a white boxy looking thing crossed with wire. That is a filter. And, it is all the filter you need. Every bit of air in your home passes through that filter probably once per hour. Yet, when you go to Amazon and look for an air purifier the first four pages are filled with filters. What gives? Well, those devices you are looking at do no more or less than what is already in your house. And, at best they are going to filter the air in a single room. So, you would be spending a lot of money (usually between $250 and $1000) to do what you are already doing consciously or not. When we say to get an air purifier, we mean the really high tech kind. The stuff developed by scientists and engineers at places like NASA. Something with a catalyst, that can do the Chemistry that permanently removes VOCs and Ozone from your indoor air. That is what we mean by air purifier, and you should have one in your home. Stay safe, and have a wonderful summer.

How Intensive Farming Is Affecting Our Air Quality

Air quality in the countryside is increasingly becoming problematic. Contrary to what many think or perceive.

Presently the global population stands at approximately seven billion people. And, some estimates have this number expanding to nine billion by the end of the century. Obviously, every one of these people will need to eat, so the demand for food products has nowhere to go but up. One of the means to meet this ever-increasing demand is called intensive farming. Basically, these are agricultural techniques that maximize the crop or livestock yield per acre of the farm and produce as much food product as possible. The ability to do this depends heavily on modern technology, and thus intensive farming is dramatically different from traditional forms of agriculture practiced for generations all over the world. While there is very little debate about the need to maximize food production, there is equally little attention given to the potential harm that intensive farming causes. Specifically, its impact on air quality and the subsequent decline in public health resulting from that impact. Authorities in the United Kingdom have sought to bring the environmental costs of intensive agriculture into the public sphere, and have raised some startling conclusions.

The Problems In The Air

Intensive agriculture affects air quality in several ways. Ammonia fertilizer is used to deliver nitrogen to plants. Nitrogen is critical for the plant’s growth and development and is, therefore, an important input for farmers. Ammonia, however, can volatilize and end up in the air surrounding the farm. The United Kingdom has been tracking Ammonia emissions since the nineteen-eighties and has largely noted a decrease over the time period. This was due to things like more stringent environmental regulations and urbanization creeping into the countryside. However, the problem persists. And, it can be argued that greater population density close to agricultural activity makes the problem all the more serious. The same UK public health officials have gone so far as to say that further reductions of Ammonia pollution could cut premature deaths by fifty thousand in Europe and three thousand in the UK alone. Regrettably, this is where we have to circle back to our original point and note that people have to eat. So, although agriculture makes up a very small proportion of the overall economy in the developed world, it is a critical one. The intensive farming methods used to make this possible, have been blamed for the sudden flattening of the ammonia emissions reductions cheerily observed over the last four decades. How societies and the regulators who keep a careful watch over the well-being of those societies meet this challenge is presently anyone’s guess.

Farm animals are responsible for the emission of Ammonia and Bioaerosols.

Another air quality problem coming from agriculture is the emission of bioaerosols. These are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter emitted from livestock production. The problem exists across the entire spectrum of the meat production industry. Cows flatulate, releasing methane gas into the air. Chickens are kept in dense coups, where droppings and down shedding collect. The chemicals and particulates are likewise released into the local environment. The filth associated with Hogs is certainly well known, and the odor it is responsible for is not soon forgotten by anyone who has ever spent time close to a Hog farm. Animals do animal things, and when lots of them are kept in close quarters (as intensive farming requires) it creates an environmental hazard. A recent review by Imperial College in London has noted a dramatic increase in respiratory problems for farm workers, and asthma/allergy issues in the local populations living near animal farms. Once again, the concerned observer can narrow their eyes at data like this, and try to rationalize the problem away. But, in 2019 Beef, Chicken, and Pork remain a considerable proportion of a human being’s protein intake. So, we must tread lightly in how we solve this one. Meat is notoriously difficult to preserve. The primary driver of spoilage is bacterial. And, the mesophiles, psychrophiles, and psychotrophs that feast on meat in storage is very persistent. They can survive at temperatures as low as one degree Celsius. So, even meat stored in an industrial refrigerator faces rapid spoilage. So, long-distance shipping of meat products must be rapid and clean. This naturally raises the price to the consumer. The only alternative is freezing, which can destroy the flavors and textures so cherished by carnivorous humans. It is human nature to want value for money, and politically sensitive to raise the price of food generally. So, offshoring meat production completely is an unlikely answer to the issue of bioaerosol production. And, once more we left to wonder what can be done.

Everyone can acquire a NASA Air Purifier to solve the air quality issues in the country.

An Immediate Solution

Perhaps the root issue is the nature of society and the government itself. We depend on collective action to fix things, and building consensus on anything is slow. So, is there something an individual can do to shield themselves from the detrimental effects of intensive farming? Here there is good news. Air purifier technology has improved to the point where the right device can eliminate the presence of Ammonia and particulate in your home. Given that the modern resident of a developed nation spends upwards of ninety percent of their day indoors, this should bring some welcome relief. The market for air purifiers is very fragmented at the moment. There is not a clear market leader, and technology standards often fall short of the mark in this industry. For example, most people associate the term air purifier with the word filter and gravitate toward whatever has the highest “HEPA” rating. This is a mistake in general, and particularly in the case of the air quality issues, we have raised here. The reason for this is twofold. First, even the best filters will only catch things down to about .3 microns in diameter. While that is very small, it is not nearly small enough for VOCs and even most particulate issues. True, it is great for pet dander or dust. But, that brings us to the second point here, everyone already has a filter in their home. If you have an air conditioner, you have a filter. You should be replacing this filter once per month, and that is far less expensive than buying an air purifier that essentially does the same thing (and maintaining it). The kind of technology needed to solve the Ammonia and Bioaerosol issue is much more advanced. Such technologies are called catalytic and rely on complex Chemistry rather than filter media. They perform reactions that make it possible to solve air quality issues at the molecular level, eliminating them completely from the air of your home. Such devices are probably not what the average person considers inexpensive, but they are well worth it. As was previously stated, the UK watchdogs have observed that reduced exposure to agricultural related air quality issues will save lives, a lot of them. Further deploying air purification technology in homes makes this possible. And, it can happen without your local congressperson, MP, MEP, president, or monarch lifting a finger.

Dangerous Air In The Heartland

When dangerous air quality makes the news it usually showing up in places with large urban population centers or prevalence of heavy industry. For example, the wildfires that raged in California generated a lot of press when smoke from those fires blanketed Los Angeles and San Francisco. And, the resulting public attention could then be focused on pollution caused by cars or improperly regulated factories. But, heartland cities often cited as having very good air quality rarely make the headlines. It was surprising to many to find out this week that poor air quality was responsible for between two thousand and five thousand deaths in Minnesota between 2013 and 2019. With around five million residents, it is the 22nd most populous of the fifty states. And, it does not have an economy dependent on dirty industries. In fact, Minnesota has some of the nation’s strictest environmental standards. All diesel fuel dispensed in the state must contain 2% bio sources, and it is a leader in both wind and solar energy production. Air quality statewide meets all federal clean air standards So, what is going on?

Minnesota’s Air Quality Problem

This month the Minnesota Department of Public Health partnered with the Pollution Control Agency to release a report titledLife and Breath, which hoped to address the underlying issues of the air quality problem. It discovered that while pollution levels across the state were fairly uniform, particulate matter (PM 2.5) were most prevalent in the Twin Cities metro area, which is the largest city in the state and home to approximately fifty-five percent of the population. The problem disproportionately affects seniors, children, and people living without health insurance or regular contact with health care providers. Nevertheless, air quality is a problem for all Minnesotans regardless of whether they live in an urban or rural environment.

The primary air quality issue in Minnesota is the fine particulate matter or PM 2.5. This is a mix of fine dust and gas with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers (millionth of a meter) or less. PM 2.5 sources are abundant in the state and include vehicles, tractors, construction equipment, power plants, and fossil fuel burning. Particulate matter can travel very large distances in the air. So, while the levels may be most prevalent near roadways or areas with greater population density, it becomes problematic over a wider geographic region.

PM 2.5 can cause immediate problems like shortness of breath, wheezing, or coughing. However, prolonged exposure leads to more serious conditions like COPD and heart disease. Children exposed to PM 2.5 can develop Asthma and Allergies. Elderly people are at a heightened risk of stroke and heart attack. Even minute changes to PM 2.5 levels can have a dramatic impact on these health outcomes. The map to the right shows the concentration of PM 2.5 in the air recorded for each county in the state. The darker the shade of blue, the more concentrated the PM 2.5.

The state of Minnesota has achieved great things where environmental justice is concerned. It has air quality consistently below federally mandated thresholds, has been very successful in the utilization of alternative energy sources, and has sustainable forestry practices. But, the state is not content to rest on its laurels. It has set a ten percent statewide air pollution reduction target, and has ambitious goals for improving health equity for the most vulnerable among the population. In our view, that is a noble goal. However, air pollution targets are often difficult to achieve. The reason for this is that there is only so much the state can control. Regulation can be used to limit things like vehicle emissions, or the use of fossil fuels in generating electricity. However, PM 2.5 can originate from natural sources as well. Last year, wildfires in Canada dramatically increased PM 2.5 levels. Minnesota also borders four states, which do not have the same strict environmental standards. And, it is not unusual for PM 2.5 to travel via air currents from nearby pollution sources. Industrial centers like Chicago and Milwaukee are not far. And, plains states like Iowa, Nebraska, and the Dakotas are hot spots for large agricultural enterprises. Both of these sources are considered reasons for the higher concentrations in the central and southern regions of Minnesota. In fact, the rural southwest had the highest number of air pollution attributable deaths in the period under study. Thus, the statewide scope of the ten percent air pollution reduction goal. The report concluded that this reduction would have a meaningful impact on public health. It would lead to five hundred fewer deaths, seventy fewer hospitalizations, and one hundred fifty fewer emergency room visits all in a single year. Certainly a laudable goal, and hopefully achievable.

Thinking About Indoor Air

As the saying goes, we must hope for the best and prepare for the worst. In spite of what Minnesota hopes to achieve there are many factors working against them. A warming climate, a growing population, and neighboring state reluctance are all headwinds. There is also a considerable air quality problem the state has yet to address: indoor air quality. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has concluded that indoor air quality is up to five times more polluted than outdoor air. This is due to low air exchange rates with the outside combining with indoor air pollution sources to aggregate PM 2.5 and VOCs within the home. In colder states like Minnesota, this is even more of an issue because of the use of heating oil or fireplaces. Anyone who has ever experienced Minnesota in January, when temperatures frequently drop well below zero, or heard about it probably understands the tendency to spend most time indoors. And, this of course leads to higher air pollution risk. Hopefully, the state of Minnesota will embrace indoor air quality issues in their statewide plans, and include air sanitizers in their health equity goals. This would go a long way in helping them achieve better health for all residents of the state. Even, if they fail to achieve their progressive outdoor standards, they can at the very least ensure that time spent indoors is healthy.

Air Quality: The Traveler’s Dilemma

Whenever we travel, whether for business or pleasure, there is a lot to think about. Is the destination safe? What is the weather going to be like, and what should I wear? Will they speak my language? Some say that planning a trip is the most interesting part of it, and others find it incredibly stressful. One thing that often gets overlooked is air quality at the destination. Poor air quality is the cause of many short and long term health problems, and it should be a prominent consideration in your travel plans.

Not Always Where You Would Expect

Most people associate poor air quality with China. That is true, Chinese cities have some of the worst air quality in the world. However, the problem is equally pernicious in other East Asian locales as well as Europe, North America, South America, and Africa. Wherever your plans take you, your first stop should be the Air Quality Index. It is operated by the US Government and provides the local AQI. This is usually an assessment of the concentration of particulate matter (PM 2.5 and PM 10) in the local air. The site provides a comprehensive explanation of how these results were obtained, and what they mean for you. For Americans, AQI will show up on news programs or other media during allergy season or extreme events such as wildfires. But, regrettably, they are rarely cited outside of these specific instances. In Asia, however, it is something looked at as commonly as the weather.

If you are traveling somewhere with a low AQI, then you may want to consider a face mask. Again, they are common in Asia. If you travel there during winter that is when particulate levels are highest. Industrial activity combined with vehicles transporting workers and goods makes the AQI situation difficult. Regrettably, this is followed in the spring with what is called “Asian dust”. These are yellow particles carried by the wind from the Gobi desert. So, if you find yourself in Asia during this time period, you will see a lot of people with facemasks. Make sure to obtain them in advance of your trip. They are easy to obtain on sites like Amazon and can be in your hands well before take-off. This is certainly easier than running around an unfamiliar city trying to find them a drugstore. Also, take care to get a good one. Dr.Miranda Loh at the Institute for Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh recommends masks rated at least N95. This means the mask will remove 95% of all particles that are at least 0.3 microns in diameter or larger. That is effective protection against the fine dust of particulate matter. Of all the masks that appeared in her study, Dr.Loh was most favorable to the 3M Aura Disposable Respirator 9322+ as it was the most effective at consistently reducing exposure in the study volunteers. Dr.Loh is also very firm that the masks should be used as recommended. The Chinese government recommends wearing a mask when the AQI is over 200. However, you will notice that many choose to do so whenever the AQI is above 150. Certainly, if you suffer from asthma or other respiratory illness you will want to consider a mask even below this threshold. Ultimately, it is up to you. But, be judicious and aware of the local situation.

A Skin Problem Too

Most are probably also not aware that air quality is as much a problem for the health of one’s skin as it is for the lungs. Dr. Steven Wang, the director of Dermatology at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of Basking Ridge has published a study The Effects of Ambient Air Pollution On Skin. He recommends applying sunscreen in the morning, using gentle skin cleansers, and taking a shower after daily activity. This will prevent particulate matter from entering your bloodstream through pores in the skin.

Part of using good air quality judgment is deciding when to just stay indoors. Some days are bad enough, that it isn’t advisable to be outside at all. Perhaps have some museums or other indoor activities planned as contingencies just in case things take a turn for the worse. If you find yourself traveling for business, it may be advisable to stay flexible with regard to meeting schedules. A day around a conference table is far preferable to a day outside a factory on a poor air quality day.

The Indoor Air Quality

It is important to keep in mind, however, that the EPA has cited that indoor air quality can be two to five times worse than outdoor air quality. This is due to how air handling systems work. They have a fresh air replacement rate of only thirty percent. So, at any time of the day, only about one-third of the air is being cycled in and out. This means that indoor pollution sources are very persistent. Also, whatever is outside will end up inside. While most air system manufacturers recommend monthly filter changes, this is commonly overlooked. If you are in a hotel or rental home you will have no control over this. So, take some time to look into hotels that offer air purifiers as an amenity. If there aren’t anywhere you are going, consider taking your own. There are good air purifier options that travel fairly easily. Particularly, if you are taking your own vehicle.

Most people don’t even think about air quality when planning a trip. But, many people find out quickly how detrimental it can be when they reach their destination. So, let’s change this. Start thinking about the local air quality when you are booking tickets, cars, and events. Consider bringing face masks and an air purifier. Make sure to have skin care products. Even short term exposure to poor air quality can have long term effects. Plan ahead, and stay safe!

The Inside Story: Air Pollution Can Cause Alzheimer’s Dementia

One of the defining moments of adulthood is when it comes time to take care of a sick or aging parent. It is truly a difficult moment. There is often conflict between loved ones, a constant questioning of one’s actions, and no shortage of stress over the cost of long term care. It is important to remember though that many (if not most) long term care facilities are committed to a good quality of life for your mom or dad. They look more like high-end resorts than the “old folks homes” of years past. It is in this context we want to present the potential benefit of air purification. As you will learn in this piece, poor air quality has been strongly correlated with Alzheimer’s Dementia. Improving that air quality has been shown to dramatically reduce it. So, if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to move an elderly parent to a long term care facility please consider the potential benefit clear indoor air can have on their quality of life.

The research behind the claim

In 2017 three researchers at Arizona State University read the work of Aaron Reuben at Mother Jones. Aaron was exploring the connection between air pollution and dementia. Inspired by this narrative, Kelly Bishop, Nicolai Kuminoff, and Jonathan Ketcham decided to dig a little deeper. Their study connected EPA air quality data with fifteen years of Medicare records for 6.9 million Americans over the age of sixty-five. They attempted to separate this population into those exposed to bad air quality and those who are not. What made the study so successful was that in 2005 the EPA cited 132 counties across the country for air quality that fell below nationally mandated thresholds. These counties, therefore, worked to dramatically improve the situation. In doing so, they created lots of new data points to compare with other regions who were not having to make the same efforts. So, the question became: Would deliberate attempts to manipulate air quality for the better reduce the incidence of Dementia? Previous studies had failed in this regard. They were limited to examining what occurred naturally. For example, heavy rain can dramatically reduce the presence of particulate matter outdoors. Conditions can also be altered by wind patterns and proximity to economic activity. These variables are difficult to control for and can create misleading results. Bishop, Kuminoff, and Ketcham’s study did indeed verify the connection between poor air quality and Dementia. They found that in the 132 counties with rapidly increasing air quality, seniors developed Dementia at substantially lower rates than those who lived in places without air quality improvements. They also noted that exposure to one more microgram of particulate matter was the equivalent of nearly three years of natural aging. To put this in context, one microgram is a sufficiently small amount of pollution to be the difference from one neighborhood to the next. The authors further noted that this put poor air quality on par with hypertension and heart disease as drivers of Dementia. The change in air quality standards in these 132 counties likely resulted in 140,000 fewer cases of Dementia, with an economic benefit of over $160 billion.

Researchers across many disciplines continue the work and look to further establish the connection between poor air quality and Dementia. The proxy for air quality used in most of these studies is particulate matter. Often this is described as PM 2.5 or PM 10. This means fine dust and other air pollution inputs (nitrogenous compounds, VOCs, etc) that are less than 2.5 microns and 10 microns respectively in diameter. This is too small to see, and the presence of particulate matter must be verified using very sensitive, very costly meters. While there are inexpensive alternative meters now being sold on the internet, the sensitivity of such meters is questionable. As previously noted, a single microgram (one-millionth of a gram) can make a substantial difference with regard to health outcomes.

Where the pollution comes from, and how it harms seniors

There are many sources of particulate matter. Some of them are natural or quasi-natural like Volcanoes or forest fires. Others are manmade. Common causes of particulate matter in populated areas are vehicles, power plants, and industrial activities. When the particulate matter is inhaled it becomes embedded within the lungs, and then enters the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, the body reacts to the particulate matter as it would any hostile invader, and initiates an immune response. The objective is to trap, contain, and remove the invading particle. However, with constant exposure, there is a predictable hyperimmune response. This can further induce other immune responses throughout the body and has been connected to neurodegeneration. This hyperimmune response was demonstrated to create Alzheimer’s plaques in mice in a 2017 study conducted by Dr. Caleb Finch a gerontologist with The University of Southern California’s Air Pollution and Brain Disease research network. While the specific mechanism of causation remains unclear, Dr. Finch was quoted in a follow-up Mother Jones article as saying “I have no hesitation whatsoever to say that air pollution causes dementia.”

The unfortunate drawback to these and other studies relating air pollution to brain disease is that the focus is on the outdoors. This is also the focus on any legislative or regulatory attempt to control air pollution. What gets left out in these efforts is the indoors. And, this is no small thing. The EPA has noted that indoor air pollution is two to five times worse indoors than out. The reason for this is the way an HVAC system works. The typical air handler in a home, office, or public space has a fresh air replacement rate of only thirty percent. This makes it easy for particulate from the outdoors to accumulate indoors and limits the exhaustion of indoor sources of air pollution (stoves, fireplaces, carpets, finishes, etc). Given the significance a single microgram of particulate has, this is very troublesome. While it is clearly a threat to anyone, seniors are a higher risk group. They spend more time in indoor settings, are less active, and closer to the onset of Dementia.

Again, no one loves being in the position of having to tell a respected parent they are no longer able to live on their own. It is probably one of the most stressful moments of anyone’s life. However, it is something that most of us will have to face with courage. When the time comes, we have a special responsibility to make sure that their time in a long term care facility is as pleasant and meaningful as possible. Credible research has linked air pollution to Alzheimer’s Dementia. Air pollution is more prevalent inside than out. And, seniors spend more time indoors. So, it is our responsibility to look for proven indoor air sanitization methods that will diminish the likelihood of a parent developing Dementia.

The Right Start Means The Right Spec

We introduced our official spec process over a year ago, and we have been pleased with the outcome. Results have been normalized across the globe, and we feel that we have arrived at a more methodical process for determining the appropriate number and type of units for your clients. Industrial sales have increased, and customers satisfied; we take that as a win.

