Travelling in Beijing last year, I experienced at first hand the atrocious throat-burning effects of air pollution. With thick smog covering the sun and views across the Forbidden City to Tiananmen Square, the acrid pollution could be smelt, tasted and even touched, due to a carpet of fine grey dust which covered everything in sight.
Here in the UK, outdoor pollution is also having a devastating effect on our health, with recent research showing that 8% deaths are estimated to be linked to pollution.
Worrying news indeed, but what is even more worrying and relatively unknown, is the fact that, accordingly the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air can be two to five times – and sometimes up to 100 times – more polluted than air outside!
So what causes indoor air pollution? According to the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, the three groups of issues that are most relevant for public health:
- biological indoor air pollutants (dampness and mould)
- chemical indoor air pollutants
- pollutants from indoor combustion of fuels.
Biological indoor air pollutants: dampness and mould
Persistent damp and mould growth in the home, whether caused by condensation, rising damp or leaking pipes, creates the perfect environment for microbial pollution. Prolonged exposure to this causes respiratory symptoms, allergies and asthma and can also affect the immunological system.
Chemical indoor air pollutants
Frighteningly our love of interior makeovers with new furnishings, floor coverings and colour paint palettes brings a whole host of chemical pollutants into our homes which can be harmful to our health, such as:
Benzene – present in particleboard furniture, plywood, flooring adhesives, paints, wood panelling, caulking and paint remover.
Formaldehyde present in laminates, rugs, paints, varnishes as well as wall paper, fabric dye and tobacco smoke.
Pollutants from indoor combustion of fuels
In 2012 alone, no fewer than 4.3 million children and adults died prematurely from illnesses caused by household air pollution (caused by solid fuels burned in inefficient and highly polluting cooking and heating stoves), according to estimates by the World Health Organization.
How can we reduce indoor air pollution?
With many of us spending up to 90% of our time indoors, breathing in this cocktail of potentially toxic pollutants, we need find ways to reduce our exposure and clean up our air.
Simple ways in which we can reduce our exposure to toxins in the home include making a switch from chemical-laden commercial cleaning products to all-natural, non-toxic homemade recipes.
Another switch, which can make a positive difference to the air you breathe, is to ditch conventional paints made up of formaldehyde, heavy metals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and use water-based paints and those made from natural, raw materials which are free of petrochemicals.
But how can we be sure the air in our home isn’t a health hazard? What can we do to remove the dust mites that trigger asthma or the pet dander that causes allergies or the airborne viruses that cause colds or influenza?
Blueair Air Purifier
A sure-fire way of ridding 99.97% of all pollutants in your indoor air is to invest in an air purifier, like the Blueair Classic air purifier 405 which I have been sent to review.
Designed to capture airborne particles as small as 0.1micron* in size, the Blueair Classic air purifier cleans indoor air of dust, pollen, pet dander, cigarette smoke, bacteria, traffic and industrial particles as well as the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in paints, floor polishes, furnishings and cleaning products such as chlorine.
Using it’s own unique technology, HEPASilent™, the Blueair Classic uses an electrostatic and mechanical filtration system with a ‘revolutionary combination of advanced filter media and an encapsulated particle-energising chamber’ working together to give incredible results.
Firstly the powerful fan draws the air into the purifier, then the airborne articles pass through the partiicle-energising chamber, finally as the polluted air flows through the gradient structure filter, the energised particles stick to the polypropylene fibres.
As well as having the peace of mind that the Blueair Classic is quietly and energy-efficiently cleaning the air in your home, it can also be conveniently controlled via the Blueair Friend smartphone app. Controlling functions such as fan speed, LED display, child-lock and night mode you have the flexibility of pure, clean air at the touch of your phone screen.
Experiencing the negative effects of polluted air myself and also being a sufferer of hayfever for 6 months of every year, I am really keen to see how the Blueair Classic will improve the indoor air in my own home. At this time of year, it is, of course, too early to share any significant improvement to my own allergies, but what I can share is how easy it is to use, how incredibly quiet it is and how ‘clean’ the air smells in home, particularly where my dog sleeps at night.
For those who suffer from asthma, allergies or those who want to live in a cleaner, more healthy environment, I would certainly recommend investing in a Blueair air purifier. With regular articles in the news reporting that our outdoor air quality is declining and has already contributed to the shortening of the lives of around 50,000 people a year in the UK alone, knowing that your family can benefit from cleaner, healthier indoor air in your home is surely is worth the investment.
*To put that in perspective, a single hair from your head is about 70 microns in diameter!
To find out more about Blueair Air Purifiers visit their website here www.blueair/com/gb