According to the latest statistics published by Our World in Data, 4.5 million people died prematurely from outdoor air pollution in one year. A statistic that you may find even more shocking is that 2.3 million died from air pollution indoors. Every one of these deaths is preventable, which is why we need to raise awareness about clean air.
Clean Air Day is an initiative that aims to do just that. Today, events up and down the country will seek to raise awareness about the impact air pollution – indoor and out – has on our health. This year’s theme is “air pollution dirties every organ in your body”, which will highlight how poor air quality affects more than just our lungs.
But if indoor quality is indeed such a problem, where are these pollutants coming from? And what can we do to make the air we breathe in our homes and workplaces safer?
What causes poor indoor air quality?
Most of us associate air pollution with the outdoors. Particles like PM.2s, ozone, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide are produced by vehicle fumes, industrial sites, and chemical reactions that happen in the atmosphere. However, a large amount of the pollution we breathe in is produced indoors. This is because, on average, we spend most of our time in our homes, offices, schools, or other places of work.
Pollution builds in these indoor settings as it’s often not comfortable or possible to open windows. This allows harmful particles to build up. Many of these are biological matter like mould, mildew, pet dander and dust. These can cause allergies and respiratory illnesses. Other smaller biological particles include bacteria and viruses, such as COVID-19.
However, there may be more harmful particles coming from the places you least expect. Office equipment, like copiers and laser printers, emit microscopic particles known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These can penetrate deep into the lungs, increasing the risk of serious disease.
Even products that are intended to make our homes and workplaces smell clean and fresh can be hazardous. Many cleaning products also give off VOCs, some of which are potent enough to cause headaches. Ingredients in air fresheners and scented candles are also largely completely unregulated, which means many manufacturers continue to include volatile and semi-volatile compounds.
How can you improve indoor air quality?
So if everything from the humble scented candle to the copier is contributing to a decline in indoor air quality, what can we do to maintain healthy conditions? In a workplace, management should seriously consider investing in air purification to reduce absenteeism, maintain comfort, increase productivity, wellbeing and safety.
Air purifying systems, like those offered by Rejuvenair, can play a significant role in improving air quality indoors. Rejuvenair units combine UVC light and HEPA-13 filters to eliminate 99.9% of pathogens in the air, including VOCs and COVID-19. This is achieved without having to take other ventilation measures, such as opening windows, which are impractical in colder months.
Plus, with the app, you can stay abreast of the air quality in your building. With insights in the palm of your hand and Rejuvenair at your side, you can do your bit this Clean Air Day to make the air your team breathes better.