However, it has come to my attention that in some circumstances the spec process we used created a recommended number of units that was simply uneconomical, and was, perhaps, more than what some clients really needed. I took this concern to heart, and worked with a few individuals to develop a standard that we feel meets everyone’s needs. The new approach uses three tiers which correspond to the unique conditions all of you encounter. It employs the scientific rigor which Airocide used to build its reputation over the last fifteen years, but gives you more flexibility to get the sale.

The new process is available for download by clicking the orange button above. I would like for each of you to read it, and make absolutely certain you understand it. This is the format which will be used for all corporate deployment recommendations going forward, and how I would like you to present to your clients. You can copy and paste what is in the document onto your own letterhead, and translate as needed. We think this will take us even further in 2017, and reach customers who may have not been previously accessible. Should you have any questions; please let us know.

David A. Ghelerter Chief Science and Technology Officer, Airocide

Cleaner Air Even on Vacation

This week I took my family for a winter getaway in the mountains of eastern Tennessee. We rented a well appointed three bedroom cabin, and showed up expecting perfection for the price I paid. While the place was immaculately clean, the serenity intoxicating, and views worth a million dollars; we were greeted by the unpleasant odor of pesticide. People come here for the reasons I described above; being miles away from town at nature’s doorstep. Of course, this means bugs. And, bugs require chemicals to remove. As you can imagine; this isn’t what the rental agency wanted to greet its guests with.

I was in luck, however, the new Airocide APS-200 PM 2.5 unit I meant to return to the office last week; was still in the back of the SUV! My eldest stepson had the good sense to bring it into our kitchen and turn it on. It worked perfectly; the smell of pesticide was completely gone within twenty minutes. Were it not for this turn of events; Wyndham Vacation Rentals would have received an irate phone call from me.

This struck me as interesting; if the new PM 2.5 unit worked for me it could work for anyone in a similar circumstance. Further to the point; I recollected another experience I had at a rental villa in Bali, Indonesia last year. Our villa sat right in the middle of the rice paddies. While it was beautiful to look at from the pool deck, when the tenders came to burn the residual from the days pruning, and smoke poured into our home; it wasn’t pleasant. I did not have an APS-200 PM 2.5 unit in that circumstance, and I wish I did.

So, I think the experience I had in these two rental homes is valuable to us as an organization. Certainly less intrepid travelers than my wife and I would demanding money back from the rental agency. So, they clearly have an incentive to provide decent indoor air quality. That is air free of odor causing VOCs, smoke, cigarette residual, allergy inducing mold, and disease causing bacteria. Our new Airocide APS-200 PM 2.5 unit performs all of these functions, and could be incredibly valuable to companies or individuals who rent real property for profit.

I would suggest placing a unit in a bedroom, as that is where a guest spends most of their time. In spite of all of the fun events available at their chosen destination; they are still going to get their eight hours sleep. This is what we recommend for our valued consumer customers in the United States. Because the client is spending most of their time in an Airocide environment; they will notice the difference.

I would also suggest having a unit in the kitchen; it worked for us on this trip and I think has enormous value. The Kitchen is one of the primary sources of PM 2.5 because of cooking activities. Having an Airocide there will help keep odors at bay, and air clear.

Lastly, many rental units, such as the one we presently occupy, allow pets. This is, of course, restricted to cats and dogs, but even one of these animals can create issues for the next guest. Dogs shed, and manage to spread odor and mess wherever they go (Note: I am a dog lover, and grew up with Springer Spaniels). Cat litter boxes leave odor that lingers for days. The Airocide APS-200 PM 2.5 alleviates issues associated with both of these creatures, and helps create the environment discerning guests expect.

So, how to tap this potentially lucrative market? I would start by spending some time on www.vrbo.com and www.homeaway.com. These are the two sources for all of the homes we have ever rented, and we do this twice a year. You will find both individuals and organizations making homes, boats, cabins, and even tiny houses available to guests for rent. Make some new contacts, and see where it goes.

We concluded a new Residential Study on our PM 2.5 unit, and I would encourage all of you to read it here.

Sincerely,

David A. Ghelerter Chief Science and Technology Officer, Airocide

Ushering In The Next Generation With Airocide

One of the noblest responsibilities each generation has is to create the next. Raising children, though, is more than just an evolutionary necessity; it is the central event that defines the lives of women across the globe. However, many are unable to carry new life to term. This has been the source of much anguish and regrettable social stigmas since time immemorial. Fortunately, modern innovation in medical science has given hope to millions of women that in the not too distant past would have had none.

In vitro fertilization is the fertilization of eggs in a test tube or other location outside the body. An egg is removed the patient’s ovaries, fertilized in a lab, and then retuned to the patient’s uterus. The entire cycle takes about two weeks. This allows women with certain genetic and acquired conditions that prevent pregnancy to come to potentially bring a fetus term.

Naturally environmental factors come into play, and air quality specifically is important for ensuring embryo viability. VOCs have been shown to be particularly harmful. They attach directly to DNA strands, and inhibit growth (Better IVF Outcomes Following Improvements in Laboratory Air Quality, Khoudja et al). This has been demonstrated in recent published work to dramatically reduce the success of pregnancies (Control of air quality in an assisted reproductive technology laboratory, Boone et al). Specific VOCs identified as problematic are: styrenes, formaldehydes, glutealdehydes, and toluene.

The connection between pregnancy success and presence of VOCs was firmly established in the published study Better IVF Outcomes Following Improvements in Laboratory Air Quality, Khoudja et al. In this work; success rates were compared before and after installation of a Honeycomb Carbon air filtration system (other factors held equal). Fertilization rates rose from 70.1% to 83.7% in a sample size of 1,403 individuals. To put these numbers in perspective; that is nearly 200 more women who carried to term. Air quality matters.

The difference between a honeycomb carbon air filter and Airocide is significant. The carbon filter has a fixed number of sites which can absorb VOCs, and once all of those sites are filled the filter becomes ineffective. In my own work; I have discovered that honeycomb carbon filters will saturate rather quickly. So, the results you get in a study such as this are likely to be unsustainable over time; particularly given the high concentrations of VOCs discovered. The Airocide NASA PCO Catalyst, however, never degrades and never saturates. It remains efficacious over it’s lifetime, and does not necessitate the constant changing required by a filter. Thus, it is my assertion that we have the opportunity to significantly improve fertilization rates in IVF clinics with our technology, even in excess of the excellent results obtained with the carbon filter.

When selecting locations for Airocide units; let the study be your guide. It focuses on the laboratory, incubation room, and adjacent hallway. Focus on these areas for recommended deployments as well as setting up case studies. VOC reductions can be quantified using sorbent tube/Gas Chromatograph analysis, portable Gas Chromatograph analysis, or PID meters. I could not locate a firm standard for sizes for these spaces, so I would encourage you to determine dimensions and other factors locally; then let’s work together to come up with a proper spec. This is a potentially game changing application for the Airocide NASA PCO technology; please see what you can do for IVF clinics in your territory.

David A. Ghelerter Chief Science and Technology Officer, Airocide

Better Air Means Safer Food

Most of the dialogue with produce growers, packers, and distributors revolves around the risk ethylene and fungus present to their product. With good reason, these two indoor air quality issues are well known to cause expensive consequences. However, the less well known threat that comes from Bacteria may well be the biggest problem they have. Strains such as Escherichia Coli (E.Coli), are abundantly present in manure used in the fields to fertilize developing food crops. It has been conclusively demonstrated that the pathogenic bacteria present in the manure spreads to the fruit through the air. If this is true, then there is likelihood of the same happening in a cold storage environment. One infected fruit could lead to many infected fruits. This can have horrific effects later in the supply chain. Staying with the E.Coli example, it causes symptoms such as diarrhea, anemia, and even kidney failure. Furthermore, outbreaks receive eager press coverage. Airocide NASA PCO technology has the ability to minimize this risk, and protect brands from unexpected and catastrophic circumstances downstream.

The foundation of this problem is presented in Airborne Transport of Foodborne Pathogens from Bovine Manure to Vegetable Surfaces(DeNiro et al). The work was published through the Environmental Sciences department at the Ohio State University in 2013. It is no surprise that produce consumption has risen dramatically over the last twenty years. The perceived health benefits, and nutritional content are the drivers. However, due to the way produce is marketed it remains relatively uncommon for it to be properly washed prior to consumption. Keywords like “fresh” and the general trust society has in consumer goods make food borne illness an afterthought. The result is that twenty percent of all food borne illness outbreaks in the United States from 1990 to 2004 came from produce products. Furthermore, it is estimated that seventeen percent of the entire US population contracts a food borne illness every year from produce consumption. DeNiro et al. recognizes lettuce, spinach, other leafy greens, and tomatoes as the primary vectors of food borne illness. E.Coli and Salmonella javiana (S.Javiana) are the primary pathogens. E.Coli is most commonly associated with leafy greens, and S.Javiana with tomatoes.

Produce products are commonly fertilized with manure from dairy cows. And, this is becoming increasingly common as organic products gain marketshare on grocery shelves. Cows shed very large lodes of pathogenic bacteria in their waste. When the waste is untreated, the pathogenic bacteria are transferred to fields where produce is in production. The bacteria are very persistent, and have been demonstrated viable for as long as 154 days after the manure was applied. This extends the timeline in which produce products can be infected to the entire growing cycle. E.Coli has even proven resistant to low temperatures and acidic soil conditions. Bacteria are transferred to produce surfaces by aerosol, which occurs when droplets dry quickly and become solid particles referred to as bioaerosols. Once the bacteria is established on the surface of the produce product, it becomes embedded in the stomata which are tiny pores used in respiration. This makes invalidation during standard post harvest washing nearly impossible.

Once produce products are harvested they are sent to packing houses to be sorted and distributed to the end user. During this process it will spend anywhere from 12 hours to two weeks in cold storage. If any of the fruit is infected with bacteria, it can spread in cold storage by the same mechanism. DeNiro et al. established the correlation between residual humidity and viability. Cold storage rooms are maintained at RH levels of 50% to 100% making aerosolization more likely. This converts non infected produce into substrates for future bacterial colonization. QA and quarantine procedures are rarely advanced enough to monitor bacterial content in incoming produce, which increases the risk of introducing pathogenic bacteria into storage environments.

If the future destination of the stored produce is a food processing facility, then the end user usually has a chlorine wash procedure or irradiation process for bacterial invalidation. However, if the recipient of the produce is selling it, as is, to the general public, pathogenic bacteria can very easily cause illness due to improper washing. Airocide can significantly lower the probability of the spread of pathogenic bacteria in a cold storage environment, and reduce the risk of human infection.

David A. Ghelerter Chief Science and Technology Officer, Airocide

The Air And The Food We Eat

While it is not a commonly known fact, air quality can dramatically impact the safety of the food we eat. What we buy in the grocery store or eat in a restaurant has often travelled a great distance to reach us. Unless something is locally sourced, it can come from distant parts of the country or even other parts of the world. This means days or even months in storage or transit. The air which your food is exposed to along the way will play a big role in how it looks, smells, and tastes when you eat it. The Airocide NASA PCO technology plays a critical role in this supply chain, eliminating harmful VOCs and pathogenic microbes in the air. This ensures that you and your family get the tastiest and safest food possible.

 

The Ethylene Problem

Fruits and vegetables are a critical part of a healthy diet. They contain many vital vitamins and minerals and are also an important source of fibre. The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) assembles a list of America’s top 20 favourite fruits and vegetables every year. The one thing you will probably notice is that none of these products is grown in your neighbourhood or even in your state. Take, for example, Bananas which are America’s reigning most popular fruit. The top 20 countries for banana production are all in either Central or South America. Even the closest banana producing countries like Mexico and Guatemala are minimum two trucking days away from the US border. More distant places like Ecuador can be as much as three weeks by ship. The same is true for many other fruit and vegetable products on this list.And, this is just to a port of entry. Once the fruit enters the United States, it is loaded onto another truck or train to be sent to a distribution centre in your area. The US is a big country, so that can take some time. All along the route, the fruit is confined in refrigerated storage. Either a packing house or back of a truck. It will ripen during this time period because of a VOC called Ethylene. This VOC is used as a ripening hormone and is why bananas in your kitchen progress from green to yellow to black with time. As a VOC, Ethylene is present in the air. In small quantities, it is a good thing, because fruit tastes better when it is ripe. However, too much Ethylene is definitely a bad thing. It can cause premature ripening and rot. For fruit packers and transporters it is a constant concern. If Ethylene concentrations grow too high in the cold storage rooms or trucks they have a product they can’t sell and a financial loss. This is, of course, bad for consumers as well. It leads to price increases which stretch family food budgets. Another problem for consumers is that they usually buy fruit to last for several days after purchase. If the fruit is already in an advanced stage of maturity, it won’t last long. This is likewise wasteful.

Airocide’s NASA PCO technology eliminates Ethylene (and other VOCs) that threaten fruits and vegetables during storage and transport. This can mean up to three extra weeks of healthy, safe product! In fact, Airocide was conceived specifically to combat the problem of too much Ethylene. In the 1990s NASA wanted to plan a manned trip to Mars. The major logistical problem they faced was feeding the Astronauts along the way. Their scientists and engineers reasoned that actually growing the green products human’s need along the way was the best method of accomplishing this. However, they also ran into the Ethylene problem. Airocide was their elegant solution, and it worked! While we never made it to Mars, the Airocide units were used aboard both the International Space Station (ISS) and the Columbia shuttle. The technology was proven effective enough to remove the Ethylene, and safe enough to use aboard a spacecraft. One could not ask for a more powerful endorsement.

Over the last twenty years, Airocide has become the world’s largest supplier of air purification technology to the perishables industry. Airocide is the only air purification technology endorsed by APEAM, which is the trade association representing Avocado growers in Mexico. You may know them from their “Avocados From Mexico” ads during the Superbowl. Mexico supplies about one-quarter of all Avocados consumed in the United States. So, if you eat Avocados with the “Avocados From Mexico” sticker you are enjoying the benefit of Airocide’s NASA PCO technology.

Meat and Seafood

Of course, the problem of airborne food spoilage and the power of Airocide to solve it doesn’t stop with fruits and vegetables. Meat and Fresh Seafood, our major sources of protein, also have threats in the air! The major cause of spoilage for these products is bacteria. Bacteria will spread even in refrigerated conditions. This can lead to both product waste and illness. You have probably heard of E.Coli. That is a bacteria, which has led to severe illness and even deaths. Airocide’s NASA PCO technology will eliminate anything organic without discriminating. So, it is just as good at removing the bacteria as it is in removing the Ethylene. This is making the technology as popular with Meat producers as it is with the fruit and vegetable folks. If you live in the United States you have probably eaten a fruit, vegetable, meat, or seafood product kept in an Airocide environment. For example, both Whole Foods and Del Monte have adopted the technology to keep the products they deliver to you fresh and safe. If the Airocide NASA PCO technology can do so much to keep your meals safe and healthy, just imagine what it can do in your home!

Better Air. Better Wine

Winemaking has been a part of cultures all over the world for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks and Romans considered it foundational to civilization. The Chinese employed local wines in both ritual and medicine. And ancient Persians considered wine to be a necessity in composing great poetry. It could be said that wine has played a more significant role in global culture than any other drink. And, demand for the drink has not slowed with time. A Booming Industry Recently Silicon Valley Bank wrote a report on the state of the Wine Industry. One of the boldest claims made was that the US wine industry is in the largest growth period in history. In 2016 790 million gallons of wine was consumed in the United States alone! And, the fastest growing markets globally are actually in East Asia. So, the industry continues to grow. What differentiates wine consumption in antiquity from today is the level of sophistication. Winemaking is both an art and a science. A good winemaker can pick the best grapes by taste. But, modernity has provided technology to supplement this time-honoured craft. One of the biggest roles that this technology plays is in preservation. Wine is a multi-billion dollar enterprise. Constructing wine caves on choice real estate in Napa Valley, Sonoma, or Santa Barbara has astronomical costs. And when the wine you produce sells for hundreds of dollars per bottle, the value of a barrel is equally staggering. So, protecting these assets from environmental damage is critical.

The Need For A Mold Air Purifier Wine caves are naturally cool and moist environments. Much like your basement at home. So, one of the most serious threats to barrels in storage is black mould. Mould thrives in moist environments, and the risk increases as the residual humidity (RH) does. Controlling the spread of black mould in a wine cave is a tricky business. If the mould establishes itself, it can spread to the valuable wine barrels in storage. Obviously, it won’t do to have black mould developing alongside your prized vintage! So, the winemaker is forced to devote many labour hours to cleaning the barrels. And, even this is difficult. Wine is a product of its environment. It absorbs the aromas and notes of what is around it. This makes using traditional fungicides such as Chlorine impossible. So, a winemaker has to employ a sulfur dioxide solution to clean the barrels. Mould is one of the ways that the Airocide NASA PCO technology benefits the wine industry. It eliminates mould spores in the air, arresting their spread. Airocide has been proven to reduce barrel cleaning time by seventy-five per cent or more. This is roughly forty to fifty labour hours! Not only does this free up the winemaker to spend time on the wine itself, but it also helps the bottom line. Most of the world’s best places for wine production have very high labour costs. One could counter the previous paragraph by asking: Why store the wine barrels somewhere with such a high RH? Why not store them somewhere dryer? The reason is the evaporative loss. Physics dictates that any substance will move from a region of higher concentration to a region of lower concentration. This gives individual molecules more room to move around. And, nature favours that. Therefore, if RH in a barrel room is not high then the liquid content of the wine will evaporate into the surrounding environment. RH levels of seventy per cent or more must be maintained to avoid this. Which is what generates the mould problem. Again, we are talking about a valuable product here. Even minor evaporative loss can mean a huge hit to the winemaker’s profitability. The Airocide NASA PCO technology allows barrel rooms to be kept at an appropriate RH level and prevent the spread of mould. This prevents evaporative loss. The Need For A VOC Air Purifier Mould is not the only airborne threat to producing beautiful wines. There is another risk from VOCs and yeasts that occurs later. The VOCs Trichloroanisole (TCA) is a molecule present in cork and other packaging materials. If it accumulates in high concentrations it can change the flavour and aroma of the wine, two attributes most commonly associated with a value. The presence of TCA in wine is commonly referred to as “corkiness” or “must”. In this case, Airocide functions as a VOC air purifier and eliminates the TCA in the air. This is important to do because even a few parts per trillion of TCA can spoil an otherwise wonderful bottle of wine. Brettanomyces or “Brett” is a yeast that is present in small quantities in most red wines. Many wine enthusiasts like it because it is an easy flavour to pick up. Some describe it as pungent, and others metallic. Obviously, individual tastes will vary, but too much Brett is usually a bad thing. At higher concentrations, it can overpower other notes of flavour and aroma. And, this can spoil the experience of a particular wine. Yeasts, like their mold cousins, are fungi that can spread through the air. The Airocide NASA PCO technology eliminates them as well.

The Need For A Home PCO Air Purifier Preserving good wine does not stop with the winemaker. It is a continuous process that the serious enthusiast or collector must maintain. Home wine cellars are growing in popularity all over the world. And, the same care taken by the winemaker must be taken by the end user. Wine should be stored at a temperature between forty-five degrees and sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit. Fifty-five degrees is often described as perfect. And RH should be maintained at fifty to eighty per cent. Again, this promotes the spread of mould. While the mould will not penetrate a properly sealed bottle of wine, it can ruin labels. This, in turn, lowers the value of the wine. Airocide NASA PCO technology offers a perfect solution. Airocide has a line of consumer products perfect for the wine collector. The units are compact, have low maintenance, and a design ideal for display. It performs the same function as the industrial PCO air purifiers, just on a smaller scale. Airocide NASA PCO technology has been a longtime partner to the world’s finest winemakers and wine enthusiasts for over a decade. Our products are present in over seventy wineries worldwide. We are the only air purification technology that has reached this level of success in the wine industry. Our products work and assist the world’s finest winemakers to achieve their best.

For The Mothers

Today the world celebrates International Women’s Day, and takes a moment to celebrate the many accomplishments of women all over the globe. One of the many incredible things women can do, for which it is certain everyone is grateful, is bear children. Having children is a big responsibility, and one that lasts a lifetime. So, Airocide wanted to devote this week’s post to something important to all of the moms out there: protecting your kids. Air Quality and Your Children When children are young, there are all kind of things to watch out for. Preventing your young one from taking off the minute your back is turned, feeding them a healthy diet, making sure they have positive influences in their life, and many other things. However, one important thing seems to be overlooked: Air Quality. Having good air quality is critical for children, and something to be thinking about from birth. Children face extraordinary risk from air pollution. Their lungs are still developing and they are very active, which leads to heavy breathing. Eighty percent of a child’s alveoli (air sacs which in aggregate form the lung) will develop after they are born. Meaning a mere twenty percent develop in utero.Alveoli are very important. This where oxygen is transferred to the bloodstream. Oxygen, of course, is critical to sustaining life. The Alveoli will continue to develop until adulthood, and critical to protect during childhood.

