COVID-19: An Indoor Air Quality Wake-Up Call

air pollution man in mask

The condition of our indoor air has only recently been garnering the attention it so desperately deserves — it took a global pandemic to raise public awareness around the quality of the air we breathe at work, at school, and at home. Of course, the spotlight was cast primarily on the link between air pollution and viral transmission. We now understand that the poor quality of air in our spaces aided in the rapid spread of the virus, shining a light on air pollutants as a vehicle for pandemic1.

However, the real air quality lesson is not about the mechanics of viral spread, but rather the reality of the extreme levels of indoor air pollution that most of us are exposed to. Our air was in crisis long before COVID-19 struck2 and will remain so long after if left uncared for.

Living with indoor air pollution

child sneezingWe live and work in spaces that are rife with indoor air pollutants that are a risk factor for several of the world’s leading causes of death, including heart disease, pneumonia, stroke, diabetes, and lung cancer3, making indoor air pollution a major environmental and public health challenge4.

Allergens, which to many may seem like a minor inconvenience, are increasingly contributing to a global respiratory health crisis. Dust, pollen, and pet dander, as well as mould from our bathrooms and airborne particles from food preparation or waste exacerbate respiratory and sinus-related issues such as allergies and asthma, as well as causing shortness of breath.

Toxic fumes, such as toluene from vehicle exhaust emissions, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO) fumes5, and gases from industries make their way indoors, contaminating the air in our homes, schools, and places of work6 and have been linked to asthma and skin reactions, such as allergic contact dermatitis and urticaria.7

microorganisms petri dishEven more nefarious pollutants have simply become a fact of modern life. Formaldehyde, benzene, and ethylene glycol8, which are emitted by carpets and furnishings9, and toxic fumes emitted from cleaning products, paints, adhesives, plastics, and office equipment10 are an ever-present and near-undetectable threat that jeopardises both our physical and cognitive health.

If that weren’t enough, an increasing body of evidence reveals the deadly nature of our unwitting coexistence with indoor air pollution. Once inhaled, ultrafine particles cannot be expelled from the body. They make their way into the bloodstream where they cause long-term damage and are now known to be carriers of infectious viruses.

It seems natural to assume that the air inside is cleaner than the air outside. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. As an increasingly indoor species, air pollution is nevertheless the cause of around seven million premature deaths each year11 as a result of stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, and acute respiratory infections.

Simply put, the air inside is simply not safe — and not just due to COVID-19.

Indoor air safety

It is time that we took the quality of indoor air seriously. For too long, we have spared little thought to the air we are forced to share, and have hand-waved away the threat as being invisible, insignificant, or insurmountable. We need to commit to breathing air as clean as the water we drink, and treat the air in our public spaces with the same care we apply to the hygiene of shared surfaces and equipment.

room with air deconatminator

VIRUSKILLER™

Radic8 is on a mission to deliver clean indoor air everywhere, and it is doing so in industries across the globe with VIRUSKILLER™ — the world’s leading indoor air safety technology, designed from the ground up to put clean air back into our shared spaces.

VIRUSKILLER™ devices are not conventional air purifiers. Where lifestyle air purifiers filter allergens and perhaps neutralize some categories of toxic gas, they can do little to break down pathogens and truly deactivate them. Many viruses can pass untouched through even high-end filters and are resilient enough to withstand entrapment and exposure to chemical decontamination, leaving potentially dangerous pathogens suspended in the air that can be inhaled and cause illness and disease.

woman yoga air purifier

VIRUSKILLER™ is an all-in-one air safety solution, in a range of devices in various form factors to suit any indoor space. It combines world-class air purification and filtration with patented, active virus decontamination technology that instantly delivers clean air to the occupants of a room or space with unequalled performance. Rather than acting as a simple fan, VIRUSKILLER™ incorporates sophisticated airflow control to ensure that contaminated air is replaced with clean air where it matters most — the area in which occupants breathe. No other technology features this level of world-class clean air performance and airflow dynamics.

With a 16-year track record and over 400,000 installations worldwide, VIRUSKILLER™ is raising the standard of indoor air one space at a time.  Join the indoor air revolution, and share healthy, clean air in your spaces with VIRUSKILLER™.

 


References

  1. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “Air pollution linked with higher COVID-19 death rates”. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/air-pollution-linked-with-higher-covid-19-death-rates/
  2. Oxford Academic. “Air pollution: the emergence of a major global health risk factor”. https://academic.oup.com/inthealth/article/11/6/417/5587652
  3. World Health Organization.  “Household air pollution and health”. WHO.  https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/household-air-pollution-and-health
  4. World Health Organization. “Indoor air pollution in developing countries: a major environmental and public health challenge”. WHO. https://www.who.int/bulletin/archives/78(9)1078.pdf
  5. Shilton, V.; et al. “The relationships between indoor and outdoor respirable particulate matter: meteorology, chemistry and personal exposure”, Indoor and Built Environment, vol.11, 2002, 5, 266-274
  6. The National Center for Biotechnology Information. Review of evidence on health aspects of air pollution – REVIHAAP Project: Technical Report. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK361807/
  7. The National Center for Biotechnology Information. Potential Health Effects Associated with Dermal Exposure to Occupational Chemicals. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4270264/
  8. Minnesota Department of Health. Volatile Organic Compounds in Your Home. https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/air/toxins/voc.htm
  9. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Formaldehyde and your health. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/formaldehyde/index.html
  10. Cacho, C. et al. “Air pollutants in office environments and emissions from electronic equipment: A Review. A”. Fresenius Environmental Bulletin, vol. 11, 2013
  11. World Health Organization. “Air Pollution”. WHO https://www.who.int/health-topics/air-pollution#tab=tab_1

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