The Health and Economic Benefits of Indoor Air Filtration
The significant deterioration of indoor air quality in buildings and homes has made indoor air pollution a major environmental health risk. Indoor air pollutants or airborne contaminants can be particulate matter such as allergens and emissions from cooking stoves or gaseous pollutants from tobacco, fossil fuel combustion, and chemicals.
Cleaning indoor air usually involves controlling or removing pollutants at their sources and ventilating a home with outdoor air. However, outdoor air can be more polluted than indoor air and the chemical agents that eliminate allergens and other contaminants are pollutants themselves. Adding an indoor air filtration system such as Trane CleanEffects into an anti-air pollution program can improve its chances of success, as well as bring certain benefits. The benefits of indoor air filtration are discussed below.
- Reduction in the incidence of allergies and respiratory diseases. Indoor air pollution has caused an alarming increase in the incidence of allergies and asthma and other respiratory illnesses in many age groups. Asthmatics and allergy sufferers are particularly affected by air pollution. They are not safe indoors as mold spores, pollen, microscopic dust, and other contaminants are present in indoor air. A HEPA or high-efficiency particulate air filter can remove 99.97 percent of particles 0.3 microns in diameter, but a Trane CleanEffects filter removes particles 0.1 micron in diameter with a similar efficiency. Many allergens and pollutants fall under this size range. Installing air filters, in addition to employing other allergen-control measures, can significantly lower allergen concentrations in indoor air and consequently lower the incidence of allergies, asthma, and similar illnesses. More importantly, the filters remove of the toxic substances of secondhand smoke that is linked to lung cancer, heart disease, and respiratory diseases.
- Less risk for sick building syndrome. Sick building syndrome is a poorly-understood phenomenon, but researchers have identified indoor air pollution as one of its possible causes. Filtering indoor air can remove one causative factor for the syndrome that is characterized by the onset of respiratory and allergy-like symptoms in individuals occupying the same building.
- Increased productivity. Indoor air pollution costs U.S. businesses billions of dollars annually from lost productivity or, worse, premature deaths of their employees. Although companies sometimes need to invest in a building-wide air filtration system, the cost is offset by less downtime from illnesses and unnecessary healthcare costs. Students formerly bothered by indoor air pollutants will similarly experience increased productivity with their academic work when air filters are used in combination with allergen-control programs in their homes.
Unless an individual is prepared to wear a gas mask indoors to protect himself against air pollutants, the best that he can do to breathe clean air without a mask is to use an indoor air filtration system, in addition to other antipollution measures. Implementing these measures can be daunting, but their health and economic benefits are enormous.