The Evidence The Southern California Children’s Health Study examined the long term effects of exposure to air pollution very closely. It tracked about 1,800 children between the ages of 10 and 18 from 1993 to 2001. The most dramatic conclusion of the study was that children exposed to air pollution had diminished lung development, which was never overcome. A follow up to this study was conducted from 2007 to 2011, when the air in Southern California was much cleaner. There were far fewer incidences of reduced lung development, and far fewer bronchial symptoms (coughing, congestion, and phlegm). It is true that in 2019 children spend less time outdoors than in the nineties or early two thousands. Video games and homework seem to have replaced outdoor activities. So, undoubtedly many readers will gloss over the last paragraph thinking it doesn’t apply to their family. That would be wrong. Even if you children are like the great majority of the American public who spend over ninety percent of their day in doors they are still exposed to air pollution. The reason is that most homes have air conditioning/heating units. The standard air system has a fresh air replacement rate of 30%. So, every hour nearly one third of the air in your home is being replaced by what is outside. If the air is polluted, that pollution will find its way inside. There are also many indoor sources of air pollution. All carpets, treated wood, and plastics emit pollutants called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Other common indoor activities are linked to indoor air quality issues as well such as cooking or a fire in the fireplace. So, there is a good chance that the air in your home is worse than what is outside. All of these pollutants tend to build up in an insulated environment. The Solution For Poor Indoor Air Quality So, how do you protect your children’s lungs from pollution in your home’s air? There are several important steps to take. First, make sure that your air conditioning air filter is changed once per month. Dust, dander, and other large scale pollutants can be largely removed by doing this. All of the air in your home will pass through this filter at some point. So, it is important to make sure the filter is fresh. This will help with the energy bill as well. If the filter is clogged, the air conditioner is going to have to work harder to pull air through it. The harder it works, the more it costs to run. Also, make sure to vacuum the carpeting with a decent vacuum cleaner. Your vacuum should have a HEPA filter. This will eliminate dust in the carpet, which can build up over time, and things like dust mites and other allergens found in such environments. Try to keep any VOC emitting substance in the garage or other external storage place. Things like pesticides, paints, epoxies, and cleaning solutions. And finally, get an air purifier! Air purifiers pick up where these other things leave off. They are meant to act as a complement to your air conditioning air filter. The AC filter takes care of the big stuff (dust, dander, etc) while the air purifier works on the things too small for the filter to catch. These include VOCs, PM 2.5, PM 10, mold spores, and bacteria. And, this is where Airocide can help.

Why Airocide? Airocide uses a technology based on a phenomenon called Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO). PCO has been around a while. It was discovered by two Japanese scientists, and then refined by NASA for use aboard spacecraft. So, the legacy of the PCO used in Airocidedevices is well documented. It is completely safe, and verified to work. It has even been designated as a Class 2 medical device by the FDA! Other air purification devices lack this kind of history and validation. Our story, our proof, and our longevity in the air purification space truly set us apart. On this International Woman’s Day let’s take a moment to consider the next generation of women and girls. Are they healthy? Are they getting the good air quality they need to thrive as they begin their lives? As you think about this, consider an Airocide Air Purifier. Think about how the decades of science and engineering in our air purifier can impact the life of a young lady close to you. Better air really does mean better life.

Do You Really Need An Air Purifier?At Airocide, air purification is our business. We produce two consumer and four industrial air purification products. Our company opened its doors in 2001, so we have been at this for a very long time. We think our products are the best on the market, and we happy to prove that in any way we can. Be it with a rigorous third party study, or answering every question you have on our cell phones after hours. Whatever it takes to meet your air purification needs, we will happily do. But, the reality is that air purification is not something everyone needs. And, the great products that we make are just not for everyone. We have built a reputation for transparency over the last eighteen years, so we invite to find out if what we do is for you.

Changing the Filter in the Air Conditioning – The Concept of Safe and Healthy Housing

What A Filter Is For Most people associate air purification with filters. That is a reasonable connection. And, it is probably based on a lifetime of observation. While our products do not contain conventional filters, such filters certainly have a role to play in your home. Filters catch things in a dense fiber matrix. And, for some circumstances this all that you need. For example, if you have dust in your home’s air and it is a nuisance or provokes an allergic response. A filter is without question what you need to solve your problem. But, you don’t need an air purifier. To be perfectly candid there is absolutely no reason to spend $500, $800, or $1,000 on a device which is nothing more than a box filter and powerful fan. None at all. The reason for this is that most of the people reading this have an air handler in their home. That air handler has a filter. And, all of your home’s air will be pushed through it at regular intervals. What you should do is invest in a good HVAC filter each month, and replace the old one with it. You can get a really good one at just about any grocery store for around $20. Make this a habit, and put it on your calendar for the first of each month. If you have a service to manage this for you, it is even easier. Doing this will contribute mightily to keeping the air in your home free of dust. Moreover, it will be far more effective than any filter based air purifier ever could be. Again, every bit of air in your home will pass through your HVAC filter. There is absolutely no need to invest a substantial sum of money in a single room device which will probably require $200 or more in annual filter replacements. If you are properly maintaining your air hander there is just no need for this. The other thing to do is get a really good vacuum which contains a HEPA filter, and regularly clean your floors. Pay special attention to the carpet. Years of dust can accumulate in the fibers, and it is forced into the surrounding air when disturbed. Regular cleaning will eliminate this problem. Again, a vacuum is something everyone needs and likely already owns. Proper floor cleaning and air handler maintenance will solve air quality problems for most people.

Who Needs An Air Purifier? So, who needs air purification? Anyone whose problems extend beyond household dust, dander, or pet hair. Common issues are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mold, odor, allergen, and particulate matter. All of these can be seriously detrimental to your health, and certainly merit the purchase of an air purifier. But, a conventional filter will not solve them. You need something more, and Airocide is very unique in being something more. Both of our products use a technology called PCO. It was discovered by a couple of Japanese scientists, studied academically for thirty years, refined by NASA, and tailored by us for everyday use. PCO is not easy. There are many ways to get it wrong, and only one way to get it right. If you move air too rapidly through a PCO device, you will get harmful by products. If you don’t have a sufficient amount of reaction space you will get harmful by products. If you don’t use the right kind of activating light you will get harmful by products. That is why Airocide has dedicated so much time to perfecting PCO. Our products get all of these variables right. That is why we were cleared by the FDA and the California Air Resources Board. Furthermore, all of our testing was done by a group called AQS in Atlanta, GA. They are the premier air purification testing lab in the world. We can say with total confidence our products work as advertised, and are completely safe.

The Airocide Difference We understand that an air purifier is a significant investment.And if you are considering an Airocide device, you are probably looking at other air purification solutions as well. That is perfectly reasonable. We would just say that you should look very closely at how any technology is developed, and how it is validated. The world of air purification is full of fly by night players. And, the internet is full of misinformation.Don’t end up making a very expensive mistake. Our company believes that performance should be our best advertisement. So, we do not attempt to malign the efforts of other companies in the air purifier space. However, some of these other companies do not return the favor. In the last week, we have been made aware of several outright lies told about our product. We are always happy to set the record straight, and will gladly supply hard data to back up anything we say. You can always expect transparency from Airocide. If our products are not right for you we will tell you that. If it is, we will always tell you why. We are so confident in this claim, we have listed the email address for our CTO, Mr.David Ghelerter below. Contact him anytime with any question. David Ghelerter – dghelerter@airocide.com

 

What Makes Airocide Different? Let’s face it, if you are in the market for an air purifier you have a lot of options. So many different brands, and so many different types of technology fueling those brands. Why should you pick Airocide? It isn’t the most well-known. And, it certainly isn’t the least expensive. Let’s get these questions answered, and get you up to speed on why our air purifier is the best choice you can make. Developed By NASA Probably the most interesting thing about our product is its history. The technology was after-all developed by NASA. No other air purifier on the market can legitimately make this claim. You can explore our legacy in detail on our website, or you can get it right from the source at www.nasa.gov. Type “AIROCIDE” into the search bar on the top right corner, grab a cup of coffee, and do some reading. We think it is quite interesting, and hope you will too.

The Airocide technology is based on a concept called Photocatalytic Oxidation or PCO for short. PCO was discovered by a couple of Japanese scientists, and later put into practice by NASA for a couple of its space missions. PCO relies on something called a catalyst, which in Chemistry is what gets a reaction going. That is the secret sauce you might say. Figuring out how to make the catalyst was NASA’s great contribution to the history of PCO. And, it is no small feat. PCO is very easy to get wrong. And, if you do get it wrong, you end up with harmful by-products. This was confirmed by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (smart guys) back in 2006. They used a really high air flow, and comparatively little catalyst. They ended up with VOC emissions. Not a lot, but it is kind of hard to call yourself an air purifier if you sell something that emits pollutants. Certainly not a risk that NASA could take with human lives aboard a sealed space craft. The trick to getting PCO right it turns out, was combining low air flow with lots of catalyst. That’s how they got PCO right, and so many others got it wrong. How It Works So, at this point you are probably wondering how PCO actually works. Well, we will take a step back and explain. The catalyst we mentioned is activated by a specific type of light. Light is a wave. Much like the ones you see at the shore. One of the attributes of any wave is its length, predictably called its wavelength. The light that an Airocide device uses is exactly 254 nanometers (one billionth of a meter). Producing this type of light requires custom light bulbs. This is as you can imagine difficult to do, and this is one of Airocide’s unique qualities. Using a lamp that produces any other type of light, even wavelengths which are very close can be hazardous. Light that is 180 nanometers, for example, will lead to the production of Ozone. Ozone is terrible for you to breathe, and banned in many places. So, we have to take care to get this exactly right. Once the catalyst is illuminated with this light, chemistry starts to happen. Water vapor present in the air is split in a very specific way. And, what you end up with is really unique. It is called a Hydroxyl Radical. This radical will never leave the surface of the catalyst, but is very powerful. When air pollutants (like VOCs, bacteria, viruses, mold spores, etc) collide with it, it will change the chemical structure of the air pollutants. So, you start with something harmful in the air, and using chemistry, convert it to something benign. Of course, this is a lot to digest so we have a short video to clear up any confusion. If you were paying close attention reading the previous paragraph, you probably noticed that there are no filters involved in Airocide’s PCO process. This is a true filterless air purifier. Don’t misunderstand, filters are great. You need them, and Airocide in no way replaces them. If you have an air conditioner in your home, then make sure you are changing the filters monthly. The filter is great for removing dust, pet dander, and other large things in your air. However, the types of air pollutants we are talking about – VOC’s, bacteria, viruses, mold spores, and other allergy triggers – are simply too small to trapped in a filter media. They have to be handled in other ways. Airocide uses its patented NASA PCO catalyst to chemically eliminate them.

Another Airocide advantage is that it is completely safe. It emits no harmful by-products. You don’t even have to take our word for it either. The FDA has classified Airocide as a class 2 medical device. This means that it can be used in operating rooms during surgical procedures. So, there is no deadly ozone or noxious VOCs coming from our device. Great Deal The Airocide catalyst is also self-cleaning. The Hydroxyl Radical is constantly busy eliminating air quality issues. And, because Airocide is an elimination solution there is nothing to collect on the catalyst surface. Other air purification methods such as activated carbon or PECO, become saturated and literally start losing air purifiying power as soon as it is turned on. The only maintenance an Airocide requires is one annual bulb change. Light bulbs don’t last forever, even very good ones. So, that does require regular replacement. Airocide is a truly unique air purifier. It comes from NASA. It is filterless. And, it is powerful enough to remove even the smallest air pollutants in your home. It is also proven by the FDA to be completely safe for your home. It is self-cleaning, andrequires very little maintenance. We hope this is enough to convince you to give us a try. You can do so without risk. We offer an unconditional money back guarantee for sixty days. Of course, if you still have any lingering questions you can always send us an email or message us on Facebook.

Improving Your Health At Home: A Guide – It’s no secret that you’ll begin to feel much glummer if your house is cluttered, dusty and not maintained. However, there are ways of cleaning and improving your home that not only make you feel perkier, but could have beneficial effects on your overall health. Remove hidden dust You might actually need to put the feather duster away for this one – a wet flannel might be best for those with severe allergies. Swirling dust and grit up in the air isn’t exactly ideal for sinuses. Another big-hitter for those who are susceptible to sneezing fits is your humble carpet. Carpets are naturally big magnets for allergens, as they trap tiny particles between the fibers that you walk over on a daily basis. Giving the carpet not only a vacuum clean but a wash ensures that dust and dust mites are swilled away, giving you an allergy-free carpet. Hiring a company to undergo a deep clean, which can be found at www.mytechnicare.com, is one way of solving your sniffles. Once you have cleaned your house, though, you need to ensure that you keep your house as healthy as possible. Invest in an air purifier, for instance, that can help remove dust and pet odor, as well as remove triggers for Asthma Attacks. There are many health benefits of an air purifier, as mentioned above, but they can also trap tobacco and cigarette smoke, as well as remove outside fumes and pollutants.

Have plenty of little bins As much as we put effort into improving our health, it’s impossible to prevent bugs like the cold and flu from spreading around the whole family. Viruses and illnesses are spread by passing germs from person to person, and a way to avoid that is to make sure tissues and anything we’ve touched or unwrapped go safely in the bin. Dotting peddle bins around the house avoids bundles of tissues from piling up when we or a loved one comes down with a bug. Invest in some air-cleaning plants The addition of houseplants to a room has been shown to reduce the amount of air particulates. Although, if you suffer from hay fever, it’s advised that you’re careful about the plants you select and how regularly they flower. Here’s a list of some of the biggest air cleaners:

  • Spider plants
  • Dracaena
  • Peace lily
  • Boston fern

Keep the fruit bowl in sight Bad at getting your five-a-day? Does your fruit usually go off before you get round to eating it? Putting your fruit bowl in an area you spend a lot of time in, such as the living room, is the best way to remind you to eat it. Placing it on your coffee table or computer desk means you’re less likely to keep diving into the kitchen for less healthy snacks.

Invest in a standing desk If you work from home and want to keep the circulation going, then investing in a standing desk might be a good place to start. Research has found that standing for just three minutes after sitting for 60 minutes can help reduce the effects of prolonged sitting, which has been found to be detrimental to most people’s health. You might even want to throw in some stretches and yoga poses if you’re keen on staying active while working. Building your own personal sanctuary in your house is the first step to cultivating a rested and peaceful mind, before anything else. A clean house often equals a clean mind, and you might begin to find other health benefits if you decide to add some healthy snacks and greenery, too. At the very least, doing some housework might count as a bit of daily exercise.

 

Make A New Airs Resolution This Year. I hope that everyone had a Merry Christmas and I hope that many of you got some air purifiers under the tree this year because we all need healthier and cleaner air. With the new year having just begun, everyone is making new year’s resolutions. I have a better idea. let’s make some New Airs resolutions instead. We need to clean the air in our homes and be healthier. So I challenge you to commit to cleaner air by using an air purifier in your home. There are lots of benefits to using an air purifier. Here are just a few:

They remove asthma attack triggers

Did you know that most asthma triggers are found in the home? These triggers can include dry skin cells, dirt, dust, carbon monoxide, household cleaners, air-freshening sprays, smoke from cooking, paint products, cosmetics, mold, perfumes, and much more. Even new carpets that are off-gassing can be triggers.   If not removed from the air, these harmful particles can get in your lungs and cause all sorts of problems. They are everywhere in your home and you need to remove them.

They get rid of pet dander, dust and other allergens

Allergies are no fun at all. Whether it is just itchy eyes or full blown wheezing and a runny nose, allergies stink. You can dramatically reduce your allergy problems with the simple addition of an air purifier or two in your home. It’s pretty simple really. You get the bad stuff out of your air and that means you get good stuff in your lungs. We are all much happier without allergy symptoms.

They can trap asbestos particles

Asbestos is a big problem in some environments. It’s a mineral that is made up of durable fibers and is heat and chemical resistant. It was used for many products like building materials, but since then it has been proven that asbestos can cause mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that affects the lungs, as well as other illnesses. An air purifier can help to get rid of some of the particles.

Removing pollutants from the air can reduce stress

Did you know that people who breathe unpolluted air are less stressed than those who breathe polluted air? It’s true. And it’s another good reason for us to clean up the air in our homes. When you breath in clean air, your cortisol levels decrease, which lessens your stress and allows you to relax more.

They increase air circulation, which means that they do an amazing job cleaning the air.

Think about it. Our homes are sealed. We caulk the windows, sealed the door jams and more in an effort to keep drafts out. However, these things trap the pollutants inside as well. Air purifiers can help circulate the oxygen in your home up to several times an hour. You are not only cleaning your air, but you are also circulating it and getting more oxygen.

Air Purifiers eliminate Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)

VOCs are chemicals that can reach high vapor pressure at regular room temperatures. They can damage your health and can lead to many illnesses. These chemicals are in paint, and other home furnishings, even clothes from the dry cleaners. These VOCs can be reduced simply by using an air purifier.   These are just a few of the benefits of having an air purifier in your home. There are many more. It just makes sense to keep your air clean since it directly affects our health. Wouldn’t you rather be healthy and breath easy? Of course, we all want to be happy and healthy.

Why a VOC Air Purifier? It’s Allergy Season.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are carbon based chemicals that exist as a gas at room temperature. They have a much deserved reputation as both a nuisance and a health risk. But, if you are hearing the term for the first time let’s get you up to speed. Chemicals have three forms. They can be solids, liquids, or gasses. The form in which they exist at any particular moment in time will depend on the temperature. You are probably familiar with how this applies to water. There is ice when it freezes, liquid water, and water vapor when it boils. VOCs, in contrast, exist as a gas at normal temperature. VOCs come from material in your home. Things like glues used in carpeting, or finishes for wood products are a mixture of many different chemicals. Many of these chemicals such as Formaldehyde or Benzene are VOCs. So, they will evaporate and enter the air of your home. Because, VOC emission sources are more commonly found inside, VOCs are largely an indoor air issue.

EPA Identified Sources of VOCs

Household products, including:
Paints, paint strippers and other solvents
Wood preservatives
Aerosol sprays
Cleansers and disinfectants
Moth repellents and air fresheners
Stored fuels and automotive products
Hobby supplies
Dry-cleaned clothing
Pesticide
Other products, including:
Building materials and furnishings
Office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper
Graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers and photographic solutions.Indoor VOCs should be a concern for everyone. The EPA has linked VOC exposure to a number of respiratory and cardiac issues. However, allergy and asthma sufferers are likely at an even higher risk. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has been compiling evidence for the connection between VOC exposure and increased allergy and asthma symptoms.They have concluded that connection between the two is becoming clearer, and further study is urgent. They strongly recommend that allergy and asthma sufferers reduce their exposure to VOCs as much as possible. Allergy season is right around the corner. In some parts of the country it will be in full swing by the end of the month. So, what can someone do to reduce their exposure to VOCs in their home before the riskiest time of the year for allergy and asthma symptoms? You can’t just move into a hypoallergenic bubble after all. The answer is a VOC air purifier.

