What is Indoor Air Pollution?

Most of us think of air pollution as the outdoor emissions from car exhausts, air travel, and industry, but there can be equally dangerous indoor air pollutants lurking inside.

At Radic8, we speak a lot about indoor air quality — and in particular, just how polluted the air in our homes, offices, and public spaces has become.

Traditionally, the idea of ‘pollution’ conjures images of poorly treated outdoor spaces, natural places where waste or refuse has been dumped, smog hanging over long lines of traffic in cities, or the towering smokestacks of industry and manufacturing pouring chemicals into the atmosphere.

However, the quality of air inside is a far greater concern to our health and wellbeing — air that by more and more health organizations is now considered ‘polluted’, but what exactly are we talking about when we refer to indoor air pollution and why is it such a threat?

Radic8 divides indoor air pollution into three distinct categories, each one dealt with in a specialized manner by our VIRUSKILLER™ enabled devices:

Dirty air

Dirty air carries foreign particles that are harmful to our bodies when inhaled.

indoor air pollution dirty airThis most often refers to coarse particulate matter such as dust, pollen, and pet dander, as well as mold from our bathrooms and airborne particles from food preparation or waste products. Dirty air can easily make its way indoors from gardens or nearby construction, or from industry by-products laden with metals, sawdust, concrete, dust, and more1.

Dirty air is a major cause of respiratory and sinus-related issues. This can include shortness of breath, coughing, and sneezing, as well as causing havoc for those who suffer from allergies or asthma. In addition, dirty air can be dangerous for those with comorbidities or compromised lungs.

Dirty air needs to undergo filtration. VIRUSKILLER™ employs a triple arrangement of high-quality filters to trap coarse, fine, and ultrafine particles with extreme efficiency, removing particulates from the air and providing respiratory relief.

Toxic air

Toxic air carries, or is composed of, harmful gases, smoke, and fumes.

indoor air pollutant toxic airMost obvious is the infiltration of toxins — toxic air that works its way indoors from the surrounding environment. Outdoor pollutants like toluene from vehicle exhaust emissions as well as nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO) fumes2, and gases from industries located nearby can make their way indoors, contaminating the air in our homes and places of work3. These gases, in particular, have been attributed to causing headaches and drowsiness, as well as reducing mental performance and acuity, all the while exacerbating allergies and respiratory issues. There is also a real concern that urban emissions could lead to the development of certain cancers, stroke, heart disease, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma4.

However, toxic air doesn’t just make its way indoors from outside. VOCs and gases, such as formaldehyde, benzene, and ethylene glycol5 can be emitted by materials such as new carpets and furnishings6, and remain present in the air for up to two years after installation. Toxic fumes from cleaning products, paints, nail polishes, adhesives, plastics, and toys have also been linked to asthma and skin reactions such as allergic contact dermatitis and urticaria7. Even wooden flooring and furniture can be treated with toxic laminates for the purposes of aesthetics and waterproofing, emitting fumes that can negatively affect our health.

Toxic air needs to be neutralized, which is to say the smoke or gas must be rendered inert. VIRUSKILLER™ attacks toxic air on multiple fronts. Layers of activated carbon efficiently adsorb toxic fumes, while the patented Reactor Chamber zaps remaining pathogens as air moves through the device.

Sick air

Sick air carries organic pathogens, such and viruses, bacteria, mold, and fungi.

indoor air pollution sick airSick air aids in the spread of infectious disease and is a carrier for pathogenic bioaerosols and droplets. From mold in poorly maintained ventilation causing massive damage to the lungs when inhaled8, to bugs and infections caused by airborne organic waste, and of course the rampant spread of airborne viruses in indoor spaces across the globe.

Sick air is the most threatening of the indoor pollutants and also the most difficult to treat. Many viruses can pass untouched through even high-end filters and are resilient enough to withstand entrapment and exposure to chemical decontamination. Sick air is the problem that VIRUSKILLER™ was designed to overcome.

The patented Reactor Chamber is the heart of VIRUSKILLER™, featuring world-class UV-C photocatalytic oxidation technology that exposes air inside the unit to a huge number of germicidal hydroxyl radicals. Any viruses or bacteria that manage to make their way through the filters are exposed to the most highly awarded decontamination technology available in an all-in-one device, efficiently deactivating viruses on a single air pass. Learn more about the VIRUSKILLER™ Reactor Chamber.

What is Indoor Air Pollution? 1

An all-in-one solution

The quality of air in the developed world is truly in crisis, affecting the health of everyone from children and teachers in schools and creches to office workers, healthcare professionals, and even families in their own homes. With many in urban areas spending more than 90% of their time indoors9, people around the world haven’t had any choice in the quality of indoor air they breathe each day — until now.

VIRUSKILLER™ is the all-in-one technology for dealing with dirty, sick and toxic air in real-time. With a 16-year track record and over 400,000 installations worldwide, the challenge of poor indoor air quality is being solved one space at a time, enabling Radic8 to share clean air with everyone, everywhere.


[1] US Environmental Protection Agency. Introduction to Indoor Air Quality. EPA https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/introduction-indoor-air-quality

[2] 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

[3] 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/

[4] World Health Organization. Ambient (outdoor) air pollution. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ambient-(outdoor)-air-quality-and-health

[5] Minnesota Department of Health. Volatile Organic Compounds in Your Home. https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/air/toxins/voc.htm

[6] The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Formaldehyde and your health. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/formaldehyde/index.html

[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] The National Center for Biotechnology Information Mold, damp and the lungs. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5709805/

[9] U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Air and Radiation. “Report to Congress on Indoor Air Quality”. EPA. Volume II: Assessment and Control of Indoor Air Pollution, 1989, 4-14

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