The impact of healthy air

Lauren Alkire
April 21, 2018

We exercise, watch what we eat, protect our children from toxins and overall, we try to take steps to living a healthier life. But what about the air we are breathing in our offices, schools, homes and other public spaces?

Clean air is a critical component to our health. Outdoor air pollution is the number one environmental cause of death, contributing to 50,000 premature deaths annually in the UK and approximately 7 million premature deaths worldwide. Indoor air can often be 5 to 10 times worse than outdoor air. As our outdoor air worsens globally, it is harder to clean our indoor air by simply opening a window.

When we think of outdoor air pollutants, we think of traffic, construction, farming and agriculture, but what about the pollutants inside your home or workplace? Or the hazards inside your children’s classrooms, daycares, or athletic program buildings. The truth is, we spend 90% of our time indoors. Indoor Air Quality can be degraded by outdoor sources, as well as by off-gassing from everyday items that we have in the spaces we spend our time. Optimizing ventilation systems, using air purifiers, and monitoring Indoor Air Quality is now a necessity.

Some of the most common causes of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are furniture; including mattresses, couches, chairs, etc.; carpets; particle board or plywood; household cleaners; dryer sheets; nail polish remover; paint; candles and air fresheners; toys; and more. You know that new car and new home smell? Some new furniture and materials cause off-gassing of VOCs for up to 5 years. Other concerns are high humidity, which often causes bacteria, dust mites and mold, as well as an increase of off-gassing of formaldehyde (another volatile compound that is used in the manufacturing of many household products.) All of these contaminants contribute to a range of negative health effects such as asthma, allergies and other respiratory issues.

Carbon dioxide or CO2 is a natural part of the air we breathe. However, when indoors, it becomes trapped and concentrate to unhealthy levels quickly without good ventilation. Heightened levels of CO2 contribute to headaches, restlessness, drowsiness, poor sleep, snoring and more. Fresh air contains about 400ppm (ppm is parts per million) of CO2. Indoor CO2 levels are acceptable from around 600 ppm and ideally shouldn’t rise above 1000ppm. At that level, symptoms will start to become obvious and productivity in classrooms, offices and more will decline.

Radon is another invisible threat and is found everywhere as part of the air we breathe. It is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, killing approximately 58 people per day in the U.S. alone. Radon is an invisible, odorless and tasteless radioactive gas that enters buildings through cracks, drains and other small openings in the foundation of homes and buildings.

Good ventilation and fresh air, however, cleans your lungs and reduces negative side-effects, absenteeism in the workplace and in schools, and even reduces infectious disease transmission. In a recent study, good air quality (low in VOCs and CO2) was directly correlated to better decision making, higher cognitive ability and improvements in planning, staying prepared, and strategizing during crises.

There is a solution! Continuously monitoring your Indoor Air Quality allows you to visualize your indoor air and make changes to keep your family healthy. When you know what is hiding in your air, you gain knowledge and insight into how your air changes hour by hour, when to replace air filters, how to optimize your air filtration system and when to simply open a window and let fresh air in.

What can fresh air do for you? Fresh air helps clean your lungs, prevents airborne illnesses, improves intellectual performance and can also improve overall blood pressure and heart rates.

Airthings Wave Plus is the first Bluetooth connected and battery operated Indoor Air Quality monitor with radon detection, designed for all populated spaces to help ensure we’re breathing clean air. The new solution provides building managers, employers and homeowners with full visibility into the three most serious indoor air pollutants: radon, carbon dioxide (CO2) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Through the Airthings App and Dashboard, users have access to interpretations of IAQ data, and tips to reduce indoor air hazards, optimize ventilation and save energy. Temperature, air pressure and humidity are also monitored, and indication of occupancy is possible. Alternately, users can simply wave in front of the device to receive a color-coded visual indicator (green – good, yellow – warning, red – danger) of the overall air quality.

With the Wave Plus, breathing fresh, clean air has never been easier.


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