VOC Air Purifiers A VOC air purifier is a device capable of removing ninety percent or more of the VOCs in your indoor air. However, not all air purifiers are VOC air purifiers. You can forget about anything that uses a filter. Even the highest grade HEPA filters (which will not be in your home) are too permeable to trap VOCs. The VOCs are just too small, having a size measured in millionths of a meter. Some filtration systems contain charcoal or activated carbon. However, most of these have what is called a honeycomb structure – it is shaped like a diamond. This construct does not create a large VOC absorbent surface area. There are engineering work arounds, but few carbon air purifiers adequately maximize for VOC absorbent surface area. The consequence is rapid saturation. And, with high CFM (cubic feet per minute) fans this problem is only enhanced. Filtration systems are not VOC air purifiers. Ozone will react with VOCs in the air, and remove them. However, Ozone Generators (also referred to as “Ionizers”) do not have any mechanism to control what the Ozone reacts with. It is just released into the air of your home. Ozone damages furniture and fabrics, and has been linked to many health problems itself. In fact, it is outright banned in many legal jurisdictions. Responsible public regulators like the EPA and California Air Resources Board agree that Ozone Generators do not make good VOC air purifiers. There is one promising technology however that is both safe and effective as a VOC air purifier. It is called Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO). The PCO phenomenon was discovered by Japanese researchers, and later used by NASA to act as a VOC air purifier for spacecraft. Air is passed through a reaction chamber, where an activated catalyst produces a chemical species called a hydroxyl radical. The radical never leaves the surface of the catalyst, so it will not create another indoor air quality issue the way Ozone does. However, it completely eliminates VOCs when the radical collides with a VOC. The products of the chemical reaction occurring between a hydroxyl radical and a VOC are harmless carbon dioxide and water vapor. Of course, the trick to making this type of VOC air purifier as effective as NASA did, is to maximize the surface area where hydroxyl radicals can form. And, fortunately this has been accomplished for home VOC air purifiers.  The results of a good PCO air purifier are very promising, and have the potential to lessen the asthma and allergy effects VOCs are responsible for. Please note that not all PCO air purifiers are created equal. There is a lot of science and engineering that goes into the manufacture of a proper PCO air purifier. If hydroxyl radical producing surface area is not maximized, catalyst chemistry not perfect, or air flow too rapid, the system can actually produce the VOCs formaldehyde and acetylaldehyde. Both are linked to increased allergy and asthma symptoms. This effect observed in a 2006 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study with a PCO air purifier pushing air at 300 CFM (cubic feet per minute). Fortunately, there are PCO air purifiers that avoid these inhibitory problems, and are outstanding VOC air purifiers.  Allergy season is a rough time of year if you suffer with allergies or asthma. Likely your symptoms are being made worse by VOCs in the air of your home. Well thought out studies from very reputable institutions suggest this. But, there is an answer to this problem: A VOC air purifier. After assessing several of the prominent air purification technologies, it was concluded that a PCO air purifier makes the best VOC air purifier. Obtain one today for an easier, less symptomatic allergy season.

 

Tree Pollen Allergies: Everything You Need To Know

Allergy season is on the way. In the southern regions of the United States it can be expected to arrive in the next week or so. Cooler climate zones may be spared for a bit longer. If you suffer with allergies, or think you may, now is the time to do your due diligence. For most of you, your allergy will result from tree pollen. However, we encourage you to seek the council of a board certified Allergist to confirm this. We will take you through everything you need to know about tree pollen, and how it provokes an immune response. Each spring, trees release tiny pollen grains to fertilize other trees of the same species. These pollen grains are carried through the air. As you can imagine, the chance that a pollen grain from one tree will successfully land on another of the exact same species is quite small. So, the plant has developed some strategies to overcome this. First, they release a lot of pollen. The more pollen grains the greater the chance one will fulfill its purpose. Second, the pollen grain is very durable. It is coated with a layer of a substance called cellulose. Cellulose is very strong, and permits the grain to persist for long periods of time. So, there is a lot of pollen in the air and it is built to last. Pollen will be most abundant on warm, windy days. When it is picked up by the wind and carried forth on air currents, you can inhale it as you breathe. Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis is the name for the response it provokes in your body. Rhinitis means inflammation of the nose. When the pollen enters the nasal passage it induces an immune response from your body to fight the invading substance. This immune response leads to the creation of mucus, which is intended to trap the pollen before it enters the lungs. However, this leads to runny nose, coughing, congestion, sneezing, sinus pressure headaches, and itchy eyes. All of which are very unpleasant to experience, and can be very problematic.

Sometimes it can be difficult to differentiate a seasonal allergy from the common cold. There are hundreds of cold viruses. Different viruses can be spread in different times and different places. However, seasonal allergies (tree pollen allergies) will appear at the same time each year. A cold may last two or three weeks, but an allergy will persist as long as the pollen in the air does. Treating allergies is difficult, but there are a number of common approaches.

Antihistamines are taken by mouth or as a nasal spray. They can relieve sneezing and itching in the nose and eyes. They also soothe a runny nose and, to some extent, congestion.

  • Decongestants are taken orally, as a nasal spray, or nasal drops. They help shrink the lining of the nasal passages which relieves congestion. They are meant to be taken short-term.
  • Nasal corticosteroids are taken in nasal spray form. They reduce inflammation in the nose and block allergic reactions. They are the most effective medicine type for allergic rhinitis because they can reduce all symptoms, including nasal congestion. Nasal corticosteroids have a few side effects. They may also require a prescription.
  • Leukotriene receptor antagonists block the action of important chemical messengers other than histamine that are involved in the allergic reactions.
  • Cromolyn sodium is a nasal spray that blocks the release of chemicals that cause allergy symptoms, including histamine and leukotrienes. This medicine has few side effects, but must be taken four times a day.

Managing tree pollen allergies is not easy. As you can see it requires constant action, visits to a doctor, and trips to a pharmacy. There may even be undesirable side effects involved. So, how can exposure to pollen be avoided or at least minimized? In the twenty first century people are spending most of their time indoors. Up to 95% of their day in fact. You may think that would take care of the tree pollen allergies, but you would be incorrect. Most people want their indoor spaces to be as comfortable as possible, and this means they have a heating/air conditioning system in their home or workplace. Heating and air systems have a thirty percent fresh air replacement rate. This means that each hour of the day, nearly one third of the air in your indoor space is being replaced with air from outside. If the air outside is laden with pollen, then the pollen will make it inside. Again, pollen grains are both numerous and durable. So, allergy avoidance takes more than just staying indoors. To remove tree pollen from the indoor air requires air purification. However, there a lot of options out there in the way of air purifiers. How does one make the right choice? First, an air purifier is a long term investment in a home. It will be there long after the pollen has disappeared from the air. So, it is best to select an air purifier has other benefits as well. There are all kinds of indoor air quality issues that will persist throughout the year which are equally unpleasant as tree pollen allergies. These may be mold spores, VOCs, SVOCs, bacteria, viruses, or fine particulate dust (PM 2.5). For your money you want something that can handle the entire spectrum of indoor air problems. It is also important that the product be safe. Ozone generators and Ionizers distribute dangerous chemicals into your living space. If inhaled, they can created serious health issues. Lastly, you want something durable that will stand the test of time.

One of the more interesting options are the Airocide Air Purifiers. They use an air sanitizing technology developed by NASA and used on the International Space Station. The technology is called Photocatalytic Oxidation or PCO for short. It relies on a light activated catalyst to take unhealthy air problems and uses the power of chemistry to render them inert. It is completely safe as the pollutant eliminating process takes place entirely within the product itself. And, they guarantee their products with a five year warranty. Airocide products are great for allergy season, and all of the air issues that last beyond it. Many of you are no doubt dreading the onset of allergy season. In a matter of days the wind will be carrying tons of pollen particles into the air for you to inhale. This means several months of devouring tissue by the box, visits to the doctor, and waiting in line for prescription products. No fun at all. This year consider avoiding the problem. Consider air purification for your home. And, when you do, take a look at the cutting edge Airocide products. It might just save your year!

 

SVOCs: Allergy Season’s Least Understood Contributor May Be Its Most Dangerous

You have probably heard the term VOC in the past. It is an acronym for Volatile Organic Compound. They are chemicals that exist as gasses at room temperature, and are considered a very serious air quality issue. The EPA and others in the know have linked them to a number of respiratory and cardiac diseases. Today, you will be able to expand your chemistry vocabulary even further, and we are going to introduce you to the SVOC. This stands for Semi-Volatile Organic Compound. A mouthful to be sure, but something you need to be aware of 2019. More Dangerous To Your Health Than Common VOCs. SVOCs are not like traditional VOCs in that they don’t always exist as a gas you can inhale. Usually you have to get up to temperatures over 200 degrees to get these things into the air. Most people like their home a bit cooler than that, so no one can blame you for not having SVOCs at the top of your mind. However, many plastic products are formed using these chemicals. Because they are not bound to the surface of the plastic during the manufacturing, the SVOCs are free to vaporize into the air. Take a look around your living room or kitchen or bedroom. How many plastic items do you see? Maybe it is your television set, or window frame, or the garbage bag protruding from beneath a lid. You can be sure that most of them are pumping SVOCs into your living space.  Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, one of the nation’s most prestigious producers of scientific knowledge have done a whole study on SVOCs. The news isn’t good. The risk is not simply an SVOCreleased from the edge of your television set andyou breathe it in, and that’s that. Not at all. These gasses are persistent. They become attached to dust, which can lie dormant in a carpet until a vacuum or stampede of kids comes through. They can also be absorbed through the skin. SVOCs are long lasting. Berkeley claims that even if the emission source is removed, they can last for years.  As allergy season gets going, the topic of SVOCs becomes very important. While VOCs are certainly malignant, they have been around humans for a long time. Many VOC sources are completely natural, like trees and plants. We have evolved for tens of thousands of years with these VOCs, and have had a chance to develop immunity. Not so with SVOCs. Human exposure to them can be measured in decades not millennia. So, there is no built up immunity to them. That makes them more dangerous to us than VOCs are.

A VOC Air Purifier For The SVOC Problem A VOC air purifier is a device capable of removing both VOCs and SVOCs from indoor air in excess of ninety percent of the baseline concentration. However, not all air purifiers are VOC air purifiers. Forget about anything that uses a filter. Even the highest grade HEPA filters (which will not be in your home) are too permeable to trap individual SVOC molecules. They are just too small, having a diameter measured in millionths of a meter. Some filtration systems contain charcoal or activated carbon. However, most of these have what is called a honeycomb geometry – it is shaped like a diamond. This construct does not provide a large absorbent surface area. The consequence is rapid saturation. And, with high CFM fanthis problem is only enhanced. Ozone will react with VOCs in the air, and remove them. However, Ozone Generators (also referred to as “Ionizers”) do not have any mechanism to control what the Ozone reacts with. It is just released into the environment. Ozone damages furniture and fabrics, and has been linked to many health problems itself. In fact, it is outright banned in many legal jurisdictions. There is one promising technology however that is both safe and effective in removing VOCs. It is called Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO). The phenomenon was discovered by Japanese researchers, and later used by NASA to remove VOCs from spacecraft. Air is passed through a reaction chamber, where an activated catalyst produces a chemical species called a hydroxyl radical. The radical never leaves the surface, so it will not create another indoor air quality issue the way Ozone does. It works by chemically reacting with the SVOC. The products are harmless carbon dioxide and water. Of course, the trick to making this process as effective as NASA did, is to maximize the surface area where radicals can form. The results of a good PCO system are very promising, and have the potential to reverse the public health controversy SVOCs are responsible for. Note that not all PCO air purifiers are created equal. There is a lot of science and engineering that goes into the manufacture of a proper PCO reactor. If radical producing surface area is not maximized, chemistry not perfect, or air flow too rapid, the system can actually produce the VOCs formaldehyde and acetylaldehyde. Both are carcinogens. This was observed in a 2006 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study with a PCO reactor transiting air at 300 CFM. Fortunately, there are PCO systems that avoid these problems, and are outstanding.  PCO technology has a great history. It has been around. It has been vetted. And, it has been associated with some of the greatest institutions science and technology has to offer. It is the solution to the SVOC problem. Allergy season is just around the corner. As you begin to make preparations to keep you and your loved one’s safe and symptom free, consider a PCO air purifier for your home to keep it SVOC free.

Your Guide To Allergy Season 2019

Today is the start of 2019. The Holidays have passed, and you have likely enjoyed a few easy going weeks surrounded by family and friends. Now is the time for rejuvenation and renewal. For resolutions to be made, and plans laid out to meet them. In short, busy is back. And, there is one huge obstacle standing between who you were in 2018, and who you want to be in 2019: Allergy Season.  What Do You Mean Obstacle?According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. More than fifty million people suffer with allergies every year. An allergy is defined as an overreaction of the immune system to something in the environment. This something is referred to as an “allergen” and can be any number of things. But, it is unique. It is causing problems for you, but not necessarily anyone else in the room. Symptoms can be coughing, wheezing, sneezing, sinusitis, or itching. And, the reactions can range from merely annoying to life threatening. They may be seasonal or persist throughout the year.

What Exactly Am I Allergic To?  Different people are allergic to different things, and will have different levels of reaction. Most common seasonal allergies are associated with pollen, dust, bacteria, molds, and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). The only way to know for certain what you are allergic to is to get a skin test from your Allergist. It is strongly suspected that there are both genetic and environmental causes to allergies. If you have a parent who is allergic to something there is a good chance you are allergic to it as well. There is also research to support that the earlier an exposure to something environmental (dust, pollen, VOCs, etc) the more likely someone will become allergic to it. So, before allergy season gets into full bloom it may be a good idea to get an appointment with an allergist set up to find out what you are allergic to. When Is Allergy Season? The start of allergy season will differ from place to place, but gets going in January in warmer parts of the country. Even if where you live typically has cooler temperatures this month, there can be cause for concern. Warmer years can lead trees to thinking spring has begun and lead to earlier pollination. This will continue throughout the spring, and therefore means more pollen in the air. But, there are other factors to consider as well. Most people stay inside during this time of year, and run the heater to keep the home comfortable. This can kick up a lot of dust, dust mites, bacteria, and mold spores. It can also increase the likelihood of VOC emissions from carpet and wood products in the home. Now is definitely the time to start preparing. Have what you need to combat allergy season as soon as possible this month.  What Should I Do About It? You should be prepared for Allergy Season both at home and away. It is always a good idea to carry a combination of over the counter nasal steroids (sprays) and a prescription anti-histamine to manage the worst of the symptoms. There are also allergy shots. However, this is a long term solution. They are administered for a period of four years, and are not pleasant. Your allergy season strategy should also involve avoiding the allergen. Since it is winter time, you are likely to be spending most of your time indoors. Avoiding allergen means keeping a strict cleaning regimen. Make sure to sanitize surfaces with anti-bacterial products, and vacuum using a HEPAVacuum cleaner. Most importantly though is to have an air purifier running continuously. Even if you don’t feel symptoms at the moment the air purifier should be running.

Which Air Purifier Should I Choose? Ozone generating air purifiers have been around for a long time. Most people are probably familiar with them, or at least know what Ozone is. It is a very reactive form Oxygen which is exhausted into a room. When it contacts bacteria or viruses it eliminates them in a chemical reaction that robs the target of electrons. This is formally called Oxidation. However, Ozone doesn’t discriminate between the good and bad. It will react with anything. This includes upholstery, paint, fixtures, and lung tissue! So, using Ozone will fade prized décor, and has been linked to very serious health problems by the EPA. So, this is not a good solution for use in a residence hall. Ozone is also illegal to use around people in many locations.  PECO is a new technology. It combines the principle of Oxidation, encountered in the description of Ozone with filtration. Instead of exhausting the agent of oxidation into a room as an Ozone generator does, it embeds it into a filter. A metal oxide catalyst is placed within a filter matrix, and activated by an LED light. The chemistry that takes place has been shown to remove dangerous air quality issues. The problem is that as the filter matrix absorbs dust, those metal oxide sites become coated. So, the PECO reactor will lose air purifying efficiency the minute it is turned on. We lack reliable data on how long it takes to become completely ineffective. But, to keep this operating at peak efficiency it would require very frequent changes of both the PECO reactor and anything acting as a pre-filter. This becomes very expensive.. Also, the LEDs in a PECO reactor can’t be changed. The observed life span of an LED is at best two years. So, the entire PECO device would need to be replaced in that time period. This makes it a very expensive choice indeed. PCO was discovered by two Japanese researchers, and subsequently used by NASA to control VOC emissions aboard the International Space Station.

Tiny glass tubes are coated with a compound called Titanium Dioxide, and then exposed to UV-C light. When this happens, the chemistry of the Titanium Dioxide is changed in a way that attracts water vapor to the glass surface. The water molecule is then cleaved in a very specific way, and something called a Hydroxyl Radical is formed. This radical will remove electrons from VOCs as well as other organic (carbon based) species in the air such as bacteria and viruses. In fact, published research has proven it very effective in eliminating both.It is a complex chemical process, but the end result is harmless carbon dioxide. It is also a passive process, and nothing is exhausted into the surroundings. The Hydroxyl Radical is stationary, and never leaves the surface of the glass. Air is pulled across this surface using a fan where it is exposed to the radical. Thus, it is completely safe. It has in fact been cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used in surgical theatres. The technology has now been developed into commercial and consumer forms, which are available for purchase. The only annual maintenance to change the lamps that activate the Titanium Dioxide, which is infrequent. The safety of PCO combined with its long lasting efficacy and low maintenance make it a perfect choice peace of mind this allergy season. Reach Those 2019 Goals  Whether you aspire to be in better shape this year, go back to school, get that promotion, or pursue a new hobby what you need is focus. Allergies are a major obstacle to that. To overcome the problem of allergy season, which you will face for the next three to six months you need to have a plan. If you think you suffer from allergies the following steps should be part of that grand New Year’s resolution.

  1. Make an appointment to see an Allergist.
  2. Stock up on recommended preventative medication.
  3. Clean you house.
  4. Get an Air Purifier.

Doing these things will minimize your risk of allergic reaction, and keep your focus where it needs to be on taking that next step forward in life.

Deadly Air In America’s Heartland

After California The two fires scorching the state of California earlier this month were devastating. They left in their path economic disruption, incalculable property damage, and loss of life. It will take communities years to rebuild from this. If there is any silver lining to be found in misery hanging over the state, it is the new public consciousness of the danger coming from particulate air pollution. The daily air quality index in San Francisco was besting Beijing, China for the worst in the world. That got people’s attention, and they started asking questions. What is PM 2.5, and what kind of a risk does it pose to me and my family? Hopefully this dialogue will continue after the fires have been extinguished. The problem of poor air quality isn’t going to pass with the fires, and isn’t limited to large urban areas in California. In fact, under normal circumstances the problem of particulate air pollution (PM 2.5) is worst in the Midwest, Upper South, and Northeastern United States.

Why The Air In The Heartland is Unhealthy The grey triangles on the map represent coal fired power plants. Most of them are located in the area of the United States between the Atlantic seaboard and the Missouri River. Coal is a fossil fuel that forms when dead plant matter is converted into rock by exposure to high temperature and pressure over millions of years. When it is burned it produces energy. So, it is used a source of electricity generation. In a coal fired power plant, the coal is first pulverized, and then burned in a furnace. When the coal is burned it releases its contents into the air as pollution. This includes fine dust, nitrogen and sulfur compounds, as well as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). All of these components aggregated together are measured as PM 2.5. Thus coal air pollution is concentrated in a specific area of the country. The Union of Concerned Scientists attributes the following to coal air pollution:

  • 41.2 tons of lead, 9,332 pounds of cadmium, and other toxic heavy metals.
  • 576,185 tons of carbon monoxide, which causes headaches and places additional stress on people with heart disease.
  • 22,124 tons of volatile organic compounds (VOC), which form ozone.
  • 77,108 pounds of arsenic. For scale, arsenic causes cancer in one out of 100 people who drink water containing 50 parts per billion.

The Contributions of Industry However, coal burning is not the only reason for heightened air pollution in the northeastern quartile of the United States. This is the epicenter of American manufacturing.

This map details the location of manufacturing and industry in the United States, and it parallels nicely with the one detailing particulate pollution. The industries primarily responsible for air pollution are the petroleum and petrochemical production, the chemical industry, mining, metal production, and food production. These industries try to locate as close as possible to the populations served, so they are a major cause of pollution in high density areas of the United States.

 

 

This is made clear in the map plotting air pollution and industry in the city of Chicago, which is the third largest metropolitan area in the United States. Not only does the industrial activity itself generate pollution, it draws diesel trucks which compound the problem. Government agencies have identified the following issues with industrial air pollution:

  • Sulfur dioxide: respiratory symptoms and lung function disturbances especially among risk groups: asthmatic children and adults and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and bronchitis sufferers.
  • Fine Dust: respiratory morbidity and mortality; cardiac morbidity and mortality. Particulates with a smaller diameter cause greater health damage because they penetrate deeper into the respiratory tract.
  • Nitrogen oxides: inflammatory responses in the respiratory system; increased frequency of respiratory symptoms (attacks) among asthmatics and COPD sufferers; damage to fetuses due to exposure by pregnant women.
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs): carcinogenicity in some of the compounds; damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system; eye, nose and throat irritation; headaches; loss of coordination; nausea; shortness of breath; allergic skin reactions; fatigue and dizziness.

An Indoor Problem  So, if you live in the Midwest, Northeast, or Upper Southeastern United States you are at risk for air pollution related health problems. However, restricting your time outdoors will not reduce your risk of exposure. Winter is on the way, and temperatures are dropping in this part of the nation. So, naturally people spend more time indoors where it is warm. But, keeping the indoors warm means running the heater. This create more demand for the electricity produced from Coal, which is a substantial part of the problem. It also brings air from outside into the house. Most air handlers have a thirty percent fresh air replacement rate. This means that up to one third of the air indoors is being replaced with outdoor air at any given time. This is true at home, at work, and other public spaces. Awareness of the problems associated with burning coal and sustaining heavy industry, which are so dangerous to society are starting to generate change. Only thirty percent of America’s electricity now comes from coal, and it is rapidly being replaced with cleaner burning natural gas. And, Industry is being held accountable. However, there is a long way to go before the risk is abated.  Protecting Your Family The solution to this is air purification. Everyone in America’s Heartland should own an air purifier given the ubiquity of coal burning and industrial activity. But there are so many options out there, where does one begin? To start lets address the problem in specifics. What is this PM 2.5 thing that keeps being mentioned in the news and in government warnings? PM 2.5 stands for particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less. A micron is one millionth of a meter, so really small stuff. It is made up of three components: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Inorganic (no carbon) gasses, and fine dust. So, an air purifier has to have considerable complexity to handle all three components. One single air purification technology simply won’t do. Fortunately there is a product on the market that can manage each of these three components separately.

The Airocide APS-200 PM 2.5 is specifically designed to manage the problem of particulate matter in the air. So, it is perfect for the concerned heartlander. Airocide is an established brand in the air purification market. They licensed its iconic PCO technology from NASA back in 2001, and have been the global leader in industrial air purification ever since. Their technology is primarily used as a VOC air purifier to remove a VOC called Ethylene from inside cold storage rooms where picked fruit is stored. Ethylene is the hormone that instructs a fruit to ripen. But, if there is too much it can cause fruit to rot prematurely. The technology has also been adopted by Healthcare providers all over the world and over 90 California wineries to keep the air clear and healthy. In 2017, they introduced the APS-200 PM 2.5 home air purifier. It combines the VOC air purifier abilities of PCO with several important new media to function as a total solution to the problem of PM 2.5.

This new product includes a carbon/permanganate media (Stage 1) which is perfect for the inorganic gas component of PM 2.5. It is not the ordinary carbon filter one finds on the grocery store shelves. It is laser formed into a microarray that creates billions of binding sites to which inorganic gasses can stick. This is the most powerful absorbent on the market today.They added a MERV-12 filter (Stage 2) to the mix that is perfect for fine dust. It will capture at least eighty percent in a single pass of air through the unit.Finally, the PCO components (Stage 3 and 4) completely eliminate the VOCs. The combination of these air purifying stages makes the Airocide APS-200 PM 2.5 a perfect solution for the PM 2.5 originating in smoke stacks of coal plants and factories. It is also designed to be long lasting. Most air purifiers require frequent and expensive filter changes. This product does not. The annual cost is less than half of that of other air purifiers. If you live in the part of the United States most afflicted by air pollution, get this air purifier!

How Air Quality Is Affecting Your Dog’s Health

They are part of our families, our best friends, and constant companions. Dogs can turn a bad day around, or be a caring babysitter when you need to get some work done. When you think about it they dedicate everything to our well-being and only ask for a little food and water in return. So, as the human caregivers, we owe it to them to keep them healthy and happy. What Makes Your Dog Sick Unfortunately, our furry friends are as susceptible to illness as we are, and can become sick in the same ways. However, getting sick is far more consequential for a dog than it is for a human. One of the most common illnesses our dogs face is called kennel cough. It comes from a bacteria named Bordetella bronchiseptica which spends a good part of its life in the air. The most common places to find this bacteria are, rather predictably, where one finds a lot of dogs. This includes veterinary clinics, kennels, pet daycare centers, and dog shows. However, it is not unknown to find it in the air of homes. So, this should be on every pet owner’s radar.Kennel cough is a respiratory illness that causes a strong cough, and it is highly contagious. It is particularly pernicious to puppies, whose immune systems have not yet fully developed. Kennel cough is treatable, but is an absolutely miserable experience for a beloved pet. It is also a legal liability. Customers whose pets return home with kennel cough rarely remain customers. They may also have attorneys on retainer! Another common illness for dogs is canine influenza. Dogs can get “the flu” just as we can. It has many of the same attributes as kennel cough. It is most commonly spread in places where dogs congregate, it is a respiratory illness, and it spreads through the air. However, the source of canine influenza is a virus not a bacteria. Viruses are notoriously difficult to remove from open-air areas. It is hotly debated amongst scientists if viruses are “alive” or simply parasitic genetic material that causes illness. What is known is that they have very strong defensive systems. In the inert phase (as in not infecting a host cell) the virus is known as a virion. This is a protein capsule enclosing the DNA or RNA that reprograms the cell. It is surprisingly complex and resilient. Also, the large quantities of the virions make it very difficult to eliminate the threat.  Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) as its name suggests is also viral. Many dogs are vaccinated for it but is very dangerous for puppies and young adult dogs who may not have received the shot yet. CDV causes severe neurological symptoms and even death. While this disease is rare, it is spread through the air and is something dog lovers should be aware of.

Air Purification To Keep Your Dog Healthy

We have examined several well-documented dog diseases, and the factor common to each of them is that they are all airborne. So, to adequately protect our pets in both the home and anywhere they may travel for medical attention or play, there needs to be a way to clean the air. Obviously, there are a lot of options when it comes to air purification. The basic requirements for helping dogs though is that it must eliminate bacteria and viruses.  Whenever the phrase air purification is uttered most people visualize a filter. This is natural, over 90% of Americans have some kind of air handling system which requires a filter change. But, a filter will not work in this case. The filter pores are simply too large for bacteria and viruses, which are too small to see with the naked eye. They will pass through even the best allergen resistant filters uninhibited. What is needed is technology.

Ozone Generating Air Purifier

Ozone generating air purifiers have been around for a long time. Most people are probably familiar with them, or at least know what Ozone is. It is a very reactive form Oxygen which is exhausted into a room. When it contacts bacteria or viruses it eliminates them in a chemical reaction that robs the target of electrons. This is formally called Oxidation. However, Ozone doesn’t discriminate between the good and bad. It will react with anything. This includes upholstery, paint, fixtures, and lung tissue! So, using Ozone will fade prized décor, and has been linked to very serious health problems by the EPA. So, this is not a good solution for use around pets. Ozone is also illegal to use around people in many locations.

PECO Air Purifier

PECO is a new technology. It combines the principle of Oxidation, encountered in the description of Ozone with filtration. Instead of exhausting the agent of oxidation into a room as an Ozone generator does, it embeds it into a filter. A metal oxide catalyst is placed within a filter matrix and activated by an LED light. The chemistry that takes place has been shown to remove dangerous air quality issues. The problem is that as the filter matrix absorbs dust, those metal oxide sites become coated. So, the PECO reactor will lose air purifying efficiency the minute it is turned on. We lack reliable data on how long it takes to become completely ineffective. But, to keep this operating at peak efficiency it would require very frequent changes of both the PECO reactor and anything acting as a pre-filter. This becomes very expensive. Many pet owners lack the financial resources, and this could become cumbersome. Also, the LEDs in a PECO reactor can’t be changed. The observed lifespan of an LED is at best two years. So, the entire PECO device would need to be replaced in that time period. This makes it a very expensive choice indeed.

PCO Air Purifier

PCO was discovered by two Japanese researchers and subsequently used by NASA to control VOC emissions aboard the International Space Station.

Tiny glass tubes are coated with a compound called Titanium Dioxide, and then exposed to UV-C light. When this happens, the chemistry of the Titanium Dioxide is changed in a way that attracts water vapor to the glass surface. The water molecule is then cleaved in a very specific way, and something called a Hydroxyl Radical is formed. This radical will remove electrons from VOCs as well as other organic (carbon-based) species in the air such as bacteria and viruses. In fact, published research has proven it very effective in eliminating both.It is a complex chemical process, but the end result is harmless carbon dioxide. It is also a passive process, and nothing is exhausted into the surroundings. The Hydroxyl Radical is stationary, and never leaves the surface of the glass. Air is pulled across this surface using a fan where it is exposed to the radical. Thus, it is completely safe. It has in fact been cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used in surgical theatres. The technology has now been developed into commercial and consumer forms, which are available for purchase. The only annual maintenance to change the lamps that activate the Titanium Dioxide, which is infrequent. The safety of PCO combined with its long-lasting efficacy and low maintenance make it a perfect choice for pet owners or caregivers.

Help Your Dog Breathe Easier

We opened by opining about how our dogs enrich our lives. The fact is most people are unaware of what can make their dog sick. It just doesn’t make the headlines. But, it should. And, we no longer have the excuse of ignorance. Providing our caring companions with safe indoor air free of the microbes which can cause them harm is simply the right thing to do.

Resting Easy: The Air Quality Issues Facing Hotels

For anyone away from home a hotel room is a sanctuary. It is a place to rest after a long day of meetings, or where the family gathers after an active day of vacation. Whether someone is traveling for business or pleasure it is likely where they will be spending most of their trip. This makes a hotel’s indoor air quality very important for both health and comfort.  There are many factors which burden the air quality in a hotel room. The level of air pollution outside which originates from vehicles, industrial activity, and other sources is extremely important. This is a common source of PM 2.5, which is a mixture of microscopic particulates and a harmful array of organic and inorganic gasses. There are also many sources of air pollution inside the room itself; these include fabric and buildingmaterials, carpets and soft furnishings, cigarette smoke, cleaning chemicals, perfumes, and salon products. These sources are responsible for most of the Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) content in the air. These VOCs can quickly reach concentrations that trigger allergy/asthma responses or other respiratory issues. Ventilation rates (the rate of exchange of outdoor air with indoor air) strongly exacerbate indoor air quality issues. Even with modern HVAC systems the “fresh-air” exchange rate rarely rises above 30%, which means these indoor air pollution problems will persist for a long period of time in the hotel. It also means that a problem in one part of the hotel can quickly become a problem elsewhere, as air is moved from place to place through the duct work. Moisture is also a critical factor in that it leads to the propagation of mildew and other molds in the rooms as well as kitchen, indoor pools, and spas. The table below lists the most common indoor air quality issues plaguing hotels, their sources, and the related health issues.

Indoor Air Quality Issue Sources Related Health Issues
Ammonia Cleaning products Irritates eye and nose
Bacteria Legionella, mildew, other molds Serious illness and death
Dust Carpets, surfaces, and tobacco products Allergy/Asthma symptoms
Formaldehyde Foam insulation, fabrics, furniture, fire retardants, adhesives, carpet backing, and tobacco products Irritates eyes and nose. Causes headaches. Triggers allergy/asthma symptoms.
Odor Cooking, smoking, perfume etc. Annoyance, stress, and allergy/asthma symptoms.
Viruses, infectious diseases Humans and animals, e.g. SARS and Bird Flu Serious illness and death
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Solvents, aerosol sprays, cosmetics, dry-cleaning, paints, pesticides, tobacco products Irritates eyes and nose. Causes headaches. Triggers allergy/asthma symptoms

The above listed range in gravity from mild annoyance to life threatening. A hotel is legally responsible for the safety and well-being of it’s patrons. However, indoor air quality rarely makes the short list of concerns. This should change. Below is a summary of the more severe indoor air quality problems. Legionnaire’s Disease: This is a rare form of pneumonia that is contracted through inhalation. It is commonly associated with improper maintenance of HVAC systems, locker room facilities, water fountains, and spas. It is potentially fatal, and responsible for approximately 4,000 deaths per year (worldwide). In many jurisdictions, hotels (and other companies) found responsible for incubating the Legionella bacteria are subject to prosecution and fines.

Molds: Certain molds are highly toxic. For example the Stachybortus chartarum, which thrives in humid conditions, can cause hay-fever like symptoms that have particularly acute consequences for guests with chronic lung issues (such as asthma or COPD). Guests with lower immunity are also at high risk. This is a source of significant financial liability for a hotel in humid climates.  Allergies: There are many factors that can trigger allergies. Dust is a common culprit, but so are VOCs. An allergic response to these things will certainly make a guest’s stay less pleasant. In spite of the relative obscurity in which the indoor air quality issues dwells, hotels are actively seeking a solution to these problems. We will take a look at a few, and offer constructive criticism. Air quality problems require an air sanitizing solution capable of mitigating each of the issues in the matrix listed a few paragraphs prior.

Example: Scandic Scandic has more than 11,500 ‘eco-rooms’ which are popular with guests because of their Nordic natural aesthetics, and the better indoor air quality they provide for allergy sufferers. The company renovates around 2,000 rooms each year, all of which are carried out according to the Scandic Environmental Refurbishment Equipment and Construction Standard (SERECS) which was introduced in 2001. All floors are made of sustainably-sourced wood, as is the furniture, and textiles used are wool or cotton, with as few fittings as possible made of chrome, rare earth metals, or plastic. Chilled beam technology is used to create a comfortable in-room climate, and climate control (as well as all other energy use in the hotels) is on a highly energy-efficient ‘on-demand’ basis. Jan Peter Bergkvist, Director of Environmental Sustainability for Hilton International Operations and Scandic stresses that focused maintenance of all air handling units and changing filters is a crucial, and often forgotten, part of improving in-room quality. “We also use central vacuum cleaners to improve air quality and at Scandic we do not use air-humidifiers in order to avoid the risk of bacteria building up. The new downtown Scandic Anglais in Stockholm, Sweden is our first hotel where we are using non-chemical, steam cleaning of guest rooms to further improve air quality and to minimise the spread of man-made substances” he says. (Source: Greenhotelier.org) The changes that Scandic is introducing in their hotels in Europe is laudable. They are limiting the manufactured products in the room which emit VOCs (inclusive of Formaldehyde), and taking some unique maintenance approaches. Using HEPA Vacuum cleaners and water based steam cleaning removes microscale dust particles which provide a comfortable environment to dust mites. It also limits the amount of dust that ends up suspended in the air of the room. However, HVAC filters require constant monitoring, and should be changed once a month. It remains to be seen if this can be accomplished organization wide. Furthermore, the permeability of the filter will determine the size of particles trapped. Most HVAC filters will not remove PM 2.5. In high pollution environments where air handlers have fresh air replacement this will be a constant problem. Furthermore, filters will not have any efficacy in reducing biological indoor air quality issues. Bacteria, mold spores, and viruses are just too small. Lastly, the Chilled beam technology is expensive, and not as efficient at heating and cooling.

Example: JW Marriott Hong Kong Many people know of tea tree oil as an essential oil for massage and body treatments in spas. It was also widely used during the World War 1 to treat wound before the advent of penicillin. Because of the oil’s ability to kill microbial life, the JW Marriott in Hong Kong adds it on a quarterly basis to the fresh air supply system where it is particularly effective in stopping mold growth. The use of tea tree oil has reduced the incidence of mildew in the air and corners in the rooms, particularly during summer periods when the average humidity reaches 85 per cent. The air-conditioning ducts and fan coil units are also cleaner than they were found to be in the past. The practice has been carried out throughout the hotel since 2000 and there are now seldom guest complaints about mold and mildew. In order to have total confidence, the hotel took air samples and tested them for mold with a self-test laboratory kit in 2003. All the results, except for one sample from the garbage room, were negative. In 2004 the hotel employed an IAQ analysis company to test its air quality. Hundreds of air samples were taken at various points throughout the hotel and apart from on the floors permitting smoking, the results were very good. The hotel is reducing smoking floors year by year and currently it is permitted in only 11 per cent of rooms. Although tea tree oil has not been laboratory proven to kill the bacteria that cause Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the hotel applied it to the fresh air system each month during the outbreak in Hong Kong as a precautionary measure. (Source: Greenhotelier.org) The problem here is that tea tree oil is only effective for a short period of time after it is applied to the central air system. And, this solution is only applicable where there is a central air system. Many hotels, even very nice ones, lack a central air system. Also, tea tree oil has a distinct odor which may be offensive to some guests.

Example: J W Marriott Mumbai, India In November 2005 the JW Marriott Mumbai hosted India’s first indoor air quality conference with the help of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA). They looked at issues such as proper duct cleaning and coil treatment using enzyme-based bio-active chemicals. As a result of the conference the hotel decided to start an awareness-raising campaign as to the importance of IAQ, both in new building design and in the renovation of existing facilities. The hotel is now focusing attention on the four key elements of ventilation, filtration, pressurization and maintenance of HVAC systems. Dust removed from the ducts resulted in an increase in air flow velocities through the air-handling units (AHUs) of between four and 69 per cent and a decrease in the pressure drop over the coil. This maximizes air change through the heat exchanger and improves heat transfer. The biggest benefit of a planned duct maintenance program according to Sunil Relia, Director of Engineering is that “it prevents the growth of fungi, mold and other microbiological organisms so we get clean and healthy air to breathe”. (Source: Greenhotelier.org) Biologically based solutions to clean HVAC coils are a good thing. However, this does absolutely nothing to control outdoor sources of pollution that will, inevitably, penetrate the interior environment. It also does nothing to control VOC emissions in rooms, or moisture related issues that come from a shower. After examining a few examples of what some premier global hotels are doing about the issue of air quality it is obvious that those who choose to pay attention to this problem are doing is attempting to solve it piecemeal. What is needed is something more comprehensive. Air purification is what is needed. While addressing individual issues at the source is equally important, there needs to be some means to manage the problem as it exists. Fortunately, there is a product available that offers a complete solution to all of the air quality problems.

This product is a VOC air purifier with the ability to remove PM 2.5. The technology used to eliminate VOCs and biological air quality issues is called Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO). It was discovered by two Japanese scientists, and has been used by NASA to eliminate VOCs aboard the International Space Station and the Columbia shuttle. Basically, it employs a catalyst which oxidizes VOCs. That means it removes electrons from them, and chemically converts them to harmless substance (CO2). Air purification technologies appear all the time, and to be candid most of them are nothing but hype. It can take regulators years to catch on to something untoward, and equally long for illuminating product reviews to sound the alarm in such a case. The great thing about PCO is that has been around for a while. It has been proven effective by reputable groups, and even certified by the FDA as completely safe. Furthermore the product has a carbon/permanganate filter media in addition to a MERV-12 filter. This provides excellent PM 2.5 reduction.  Ideally, hotel chains will come around to air purification as a solution to the problem of indoor air quality. It is perfect for rooms themselves. However, they should also be placed in public spaces, kitchens, indoor pools, spas, and restrooms. All of these locations are sensitive to the air quality problems we raised. In the meantime, frequent hotel guests should consider taking an air purifier with them on their travels. The product mentioned in this article is easy to transport. Air purification properly deployed has the ability to control indoor air quality, and let guests rest easy.

What Is The Color Of Safe?

Like many family men, I find myself a bit overwhelmed preparing for a visit from my in-laws. They live in the United Kingdom, so they stay for two or three weeks. This year was a bit more challenging than others. My wife received a considerable promotion this year, and practically lives at work. So, the task list for this “work from home” husband, is considerable. I’m sure many of the guys reading this can relate. One of the items on my to-do list was to paint the upstairs bedroom. I haven’t painted anything in quite some time, and the first thing that really struck me was the smell! It is awful to begin with, and becomes progressively worse when you are trapped in a bedroom sized for child. What in the world makes paint smell the way it does? Is it bad for me? And, what can I do about it? If one spends a few minutes on Google, it is easy to learn that paint odor is caused by Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs for short. But, what is a VOC? The EPA defines it as “an organic chemical compound whose composition makes it possible for them to evaporate under normal indoor atmospheric conditions of temperature and pressure”. That is a lot to take in, so let’s break it down a bit. First, an organic chemical compound is anything based on the element carbon. Second, the term volatile means a liquid that evaporates at room temperature. So, VOCs are chemicals based on the element carbon that exist as a gas in conditions typical of your home. There are literally thousands of different VOCs. Some of them come from natural sources like vegetation. Others come from man-made sources like vehicle exhaust, air fresheners, or paint!

In paints, VOCs are used as solvents. Paint has the resin, which gives you your prized color. They also contain water, which keeps the paint in a manageable liquid form. A solid colored resin, would be difficult to use to color your wall after all. The problem is these two things don’t mix naturally. You have probably heard the term oil and water don’t mix, and that is literally what we are talking about here. Resins are hydrophobic, meaning they don’t mix with water. Water has a very unique chemistry, which is immensely helpful in other areas but doesn’t exactly work in our example. As most people are aware, the water molecule is composed of Hydrogen and Oxygen. The Oxygen molecule is very electronegative, which means that it loves to attract electrons. So in the water molecule, electrons of all the atoms will spend most of their time around Oxygen. Electrons are the “negative charge” carriers, and this creates a situation where the Oxygen end will have more negative charge, and the Hydrogen end will have more positive charge. Negatives and positive attract, so this is why water is unique. Hydrophobic substances do not behave this way. Their electrons are evenly distributed, and do not exhibit the charge separation seen in water. They are consequently excluded by the water. Thus, the term hydrophobic.  So, how do the folks making the paint get the resin to mix with water given that chemistry seems to object to this mix? VOCs! These compounds have both polar and non-polar regions. So, they will mix with both the resin and the water. And, you have paint! You, also have VOCs! They are in the paint, and by definition they give off gas. So, they are now in your house. That is a problem. Not only do they smell awful, they aren’t good for you. The EPA has linked VOCs to fairly mild problems like eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, loss of coordination, and nausea. And, also to more serious issues like damage to kidneys and the central nervous system, as well as certain types of cancers. It is fair to say that when you find yourself in that small room, inhaling paint fumes this is something to keep in mind. What you need is a good VOC air purifier.

Admittedly a good VOC air purifier is a hard find. VOCs are just a collection of gas molecules which are about a millionth of a meter across. This is simply too small for even a high grade HEPA filter to trap, and filtration devices will not work for this purpose. Ozone generators and “ionizers” are not good options eithers. Both exhaust harmful substances into the environment, which are just as harmful as the VOCs. Some legal jurisdictions have even gone so far as to outright ban these because of the health risk, so it may not even be a purchase option where you live. Activated charcoal has some promise. These types of filters have microscale grooves that absorb the gas molecules. The problem is that they saturate rather quickly, especially if exposed to high air flow rates and high VOC counts (like when you are painting!). This gets rather expensive over time, and it is impossible to know exactly when these things have reached full capacity. There is a promising technology though, and it is called Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO). It was discovered by two Japanese scientists, and has been used by NASA to eliminate VOCs aboard the International Space Station and the Columbia shuttle. Basically, it employs a catalyst which oxidizes VOCs. That means it removes electrons from them, and chemically converts them to harmless substance (CO2). Air purification technologies appear all the time, and to be candid most of them are nothing but hype. It can take regulators years to catch on to something untoward, and equally long for illuminating product reviews to sound the alarm in such a case. The great thing about PCO is that has been around for a while. It has been proven effective by reputable groups, and even certified by the FDA as completely safe.Most people do not have the time or inclination to spend hours researching competing air purification technologies, and sort through fact vs falsehood. So, history and reputation are critical. VOCs are in your paint, even in products marked “low VOC”. So, you will be breathing them during a DIY project. Especially in an enclosed space. This isn’t good for you! So, go grab yourself a good PCO VOC air purifier when you make the run for your next gallon!

Better Air Means Fresher Seafood

Seafood is a staple food enjoyed by nearly every culture on earth. It is probably also considered one of the most quality dependent food products there is. Many pay a premium for freshness, and have high expectations of what they are buying. One could be forgiven for not immediately associating air quality with the condition of their seafood, but it is in fact of critical relevance. What is in the air is what is on your prized meal, and therefore what you will be eating. There are two aspects of air quality that are relevant to control for safe seafood: bacteria, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Each poses its own unique complication. Like any perishable good, seafood has a shelf life. This is the amount of time someone has from the date of purchase to safely consume it. The limiting factor for shelf life is the bacterial count in the air. This formally referred to as the total viable bacteria count (TVC). It isn’t static over time, and can grow very rapidly. Bacteria reproduce themselves through a process called binary fission. This is where one bacteria cell divides in two, producing two identical daughter cells. Entire populations can double this way in as little as half an hour. Many participants along the seafood supply chain will attempt to arrest this process by lowering the temperature to one to ten degrees centigrade. Just above freezing point, but still quite cold. This does keep some types of bacteria from contaminating the seafood, but by no means all. Several common types of Bacteria will continue to grow and replicate even at a lower ambient temperature. Mesophiles grow at temperatures between 10 and 45 degrees Celsius, Psychrophiles between 0 and 28 degrees Celsius, and Psychrotrophs between 10 and 45 degrees Celsius. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations has an excellent piece describing the connection between airborne bacteria, and spoilage of fresh seafood. It is something every consumer should take the time to read and understand. Spoilage of seafood products is both an economic and health issue. The wholesalers and grocers purchase from the source. If the product spoils before it can be sold, it has to be thrown away. This gets quite expensive of course, and no doubt the increased cost is passed along to the consumer in some way or other. It is also a great risk to health. Many will purchase fish or shellfish, and leave them in the refrigerator for another day. Unless the odor becomes overpowering, spoilage may go completely unnoticed. According to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) 48 million Americans get sick from something they eat every year. Most recover without needing serious medical attention. However, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die. We list these figures to stress the relevance of good air quality. Most people who get sick from a bad piece of fish or shrimp basket will only have a couple days of discomfort. But, for a not insignificant number of people it can lead to enormous hospital bills or worse.

Bacteria are ubiquitous in nature, and therefore going to be present with any fresh caught seafood product. But, the type of seafood product will play a role in spoilage. Flat fish spoil more rapidly than round fish. All fish have a unique chemistry in their cells. The fats that insulate them from the cold ocean, contain fewer hydrogen atoms than most mammals. This is due to what is called a double bond, which means there are two bonds instead of one between individual molecules that make up the fats. Hence the term unsaturated fat. The consequence of this is that fats will remain liquid even at low temperatures. Flat fish have more of these unsaturated fats, and when the fish dies bacteria will oxidize these fat compounds. Thus, it will be a more rapid degeneration. The condition of fish when caught also plays a role. Fish that are exhausted as a result of struggle and rough handling will spoil faster. Again, bacteria are everywhere. The more exposure a seafood product has to air, humans, mud, and other species of animal the more likely they are to decompose. Fish that have recently eaten, and have food in their gut are also more likely spoil. While it is impossible for a fisherman to determine this from a distance, there is a significant consequence to the consumer. These fish will have higher bacteria counts as a consequence. When that fish begins decomposition, the bacterial colonies resident on that particular fish can release individual bacteria into the air. This how bacterial colonies grow and propagate themselves. It can also lead to the contamination of other adjacent seafood products. Any seafood product will be more susceptible to spoilage that other meat products because it has a lower pH, which acts as a catalyst for bacterial growth. It is important to purchase seafood from reputable, responsible sellers who adhere to the strictest quality control protocols. But, many of the things that propagate bacterial growth are beyond anyone’s control. So, as has been suggested here, there will inevitably be some spoiled products in any lot. However, the way a seafood wholesaler or grocer manages air quality will play a significant role in preventing the spread of bacteria to otherwise healthy fresh caught products.  The early stages of bacterial decomposition in fish involve the use of non-protein nitrogen (NPN) compounds. These are nitrogen based compounds that microbes scavenge to build proteins. The usually include urea, biuret, and ammonia. All of which are present in the fresh seafood product in trace amounts. Not perceptible to a human, but very alluring to a bacteria. As the bacteria continues its nitrogen feast, it produces Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). These are very perceptible to humans, and what we commonly call fish odor. The most common are Trimethylamine (TMA) and Indole. Both smell terrible, and are a nuisance. They can also produce skin rashes, and breathing issues in some people if the concentration is high enough. Arresting the spread of these VOCs can be accomplished with good air quality control.  Control of both bacteria and VOCs in the air is difficult. It cannot be accomplished with the types of filters used in cooling systems to remove particulates. They are simply too small for a filter to trap. Ozone generators gained popularity for a time. Ozone is a form of oxygen that serves as an oxidizing agent. This means it will remove electrons from certain chemical structures. Thus, it is effective against both bacteria and VOCs. The problem is that Ozone is non-discriminatory. It will also oxidize the tissue of the seafood products causing “burn”, and will also cause health problems for whoever breathes it in. Many cities, states, and countries have outright banned the use of Ozone wherever people are present. A new solution has emerged that is specific enough to remove both of these air quality issues, but is also completely safe for both people and product. It is called Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO). It uses a catalyst, which when activated by UV light will produce Hydroxyl Radicals from residual humidity. The Hydroxyl Radical is also an oxidizing agent, but a much more powerful one than Ozone. It will also remain tethered to the catalyst, and will never become free to menace the surroundings. If air is pushed across such a PCO catalyst it will be cleansed of both bacteria and VOCs. Recent use in Australia has proven this to be the most effective air quality control method for fresh seafood. Using PCO technology across the seafood supply chain will lead to less spoilage. For industry participants this means healthier profit margins and fewer liability issues.For the general public this translates into better prices for a cherished meal, and fewer incidence of spoilage related health problems.

Seafood is one of the healthiest proteins you can eat. It is lean, and full of Omega-3 fatty acids that the body needs but cannot produce on its own. It is also one of the largest sources of food related illnesses due to bacteria. Bacteria are not strictly a surface problem that can be cured with a good cleaning regimen. They live and reproduce in the air. This means that any good quality control protocol should account for air quality. The most effective way of removing bacteria as well as annoying odor causing VOCs from the air is to use a state of the art PCO air purifier. They are efficacious, and completely safe. By making this technology commonplace wherever seafood is sold we can ensure healthy, long lasting, and tasty seafood.

Polluting The Air Pollutes The Mind

Air pollution is a serious problem. It has been methodically linked to decreased life expectancy, illness and hospitalization, a decline in children’s health, dementia, and many other health and wellness related issues. The most recent discovery regarding air pollution is that it lowers cognitive ability. This has obvious and serious implications for any society, and thus merits careful study. Several research groups have undertaken to understand the connection between air pollution and cognition over the last two years, but one in particular has outshone the rest. The Impact of Exposure To Air Pollution on Cognitive Performance(Zhang et.al) connects both transient and accumulated air pollution to the cognitive function of all age groups. Previous works focused primarily on the short term effects on school aged children (K-12). Through a partnership with China Family Panel Studies (CFPS) and the Yale University School of Public health, Dr.Zhang’s group gained access to a very large and nationally representative data set. Thus, it provides new and compelling conclusions for public debate about air quality.  The study reached its conclusions by linking air pollution to reduced verbal and math test scores. The tests themselves were a series of 24 standardized mathematics questions and 34 word recognition questions in order of difficulty. Scoring was based on the level of difficulty the test taker reached without getting an answer incorrect. Air quality was measured using the air pollution index (API), which is based on daily measurements of Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), and particulate matter smaller than ten micrometers (PM 10). These particular air pollutants are important because they are all associated with vehicle exhaust and industrial activity. The study was conducted in the People’s Republic of China, which has been the most economically significant developing nation of the last decade. Thus the correlation with these two sources was of paramount concern.

Cognitive ability is critical across the entire age spectrum. For young people it dictates performance on standardized verbal and math assessments required for academic advancement. For adults it correlates with educational attainment and work productivity. And, for the elderly its exhaustion can limit an independent existence. We examine each of these in detail, and attempt to propose a corrective measure individuals can apply in their daily lives to avoid the reduced cognition air pollution causes.  Most will probably identify reduced cognition as a problem for young people progressing through the education system (0 – 24). This is, after all, the formative stage of life where a foundation of knowledge and experience is constructed. Limiting cognitive ability at this stage of life is thus likely to have permanent and damning consequences. While young people were not the most vulnerable segment of the population, this is nonetheless a grave concern. Behavior is part of the cognitive spectrum, and the observed changes in behavior are of particular relevance to this particular age cohort. Increased levels of air pollution correlated with a loss of patience and cooperativity. In a testing scenario such as this study presented, these are easy things to observe. The ability to pay attention during a lesson or learning assessment is obviously important. If a child is distracted he or she will not be able to take full advantage of the educational activity. Cooperativity is also critical though. STEM subjects, which are increasingly important in the post-industrial, technological age rely heavily on coordinated lab work. So, lacking the ability to work well in a group can prove limiting.

Adults (25 – 64) were the second most susceptible age group to air pollution related cognitive degradation. Reduced math and verbal abilities can have profound effects on professional and educational advancement. Those in society who can articulate and numerate best are usually the ones who move forward most rapidly. The study observed that decreased cognition was most pronounced in males with lower educational attainment. So, those in society already the most vulnerable to technological and societal change are made all the more so by air pollution. In most traditional societies, men are the primary economic contributor to a family unit. So, reduced male cognition has far reaching impacts that are particularly acute in the developing world where the traditional family model dominates. In China this is particularly problematic because the one child policy imposed from 1979 to 2015 has created a population imbalance that favors men. If a plurality of the prime working age population is cognitively deficient, and therefore less productive (and employable) this will surely strain social safety nets, and lead to increased incidence of crime and violence. This is by no means a suggestion that air pollution caused cognitive degradation is a problem limited to societies with male lead family structures or those where men are a larger quotient of the overall population. The same phenomenon was observed in females, though it was less pronounced. Many nations where female headed households predominate experience severe air quality problems. Latin American demographic studies reveal that between 15% and 45% of the female population heads a household. Large population centers in Latin America have very high APIs as revealed by the interactive map at this link. While it is unfortunate that almost all of the analysis presented in the Zhang study is about men, the plots reveal some interesting conclusions about females. There is a tremendous decline in verbal scores with accumulated exposure to air pollution. Going back to the example of Latin America, it is worth examining what kinds of work women who over represent in heading households do. According to employment surveys, the top two fields of employment are domestic work and work in the informal sector. The informal sector is mostly selling home made goods and services at market. Decreased verbal skills could be catastrophic in either field, and limit the ability of a mother to care for young children. It is perhaps no surprise that the nations of Latin America have some of the highest crime rates in the world. Although no formal study yet exists, it begs the question what role air pollution diminished cognitive abilities may have played in bringing this about. The following example maybe anecdotal, but is interesting to note.Honduras achieved the distinction of having the highest murder rate in the world in 2012. That year it recorded 90.4 murders per 100,000 people. Also in 2012, the highest API number on record was recorded. In the subsequent years, there has been a startling correlation between these two numbers. One wonders if higher earning potential associated with higher verbal skills in a mother would have kept her children out of the street gangs that perpetrate this kind of terrible violence.  The most exposed age group to air pollution related cognitive decline are seniors (65 +). The decline in cognition has been cited as causation for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. These types of conditions take a terrible toll on individuals, their families, and friends. It is also very costly to society. In 2015 Alzheimer’s alone cost $226 billion in health services and 18 billion hours of unpaid labor globally. These numbers are staggering, and the causal link with air pollution has yet to brooch public policy discussions anywhere on earth. Seniors are also faced with making very high stakes decisions in the latter decades of life. Economic and health related choices are acutely more significant. Diminished cognitive skills enhance the risk associated with these choices. Furthermore, the Zhang study identified the cognitive depletion as more severe among less educated males. Again, those with middling resources are the ones under the most strain. Moreover, those in this demographic are more likely to have a dependent spouse and/or dependent children and grandchildren. We cannot emphasize enough the risks involved to this age cohort. For example, in the United States the cost of Alzheimer’s care is $1,150 more per month than standard assisted living. The average monthly income in the United States is $3,714. That additional cost for Alzheimer’s care is a full 31% of what the average person makes.

It is truly unfortunate that air pollution does not have a more central role in public policy debates. In democratic societies it is usually the domain of the political left exclusively, and in autocratic ones it is often ignored altogether. The consequence of this paradigm is that people pay a terrible price, as we have noted here. Thus managing the risk of air pollution falls largely if not entirely on the individual. In 2018, people spend upwards of ninety percent of their time indoors. While this is generally regarded as negative, it is much easier to control air quality inside than outside. There is a causal link between the two, and it is important to take steps inside what comes from outside. The average air handling system has a thirty percent fresh air replacement rate. That means that nearly one third of the volume of air in the home is being replaced by what is outside at some predetermined rate. The air quality issues we examined with regard to cognitive degradation are SO2, NO2, and particulate matter (PM 10 and PM 2.5). Fortunately, there are excellent air purifier choices with technologies to control each of these. This would be defined as a VOC air purifier that also eliminates particulate matter. In the particular device we reference, there is a carbon/permanganate media stage that can handle the SO2 and NO2. Both gasses are absorbed by the dense matrix of material which form the media. Particulate matter is trapped by the HEPA filter stage. Furthermore, the VOC air purifier contains a Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) stage. This technology was used by NASA to control VOCs aboard the International Space Station, and has been proven out in academic studies over many decades. VOCs are the primary air quality issue that arises from within the home, so it is important an air purifier be able to handle them. Not many can accomplish this, and still claim to be completely safe. This one can.  A fully functioning mind is important for navigating life at any age. As children we learn and we grow. As adults we apply what we have learned. And, in our golden years we enjoy the fruits of our labor. Dr.Zhang and his outstanding team have shown us that air pollution is a threat to this natural evolution of things because it limits cognitive ability. Government action to limit air pollution has been pitiful, and change isn’t exactly on the horizon. Therefore, the public is left to find solutions on their own. Thankfully technology has delivered a solution that will help limit exposure to air pollutions worst effects until a more permanent solution can be found.

Three things everyone should know about Particulate Matter, and what to do about it.

Particulate Matter (PM) is a disparate mixture of fine particles and gasses found in the air. It exists in two forms: PM10:Inhalable particles that are 10 micrometers in diameter.  PM2.5: Inhalable particles that are 2.5 micrometers in diameter or smaller. A micrometer is a millionth of a meter. To put that in perspective, the smallest hair on your head is 70 micrometers in diameter. So, PM is 10 to 30 times smaller! In most cases, you can’t even see it with the naked eye. There are many different sources of PM. Within the home, it can come from cooking or a cat litter box. Outside the home it comes primarily from vehicle exhaust and industrial activity. Of course air quality issues outside can quickly become a problem inside. Most air handling systems have a thirty percent air replacement rate, and the source of the replacement air is outside. So, PM is likely a problem in your home wherever you happen to live. And, that is a problem for three very specific reasons. PM has been linked to cardiac disease, respiratory problems, and it causes you to have a less restful night of sleep. The longer the exposure time and the greater the intensity of exposure, the worse these problems become. But, there is hope. There are air purification technologies available that can remove most of the PM from your home, keeping you and your loved ones healthy.  PM has been associated with a number of heart conditions, and is now considered (in the medical community) to be an independent risk factor for heart related death. The specifics are detailed in a recent studypublished in the Journal of Thoracic Disease. It makes the case based on data obtained in many other published works, and endeavors to sound the alarm about the grim connection between PM and cardiac health. PM has been linked to a number of very serious heart conditions such as myocardial infarction (MI), cardiac arrhythmias, ischemic stroke, vascular dysfunction, hypertension and atherosclerosis. The other important conclusion is that the frequency and intensity of exposure to PM is associated with the prospect of being diagnosed with one of these heart conditions. The more PM collects in your home, the greater the threat to you and your loved ones.

PM is inhaled into your lungs when you breathe. It stands to reason, that PM is responsible for a number of respiratory problems. Here is the list that the EPA put together:

  • Respiratory symptoms including cough, phlegm, and wheeze.
  • Acute, reversible decrement in pulmonary function.
  • Inflammation of the airways and lung (this is acute and neutrophilic).
  • Bronchial hyperreactivity.
  • Acute phase reaction.
  • Respiratory infections.
  • Respiratory emergency department visits.
  • Respiratory hospitalizations.
  • Decreased lung function growth in children.
  • Chronic loss of pulmonary function in adults.
  • Asthma development.
  • Premature mortality in people with chronic lung disease.

The elderly, infirm, and children are particularly vulnerable to these problems. Our lungs are usually pretty resilient. However, once again data confirms that repeated (and intense) exposure to PM can overcome natural defenses. So, it is not possible to completely avoid these complications. The PM becomes embedded within the tissue, and generates inflammation. The body’s response to this is what ultimately manifests in what the EPA has discovered.  Researchers at the University of Washington were painfully aware of the negative cardiac and respiratory effects of air pollution. But, how did it effect other areas of comfort and wellbeing? Martha E. Billings, MD a research physician reasoned that because of these documented effects on the upper respiratory system, there must be impacts on areas of the brain that simultaneously control breathing patterns and sleep. In a study involving 1,833 individuals with an average age of 68, they examined the effects of PM2.5 on sleep. PM2.5 is considered pervasive in society because it is a residual of car exhaust. The results, which were released in May of 2018 were startling. There is a fifty seven percent greater chance of someone having sleep disorders as a result of exposure to PM2.5. So, a better night’s rest means the PM has to go.  Fortunately, technology has kept pace with demand where PM is concerned. One new product has just the right composite of materials to handle the problem. As previously mentioned PM is not uniform. It is grab bag of nanoscale particulates and gasses. The composition varies by location. And, the ratio of one component to the other is rarely consistent. So, different air purifying strategies are required in one device. The particles are fine, and require a dense filter media to remove. MERV-12 is a must. The gasses in the mixture are both inorganic and organic. And, this is where things really get tricky. A process called Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) that was used by NASA aboard the International Space Station and the Columbia mission is best in a VOC air purifier. It works by exciting a catalyst to produce a species called a hydroxyl radical. This species is very reactive, and will remove electrons from organic structures. It is more reactive than either Ozone or Hydrogen Peroxide. And, it is completely safe. The electron stripping Chemistry occurs on the catalyst, and nowhere else. So, there is nothing harmful exhausted. The inorganic gasses must be removed by a unique absorbent material. In the case of the product we are describing there is a state of the art carbon/permanganate blend. The carbon is perforated with nanoscale holes to add absorbent surface area. It is doped with permanganate, which adds to this effect. This product has been proven to eliminate over ninety percent of PM within a home. This is the kind of solution needed to arrest the problems associated with air quality issue.

Particulate Matter is a big problem. One of the great public health issues the world faces in the twenty first century. It has been linked to very serious cardiac problems, respiratory problems, and sleep disorders. Yet, it remains un-heard of for most people. This is slowly starting to change. Government agencies have become more aggressive in raising public awareness, and the media has begun to respond. Hopefully, as more become aware of the threat PM poses they will take action to remove it from their homes.

Look Younger With Clear Air

There is a small but growing field of study connecting air pollution to the health of human skin. Several important papers have been published on the subject since 2011.The conclusions they have drawn merit much more public trumpeting than they have so far received. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Particulate Matter, two nanoscale species resident in the air of most homes, have been connected to a number of skin conditions most toil to control. The good news is that it may be possible to lessen such things as advanced aging or acne by improving the air quality in your home. A good VOC air purifier that has the capability to filter particulate matter is obtainable in 2018. Clear air means clear skin.  Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are carbon based chemicals that exist as a gas at room temperature. They are associated with a myriad of health problems. Regrettably, they are ubiquitous. Found in paints, carpets, glues, coatings, and even food items. There is no doubt that they exist in some concentration in your home right now. One particularly troubling type of VOC is called a Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH). It has been linked to acne eruptions, aging of the skin, and even cancers. They are able to do this because the compounds have the right shape to interact with receptors on the cells that make up skin. Some of them also stick around for a long time. The measure of a chemicals integrity over time is done with a metric called “half-life”. This is a count of how long it takes to reduce a population by half. The half-life for some PAH can be as long as five to ten years!Unfortunately, the presence of PAH or other VOC cannot be eliminated strictly by controlling the materials in your living space. Many of these compounds originate from exterior sources. They then enter your home through the air handler’s intake. Most modern HVAC systems have a fresh air replacement rate of around thirty percent. Because PAHs are able to persist as long as they do, they are always a threat to enter your home and damage you skin. All VOCs are also potential inflammatory agents. A study conducted in 1999 focused on keratinocytes which are the primary cell type forming the epidermis. It was revealed that when these cells were cultured, and exposed to VOCs there was a high probability of inflammatory or allergic response.Usually this was in the form of atopic dermatitis or eczema. Both of these conditions are very obvious, and most go to great effort to control them with medication.

Particulate Matter is also detrimental to the health of the skin. Particulate matter is a complex mixture of particles and inorganic gasses of varying sizes. Often quantified as PM 2.5 or PM 10, it is responsible for many health problems. The most common sources of Particulate Matter are vehicles and industrial activity. It enters the living space in the same way as many VOCs, through the air exchange of the HVAC. There are also sources within the home itself such as cooking or pets.It enters the skin through hair follicles or transdermally, and induces what is called oxidative stress. This is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants. It causes pronounced dark spots and wrinkles in the skin. Particulate Matter has also been linked to intensity of atopic dermatitis.  The best way to remove localized air pollution that is detrimental to the health of your skin is with a VOC air purifier which has specialized particulate filters. VOC air purifiers are distinct from filters. An individual gas molecules is too small to be trapped in even the highest grade HEPA filters. Some products that depend on reactive oxygen species (such as Ozone Generators or Ionizers) will remove VOCs, but can be detrimental to skin health themselves. Ozone, for example, induces the same oxidative stress that Particulate Matter does. The most promising VOC air purifier technology on the market today is called Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO). It is a passive process, and does not emit anything into the environment. The process was discovered in the 1970s in Japan, and later perfected by NASA to remove VOCs from the International Space Station. The process involves a catalyst that is excited by UV light which produces a reactive species called a hydroxyl radical (from water vapor). The hydroxyl radical is bound to the spot where it is formed and will strip VOCs of electrons. The end result is harmless carbon dioxide. There are many PCO products on the market and fair warning, not all are created equally. The primary thing to keep in mind with regard to skin health is that the UV light used to activate the catalyst is properly refracted. Direct UV exposure to the skin induces course wrinkles. However, there are very good options for VOC air purifiers with PCO technology. However, to cover the full spectrum of dermatological threats in the indoor air, the VOC air purifier should have complex filter media that is completely effective in removing PM 2.5 and PM 10. This exceeds the capability of a simple dust filter. Particulate matter is a heterogeneous mixture of gasses and solid particles. The gas component usually consists of nitrogen and sulfur compounds. Carbon will trap such compounds, but can saturate quickly. To prevent saturation, select a carbon material that uses a microarray structure as opposed to the “honeycomb” construct carbon is most often found in. Doping carbon with permanganate beads enhances the absorptive capacity. To remove the microscale solid material, a high grade HEPA filter should be used. Something rated as MERV-12 or greater. There are good options for VOC air purifiers that contain this advanced media necessary to remove the Particulate Matter.

Good air quality is very important for younger, healthy looking skin. VOCs have been linked to acne outbreaks, dermatitis, advanced aging, and even cancer. Particulate Matter induces oxidative stress, which is a common cause of age spots and wrinkles on the skin. Removal of these two air pollutants is thus critical. A good VOC air purifier with sophisticated particulate filtering media will accomplish this, and help maintain the look people seek.

Why A Bacteria Air Purifier?

Bacteria air purifier is probably a new term for most. What are bacteria, and why would I want them removed from the air of my home? The answers are many and very important. Bacteria are a single celled form of life that is too small for the human eye to see unaided. They live in colonies like bees or ants. Usually starting with one or two of the species, and then growing very rapidly. The bacteria in the colony work together to locate nutrients, and perform other functions of survival. Reproduction occurs very rapidly in bacteria, and a population can double in size in less than one hour. Bacteria live literally everywhere, including within our own bodies. Sometimes they are beneficial, and other times not. Bacteria that cause disease are called pathogenic bacteria. This type of bacteria is very commonly found within the air, and can be quite dangerous to both humans and pets. Bacteria are also a significant cause of food spoilage. By eliminating as many bacteria as possible within the air, the pathogenicity is limited. This means a safer home environment for all.    Bacteria are responsible for a number of well-known human diseases. Medical News Today has been kind enough to compile a list of what we should be concerned about. Whooping cough is caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis. The bacteria colonize the upper respiratory tract, and cause a serious infection. Symptoms of whooping cough include runny nose, nasal congestion, chronic coughing, and fever. The condition is primarily a threat to children, but has also been known to impact adults with lessened immunity to it. While deaths from whooping cough rarely occur in the United States, about 58,000 perish each year globally. Antrax is caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis. It occurs in four forms: skin, lungs, intestinal, and injection. Each form has its own unique, and debilitating symptoms. The condition is spread when the bacteria is either inhaled or it comes into contact with skin. It is rarely transferred from person to person. Anthrax is not common, but has shown up (terminally) in both the United Kingdom and the United States within the last decade. Diphtheria is caused by the bacteria Corynebacterium diphtheria. Symptoms of the condition usually begin with sore throat or fever. The neck may swell as a result of swollen lymph nodes. More severe complications may include myocarditis, inflammation of nerves, kidney problems, and bleeding problems due to low levels of platelets. Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes (meninges) surrounding your brain and spinal cord. It is most commonly associated with viral infection, but can also be the result of infection by several bacterial strains. Complications of a meningitis infection include headache, fever, and stiffness of the neck. The condition is very serious, particularly in children, and is responsible for nearly 400,000 deaths worldwide. Airborne bacteria are also a threat to pets. The most common disease is Kennel Cough which is often spread via the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria. The condition has a five to seven day incubation period, and the complications include harsh cough, sneezing, and vomiting. Puppies and older dogs are the most vulnerable to kennel cough.

The impact bacteria have directly on human and animal health through disease is probably something most are at least faintly aware of. However, a less well known problem associated with airborne bacteria is food spoilage. The Total Viable Bacteria Count (TVC) is what determines the shelf life of a meat or fresh seafood product. Most of the public probably thinks that storing meat in a refrigerator will spare it the fate of bacterial related spoilage. Not so. Several types of bacteria will grow and reproduce at low temperatures. Mesophiles grow at temperatures between 10 and 45 degrees Celsius, Psychrophiles between 0 and 28 degrees Celsius, and Psychrotrophs between 10 and 45 degrees Celsius. The air in your refrigerator is identical to what is in other areas of your home. So, what is outside will soon be inside to ruin that perfect filet mignon or fresh caught snapper you can’t wait to grill on Saturday night. But, your home is actually not the only source of bacterial contamination your purchased meat products will face. It is a problem from the very start, and because of the nature of bacteria it spreads quickly. There was a study conducted on dry aged beef (the really, really good stuff) that is illustrative. The objective of dry aging is to encourage growth of a mold called Thamnidium while discouraging bacterial propagation. This particular mold releases proteases, and other collagenolytic enzymes which break down connective tissue. The meat is inoculated with this particular mold, and it grows on the surface of the meat itself. This is validated throughout the process, by laboratory testing. The aging process takes place over a period of 35 days. The study states that E.Coli, coliforms, and Enterobacteriaceae were present on animal carcasses respectively in 69%, 84%, and 93% of sample cases. So, bacterial contamination is a problem from the very beginning of the process. While, temperature is a growth inhibitor, it is not 100% effective as a bactericide. The study further documents that these three bacterial strains were present respectively on 8%, 17% and 37% after 6 days of the dry aging process. The most common means of controlling bacterial growth on the meat is the use of UV wands. However, a bacterial colony requires a minimum of five seconds of exposure to a UV source to obtain a meaningful kill rate. This is difficult to obtain on a surface, and impossible when the air is the medium. This isn’t something that comes up very much in popular media, but if you have one steak with a problem you may in a short period of time find yourself having to throw out everything in your cooler.  So, bacteria is a problem. It makes us sick, it makes our pets sick, and it ruins our favorite foods. So, what can one do about the problem? Answer: Find a good bacteria air purifier.And, not just any air purifier will do. Filters are not advisable for removal bacteria. The pores of the filter are too large to trap bacteria in most circumstances. And, even if you are willing to use the highest grade HEPA filters (HEPA 16 and above) you will only trap large bacterial specimens. Furthermore, a filter is just another place for a bacteria to colonize. And, soon they will be back in your air. Activated carbon does not have any effect on bacteria whatsoever. Ozone (often called “ions”) will kill bacteria. However, Ozone is dangerous for humans and animals to breathe. It also creates burn spots on food items (along with other things in the house). So, using Ozone will just perpetuate the problems you are trying to solve. There is a technology with promise however. Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) is highly effective in eliminating bacteria from the air. It is an oxidative process, which means it steals electrons from organic (carbon based) structures). Bacteria (like us) are carbon based, and the PCO process will eliminate it molecule by molecule. And, that is what is so great about this particular solution. It eliminates, it does not trap anything. PCO is a passive process unlike Ozone. The oxidation takes place strictly within the reaction chamber. Nothing harmful is exhausted to the environment. Texas A&M is blessed with one of the most cutting age medical schools in the country. They pride themselves on using technology to solve medical issues facing society. They conducted a study on the use of PCO to remove bacteria from one of their hospitals. The results were impressive. All classes of bacteria were eliminated. PCO has been tested on the more extreme strains as well. The University of Wisconsin proved it eliminated Anthrax, which we have identified as a very serious airborne pathogen. The phenomenon of PCO was first discovered by two Japanese scientists, but it really got its moment in the sun with NASA who used it to eliminate VOCs from the International Space Station. Now it is a feature in commercial and consumer air purifiers. So, all of that science and engineering that benefitted hospitals and space shuttles is now available to you.  Bacteria are a big problem. They are too small to see, but the air in everyone’s home are full of them. Some of them cause serious diseases in humans, others in pets. And, they have been tied to the spoilage of the food we feed our families. But, there is a solution. Bacteria air purifiers eliminate bacteria in the air, and spare us the most harmful consequences.

Why A VOC Air Purifier?

VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds are defined by the EPA as any compound of carbon excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acids, and carbonates which evaporates under normal atmospheric conditions. They have many sources, which can be outside the home or within it. And, they impact in human health in multiple ways. As a primary contributor to imperfect indoor air quality, VOCs should be well understood by the curious and concerned. A comprehensive list of harmful VOCs is too numerous, and beyond the scope of this cautionary piece given the near infinite list of geometries and orientations available in this class of compounds. However, the paper Levels and Sources of Volatile Organic Compounds in Homes of Children with Asthma (Chin et.al) condenses VOCs into a helpful list of compounds directly attributed to adverse health effects in humans. What these researchers consider priority VOCs are naphthalene, benzene, 1,4-dichlorobenzene, isopropylbenzene, ethylbenzene, styrene, chloroform, 1,2-dichloroethane, tetrachloroethene and trichloroethylene. All were detected in the 126 Michigan households used in the study in varying quantities. So where do these harmful gasses originate from? The study drew a number of useful conclusions in this regard. Tobacco smoke was identified as a major contributor. Fifteen percent of the homes surveyed were occupied by at least one tobacco smoker. And, in each circumstance the VOC levels were above the mean. Second hand smoke has been linked to a number of health problems, and heightened VOC levels are likely part of this issue. The storage of certain household products (pesticides, cleaning solutions, glues, paints, etc) were also observed as a source of VOCs. While this is certainly not a complete list of VOC emitting household items it is cause for concern. All of these are extremely common, and sit within a home for long periods of time. This enhances the probability of harmful compounds volatilizing. Other identified sources include building renovations, attached garages, and vehicle emissions. All of these contribute in their own way. Building renovations introduce epoxy laden carpet and flooring, garages are often where chemical substances are stored, and an overwhelming majority of Americans own emission producing cars and trucks. Regrettably the study was not able to delve deeper into outdoor sources of indoor VOCs. Air handling systems installed in homes typically have fresh air replacement levels of thirty percent. So, VOCs emitted from nearby traffic, industrial operations, lawn care, etc all have the potential to enter a home environment. VOC sources are diverse, and not always under the control of a homeowner. This should be regarded as all the more reason to see them as cause for concern.

Given that there are so many potential originators of VOCs, and that most are associated with normal human habitation, what kind of problems do the cause? The answer is many, and most of them are serious. According to the Government of British Columbia’s Healthlink, short term exposure issues include eye, nose and throat irritation, shortness of breath, headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and skin problems. In higher concentrations VOCs can be responsible for irritation of the lungs, as well as damage to the liver, kidney, or central nervous system. And to repeat for emphasis, the causation is short term exposure. The long term issue is cancer. The storied Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has an entire page of their website devoted to this subject. There are a number of published studies listed there, which provide some scary conclusions. The paper produced by Sarigiannis et al observed that the risk of cancer was increased by three orders of magnitude above the normal level in homes with VOC levels exceeding a baseline established by European regulators. Chin et al (referenced in the first paragraph) observed a cancer risk 30% higher in the homes under observation. And, there is much more data supporting this connection to be found. One can council the public to be cautious in their choice of household chemicals, how they are applied, and how they are stored. But, what reasonable alternative is there to paint? To bug spray, to carpet cleaner, to driving a car? Even products listed as “low VOC” contain surfactants that volatilize under standard atmospheric conditions. VOCs are part of our environment, and a natural consequence of daily lives. The questions is not how does one avoid them, but how does one eliminate them? A VOC air purifier is a device capable of removing VOCs from indoor air in excess of ninety percent of the baseline concentration. However, not all air purifiers are VOC air purifiers. Forget about anything that uses a filter. Even the highest grade HEPA filters (which will not be in your home) are too permeable to trap individual gas molecules. They are just too small, having a diameter measured in millionths of a meter. Some filtration systems contain charcoal or activated carbon. However, most of these have what is called a honeycomb geometry – it is shaped like a diamond. This construct does tend toward a large absorbent surface area. There are engineering work arounds, but few air purifiers adequately maximize for surface area. The consequence is rapid saturation. And, with high CFM this problem is only enhanced. Ozone will react with VOCs in the air, and remove them. However, Ozone Generators (also referred to as “Ionizers”) do not have any mechanism to control what the Ozone reacts with. It is just released into the environment. Ozone damages furniture and fabrics, and has been linked to many health problems itself. In fact, it is outright banned in many legal jurisdictions. There is one promising technology however that is both safe and effective in removing VOCs. It is called Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO). The phenomenon was discovered by Japanese researchers, and later used by NASA to remove VOCs from spacecraft. Air is passed through a reaction chamber, where an activated catalyst produces a chemical species called a hydroxyl radical. The radical never leaves the surface, so it will not create another indoor air quality issue the way Ozone does. However, it strips electrons from VOCs when the two compounds have successful collisions (oxidizing agent). The products of a reaction occurring with a hydroxyl radical and a VOC are harmless carbon dioxide and water. Of course, the trick to making this process as effective as NASA did, is to maximize the surface area where radicals can form. And, fortunately this can be accomplished with the right substrate for the catalyst. The results of a good PCO system are very promising, and have the potential to reverse the public health controversy VOCs are responsible for. Please note that not all PCO air purifiers are created equal. There is a lot of science and engineering that goes into the manufacture of a proper PCO reactor. If radical producing surface area is not maximized, catalyst chemistry not perfect, or air flow too rapid, the system can actually produce the VOCs formaldehyde and acetylaldehyde. Both are carcinogens. This was observed in a 2006 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study with a PCO reactor transiting air at 300 CFM. Fortunately, there are PCO systems that avoid these inhibitory problems, and are outstanding.

VOCs are a serious public health issue. They have been shown to be ubiquitous in modern homes because they are emitted by things everyone uses and needs. The short and long term physiological effects they produce are serious and even deadly. To advise the public to make different purchasing decisions, relocate, etc is simply time wasted. The only real solution is elimination with a VOC air purifier. When every home has one, the obstacle of VOCs will at last be removed.

All patients come to get well. Some leave seriously ill.

It isn’t something that comes up in the media very often. But each year approximately 100,000 people die of an illness they acquired at the hospital. No, you did not just read that wrong, they got sick at the hospital. Hospital Acquired Infections or HAIs for short, are a fairly prevalent cause for disease. Bactria and fungi are spread through the air or by surface contact, and infect patients undergoing procedures for unrelated illnesses. To be sure health care providers do their utmost to prevent this. The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) prescribes infection control guidelines, and infection control directors work round the clock to implement them. These procedures have been productive. HAIs have been trending down since 2006 according to the CDC, who also tracks the statistics on this phenomena. But, the problem persists. From reading the procedures outlined for an outpatient surgical center, it is glaringly obvious why more progress has not been made. They only address half the problem. Nearly the entire document is focused on surface sanitation procedures and prevention through diagnosis. These are vitally important no doubt. But, it does not address the air within a facility, which is the source of so many of these infectious events. Our hope here is to rectify this epidemiological omission once and for all. HAIs come in several CDC defined forms. Central Line- associated Bloodstream Infections (CLABSIs) are the first to be examined. Central lines are tubes inserted into the body to extract blood for medical tests. They are placed into major arteries close to the heart. An infection is caused when a microbe enters the body through this tube. CLABSIs come in several forms, but our focus is on what are called central infection. This is where the inside of the tube becomes exposed to microbial (primarily bacterial) contamination. The study Blood Cultures at Central Line Insertion in the Intensive Care Unit: Comparison with Peripheral Venipuncture (Stohl et.al) appeared in the July 2011 edition of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, and identified central infections as the primary source of CLABSIs. It further established that the longer exposure time to air in the health care facility as a primary cause of infection. Microbes are in the air, and settle onto the tube being used to extract blood. These microbes then cause a serious infection due to the proximity of the tube to the heart.

The next HAI category are Surgical Site Infections (SSIs). This is a post-surgical infection on the part of the body which was operated on. Sometimes such infections are limited to the skin, but in more extreme cases infection enters the tissue under the skin, major organs, or implanted devices such as pacemakers. From a 2013 study, the overwhelming majority of SSIs come from a strain of bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus. The presence of this bacterial strain in the air of operating rooms has been known for nearly sixty years. This study from 1959 identified 34 colonies in just one location! This includes the variety of particular notoriety, MRSA. MRSA is genetically distinct from other strains of Staphylococcus aureus, which makes it resistant to many drugs typically used for treatment. So, regrettably SSIs are particularly lethal. Catheter-associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTIs) are infections that affect any part of the bladder. The CDC has some pretty scary statistics on this one. About 75% of CAUTIs are associated with a urinary catheter. This is a tube inserted into the bladder to drain urine. Regrettably about one quarter of all hospital patients get a urinary catheter! And, the longer the urinary catheter is used the greater the risk of infection. The principle is the same as was observed with CLABSIs, airborne microbes are exposed to the catheter, and an infection results. This study from Taiwan did a fine job of linking what was observed in the air to what was found on the catheter.

The final category of HAI is called Ventilator-associated Pneumonia (VAP). A ventilator is used to provide Oxygen to a patient via a hole in the throat or mouth. An infection can occur if microbes enter the patient’s lungs through the tube. The CDC has an excellent resource for limiting VAP cases. However, once again the focus is on patient care, surface cleaning, and diagnosis. There are no guidelines for managing the microbiological lode in the air of the room. Pneumonia is particularly dangerous to the elderly, and unfortunately is a leading cause of their demise during hospital stays. A 2013 study in the Journal of Anesthesiology and Clinical Pharmacology definitively linked VAP infections with airborne bacteria. So, what to do? Clearly there is a gap that needs to be filled in our infection control procedures. But, it is the air, and what does a hospital do about that? Answer: Air sanitization and filtration. Unbeknownst to most who read this, these are two very different concepts. Filtration is focused on the removal of particulate matter from the air. Dust, dander, PM 2.5, and PM 10 are the most common particulates requiring management in a hospital. These have been linked to SSIs when they settle into a sensitive area of the body and cause an infection. Filters should be (and usually are) properly maintained in the HVAC system local to every area of a hospital. This includes selecting a filter device of a proper MERV rating (MERV 12 or higher), and changing after every 1 to 3 months of use. But this is the low hanging fruit, and easy enough that just about everyone does it. The real challenge comes from air sanitization. Requirements to place devices in hospitals (particularly operating rooms) are very strict. Usually a device must be tested, and cleared by a government entity. In the United States the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the authority to regulate medical devices, and an air sanitizer must be cleared with the Class 2 Medical Device designation. It is a difficult and expensive thing to obtain. The primary requirement is that the air sanitizer emit no harmful by-products. Absolutely none. This naturally excludes Ozone and Hydrogen peroxide generators, which have been linked to serious lung damage. Or, devices that emit harmful aldehyde group volatile organic compounds (VOCs). So, it must be a VOC air purifier with high efficacy in eliminating pathogenic microbes such as have been presented here. Carbon filter media is effective in removing VOCs, but not the microbes. So, the strongest candidate technology is called Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO). It is an entirely passive process demonstrating efficient removal of organic (carbon based) material. It emits nothing harmful, and there is a significant body of scientific evidence to support its benefit in health care. It has even been used by NASA aboard space craft! Hopefully the CDC and health care providers will take notice, and society can move forward without fear of seeking medical help only to become more seriously ill.

Air Quality In Hotels: A Detailed Look

For anyone away from home a hotel room is a sanctuary. It is a place to rest after a long day of meetings, or where the family gathers after an active day of vacation. Whether someone is traveling for business or pleasure it is likely where they will be spending most of their trip. This makes indoor air quality very important for both health and comfort. The perfect Airocide product for a hotel room is our new APS-200 PM 2.5 unit, which covers the entire spectrum of issues that plague indoor air. We will also see that there are plenty of opportunities for our industrial product in certain parts of the building. The Airocide NASA PCO technology is a solution for hotel indoor air quality, and has the potential to significantly improve a hotel guest’s experience, and, by extension, a hotel’s revenue and reputation.

There are many factors which impact the air quality in a hotel room. The level of air pollution outside which originates from vehicles, factories, and other sources is extremely important. This is a common source of PM 2.5, which is a mixture of microscopic particulates and a harmful array of organic and inorganic gasses. There are also many sources of air pollution inside the room itself; these include fabric and building  materials, carpets and soft furnishings, cigarette smoke, cleaning chemicals, perfumes, and salon products. These sources are responsible for most of the Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) content in the air. These VOCs can quickly reach concentrations that trigger allergy responses or other respiratory issues. Ventilation rates (the rate of exchange of outdoor air with indoor air) also impact indoor air quality. Even with modern HVAC systems the “fresh-air” exchange rate rarely rises above 30%, which means that all of these indoor air pollution problems will persist for a long period of time in the hotel. It also means that a problem in one part of the hotel can quickly become a problem elsewhere, as air is moved from place to place in many HVAC systems. Moisture is also an important factor in that it leads to the propagation of mildew and other issues in the rooms as well as kitchen areas, indoor pools, and spas. To aid you in explaining these and other issues which plague indoor air; I have created a spreadsheet that details these problems, their sources, and the potential health impact on guests. You can download it here.

Health Hazards In Hotels

A hotel is legally responsible for the health and safety of their guests at all times. Not living up to this standard can mean lawsuits and, therefore, financial calamity. So, I have summarized some of the most common catastrophic issues which have plagued hotels in the past. Airocide can prevent all of them.

Legionnaires Disease – This is a rare form of pneumonia that is contracted through inhalation. It is commonly associated with improper maintenance of HVAC systems, locker room facilities, water fountains, and spas. It is potentially fatal, and responsible for approximately 4,000 deaths per year (worldwide). In many jurisdictions, hotels (and other companies) found responsible for incubating the Legionella bacteria are subject to prosecution and fines.

Molds – Certain molds are highly toxic. For example, the Stachybotrys chartarum, which thrives in humid conditions, can cause hay-fever like symptoms that have particularly acute consequences for guests with chronic lung issues (such as asthma or COPD). Guests with lower immunity are also at high risk. This is a source of significant financial liability for a hotel in humid climates.

Allergies – There are many factors that can trigger allergies. Dust is a common culprit, but so are VOCs. An allergic response to these things will certainly make a guest’s stay less pleasant.

It is also important to keep in mind that guest satisfaction can be impacted by indoor air quality issues, and that staff are more productive when they are comfortable.

Hotels are actively seeking a solution to indoor air quality problems. Many have found some success using products other than Airocide, as the examples below highlight. It is important to remember however, that in each of these examples (which will be the objections you have to counter in a sales presentation by the way) they are incomplete, and often costly solutions. Had Airocide been deployed instead, each of these hotels would have accomplished far more, and likely at a reduced cost.

Example: Sandic

Scandic has more than 11,500 ‘eco-rooms’ which are popular with guests because of their Nordic, natural aesthetics and the better indoor air quality they provide for allergy sufferers. The company renovates around 2,000 rooms each year, all of which are carried out according to the Scandic Environmental Refurbishment Equipment and Construction Standard (SERECS) which was introduced in 2001. All floors are made of sustainably-sourced wood, as is the furniture, and textiles used are wool or cotton, with as few fittings as possible made of chrome, rare metals or plastic.

Chilled beam technology is used to create a comfortable in-room climate, and climate control (as well as all other energy use in the hotels) is on a highly energy-efficient ‘on-demand’ basis. Jan Peter Bergkvist, Director of Environmental Sustainability for Hilton International Operations and Scandic stresses that focused maintenance of all air handling units and changing filters is a crucial, and often forgotten, part of improving in-room quality. “We also use central vacuum cleaners to improve air quality and at Scandic we do not use air-humidifiers in order to avoid the risk of bacteria building up. The new downtown Scandic Anglais in Stockholm, Sweden is our first hotel where we are using non-chemical, steam cleaning of guest rooms to further improve air quality and to minimise the spread of man-made substances” he says. (Source: Greenhotelier.org)

What I would encourage you to conclude from the Sandic example is that they had to spend a significant amount of money on refurbishments, which could have been avoided if they simply had the Airocide NASA PCO Technology. VOC emissions from fabric and wood sources can be kept in check continuously without total replacement. Airocide is energy efficient and continuous unlike their Chilled Beam solution that is turned on and off; leaving a significant amount of lead time between turning it on and a guest experiencing satisfaction. I hope you can see both the scope and scale of Airocide’s potential in this market.

Example: JW Marriott Hong Kong

Many people know of tea tree oil as an essential oil for massage and body treatments in spas. It was also widely used during the first World War to treat wound before the advent of penicillin.

Because of the oil’s ability to kill bacteria, the JW Marriott Hong Kong adds it on a quarterly basis to the fresh air supply system where it is particularly effective in stopping mould growth. The hotel did not want to use a fixed atomising system as it required carbon dioxide to atomise and mist the oil into the air system, so it is atomised manually instead.

The use of tea tree oil has reduced the incidence of mildew in the air and corners in the rooms, particularly during summer periods when the average humidity reaches 85 percent. The air-conditioning ducts and fan coil units are also cleaner than they were found to be in the past. The practice has been carried out throughout the hotel since 2000 and there are now seldom guest complaints about mold and mildew. In order to have total confidence, the hotel took air samples and tested them for mold with a self-test laboratory kit in 2003. All the results, except for one sample from the garbage room, were negative. In 2004 the hotel employed an IAQ analysis company to test its air quality. Hundreds of air samples were taken at various points throughout the hotel and apart from on the floors permitting smoking, the results were very good. The hotel is reducing smoking floors year by year and currently, it is permitted in only 11 percent of rooms.

Although tea tree oil has not been laboratory proven to kill the bacteria that cause Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the hotel applied it to the fresh air system each month during the outbreak in Hong Kong as a precautionary measure. (Source: Greenhotelier.org)

The problem here is that tea tree oil is only effective for a short period of time after it is applied to the central air system. And, this solution is only applicable where there is a central air system. Most of the hotels I have stayed at in Asia, even very nice ones, lack a central air system. Had they deployed Airocide in the guest rooms; they would have had a continuous solution. Also, tea tree oil has a distinct odor which may be offensive to some guests. Airocide, of course, does not.

Example: J W Marriott Mumbai, India

In November 2005 the JW Marriott Mumbai hosted India’s first indoor air quality conference with the help of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA). They looked at issues such as proper duct cleaning and coil treatment using enzyme-based bio-active chemicals.

As a result of the conference, the hotel decided to start an awareness-raising campaign as to the importance of IAQ, both in new building design and in the renovation of existing facilities. The hotel is now focussing attention on the four key elements of ventilation, filtration, pressurization, and maintenance of HVAC systems. Dust removed from the ducts resulted in an increase in air flow velocities through the air-handling units (AHUs) of between four and 69 percent and a decrease in the pressure drop over the coil. This maximizes air change through the heat exchanger and improves heat transfer. The biggest benefit of a planned duct maintenance programme according to Sunil Relia, Director of Engineering is that “it prevents the growth of fungi, mold and other microbiological organisms so we get clean and healthy air to breathe”. (Source: Greenhotelier.org)

Biobased solutions to clean HVAC coils are a good thing. However, this does absolutely nothing to control outdoor sources of pollution that will, inevitably, penetrate the interior environment. It also does nothing to control VOC emissions in rooms or moisture related issues that come from a shower. Airocide can cover all of these things.

NASA PCO Technology

So, having established the issues that plague hotels, and that Airocide can not only help but represents a significant improvement on existing solutions. Let’s look at exactly where we want to deploy our NASA PCO technology.

Rooms – The Airocide APS-200 PM 2.5 is the perfect solution for the hotel room itself. It is able to control all indoor air quality issues at the local level. I would encourage you to review our explanation piece that describes in detail how each air sanitization stage can contribute to this. I would also encourage you to familiarize yourself with our recent residential study. This is significant because the size of the room we tested in is analogous to the common hotel room. The results were excellent.

Hallways – I had the privilege of working with a group in Dubai who had serious mold issues in hallways. We were able to contain the issue by using our spec process and determining the intermediate spec would work for them. They have two GCS-50s in each hallway and remain very satisfied with the results.

Indoor Pools – It is an unfortunate fact of life that many young children urinate in pools. That is one of the reasons that chlorine is added to the water. However, the combination of urea and chlorine produces a chemical called chloramine, which easily volatilizes into the air. In an indoor pool the concentration can rise very quickly. The presence of chloramine can create serious respiratory and skin issues. Airocide removes chloramine. Obviously this is an industrial application, so make sure to use the proper spec to cover this. Pools are also a source of Legionnaires Disease.

Spas and Gym Facilities – Spas have moisture issues, which leads to mildew and other fungal problems. They also are sources of Legionnaires disease. Many hotels also have a gym or other athletic facility (such as a Yoga Studio) adjacent to the spa. These are common locations for bacteria derived odor. Take some time to examine our body of work on Fitness Centers. In the linked folder I have provided our Athletic Center Case Study, a map that explains the source of these odors, and another case study conducted in Portugal which further defines the air quality issues in Spas and Gyms.

Restrooms – Public facilities are often judged by the cleanliness of their restrooms; that is just a fact. Airocide has been instrumental in helping large buildings maintain cleanliness. One of our clients here in the US often tells me how improved their women’s restrooms are. These restrooms serve approximately 200 people, quality surveys demonstrate significant improvement after deployment of Airocide, and cleaning supply costs have decreased. They use a GCS-25, and I recommend you deploy this unit for hotel restrooms.

Kitchens – Last week we covered how Airocide could benefit restaurant cold storage facilities. A hotel will have at least one restaurant where food products are stored; often there will be several. Place a GCS-25 in each of the cold storage rooms.

See how Airocide can make a difference in your hotel stay.

David A.Ghelerter

Chief Science and Technology Officer,  Airocide

Seven Must-Follow Steps For Safe Indoor Air

Most people regard air pollution as an outdoor problem. That’s understandable. If you live in a populated area, most likely you see it. News reports also tend to highlight terrifying substances being pumped into the atmosphere from one source or another. It is a real problem, and merits society’s attention. But, according to the EPA, indoor air is actually much worse than what is outside. Carpets, epoxies, paints, and textiles spew harmful gasses called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Dust absorbs dander and other allergens that provoke immune responses. And, air conditioning systems cycle whatever is in the outdoor environment into indoor spaces. This is just the normal stuff. Public spaces like hospitals, malls, and places of worship are much worse off. Pathogenic microbes enter the mix, and can cause illness in those unlucky enough to come into contact with them. Moreover, in 2018 people are spending 90% or more of their lives indoors. Poor indoor air quality is truly one of the great problems of the twenty first century. But, what can one person acting as an individual do create a safer indoor space? Here is what you need to do in seven easy to follow steps.

Keep those floors clean!

VOCs and allergy-triggering dander accumulate in household dust over long periods of time. Carpeting absorbs this dust in large quantities. Human activity disturbs this accumulated dust, forcing it back into the air to breathe. So, if you have carpet get a good vacuum. One with good suction, rotating brushes, and especially a HEPA filter. The filter ensures that what you are sucking out of your carpet doesn’t get exhausted back into the air! A good vacuum isn’t cheap, but it is a worthy investment. Carpeting is a major source of indoor air pollution, and the risk is only removed by thorough and regular vacuuming. Do it two or three times a week. Mopping floors eliminates the dust left over by the vacuum. Don’t use those chemical products at the store, they emit harmful VOCs. Soap and water will be fine. Spending a few extra bucks on a microfiber mop is a good idea too. What is the primary cause of all this indoor dust causing the problem? Shoes! So, have a good door mat and don’t be shy about asking people to wipe their feet vigorously before entering your indoor space. You could go a step further, and ask everyone to remove their footwear as well.

No Smoking!

It should be intuitively obvious in 2018 that putting any kind of smoke in your lungs is a really bad idea. But, we list this just to make sure everyone understands. If whatever someone is doing involves ignition for inhalation, tell them to take it elsewhere.

 

 

Get tested for Radon

This is probably new to most people though Radon awareness is increasing. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive substance, which has become one of the major causes of lung cancer. It comes from the natural decay of Uranium, which is found in most soils. It can enter the home through cracks in the foundation. If, like your author, you live in a hilly or mountainous region, you home will experience a natural settling which causes cracks in the foundation. Read up on the problem, and get tested! Granite countertops, which are en vogue right now have also been linked to Radon.

 

Keep your place smelling good the way nature intended

 

Watch the use of cleaning solutions and fragrances in your indoor space. The pine aroma in that floor cleaner is not extracted painstakingly from a forest. It is a combination of chemicals that are meant to mimic a familiar smell. Some of these chemicals are very dangerous for your health. Formaldehyde, Benzene, Toluene, and Xylene are commonly used in such mixtures, and all have been linked to cancer. Odors can be controlled at the source by proper cleaning regimen and running an air purifier. Yes, an air purifier. We will come back to this one later, but know that there are products out there that can remove even individual molecules responsible for making your space stink! If you like to cook, clean surfaces with sliced lemon and baking soda. It will clear the mess, and leave the kitchen smelling great!

 

 

Watch the humidity level

Dust, which acts like a sponge for many things you don’t want in your indoor air, accumulates more easily in humid environments. So, it is best to keep humidity under 50%. Dehumidifiers can be helpful, but are sometimes pricy. But, a few easy steps to take are: remember to turn on the exhaust fan when taking a shower, make sure the dryer vent exhausts outside, always fix plumbing problems to prevent leaks, and don’t overwater the house plants. Another good tool is a humidity meter. They are inexpensive, and will tell you exactly what the residual humidity is in your space. Then you can make adjustments as needed.

 

 

Change those filters.

HEPA filters serve several critical functions in an indoor space. Probably the most well-known is in an air conditioning system. They trap dust, dander, and other particulates in the air. However, they eventually reach a saturation point and require replacement. Remember to change the filter in your air system once per month. This will keep the dust level down. HEPA filters are also present in vacuums and air purifiers. Change them at the recommended intervals to ensure best performance.

Use an Air Purifier

The air purifier is probably the single most important of these seven steps. It acts as a back-up system for all the others. There are many options out there, but focus on functionality beyond a filter. If you are changing the filter in your air system at monthly intervals (or close to it!) this will fulfill the air filtering need. An air purifier that is strictly a HEPA filter will not make any further difference. Look for something that eliminates VOCs, bacteria, mold, and viruses. These are the things that the other steps here can only limit at best. The air purifier can eliminate them. Also, look for something with an established technology from a well-known source.  Avoid anything that actively puts something into the indoor environment. Particularly anything that emits Ozone or Ions. These can be quite dangerous themselves, and are banned in many places.

Following these seven steps will lead to better indoor air quality. Follow them at home and in the office. If enough people can start to make this common practice, pressure will be put on the administrators of public spaces to do likewise. By setting a good example in our own lives, we act as a catalyst to change things for the better.

Better Air Means Better Sleep

Researchers at the University of Washington were painfully aware of the negative cardiac and respiratory effects of air pollution. But, how did it effect other areas of comfort and wellbeing? Martha E. Billings, MD a research physician reasoned that because of these documented effects on the upper respiratory system, there must be impacts on areas of the brain that simultaneously control breathing patterns and sleep. In a study involving 1,833 individuals with an average age of 68, they examined the effects of Nitrogen Dioxide and PM 2.5 because these are the most pervasive pollutants in society. Both being car exhaust residual. The findings were troubling, to say the least. This work was of particular interest to Airocide because our new PM 2.5 unit is capable of removing both of these pollutants. Since we recommend our home units be placed in the consumer’s bedroom to be run continuously, this is a fabulous selling point for the product.

 

The study utilized a metric called wrist actigraphy, which measures small movements. It provides data about sleep and wake patterns. These were measured over seven days. The measure is generally referred to as “sleep efficiency”. Billings and her team noticed that the bottom quartile of participants had a sleep efficiency of 88% or less. So, they focused in on the pollution exposure of the low efficiency group. They were able to determine that those with the highest exposure to Nitrogen Dioxide over the previous five years had the lowest sleep efficiency. Furthermore, those with the highest exposures to PM 2.5 had a fifty percent higher likelihood of lessened sleep efficiency. Other factors were ruled out conclusively as the researchers adjusted for age, body mass, obstructive sleep apnea, race/ethnicity, income and smoking status. The study will be released to the public in May, and we are eagerly awaiting its publication. Dr.Billings also indicated a desire for future work on other air pollutants.

 

Frankly, this is the best case for Airocide I have heard in a long while. Look at our PM 2.5 reduction results we observed in a residential home (mine). We have the opportunity to market our PM 2.5 unit as a way to improve sleep. This adds even further weight to our feel better guarantee.

 

David A.Ghelerter Chief Science and Technology Officer, Airocide

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