According to The Lanchet (2017), exposure to air pollution (from both outdoor and indoor sources) was linked to 6.5 million deaths word wide in 2015. Polluted air is thus responsible for more deaths than a high-sodium diet (4·1 million), obesity (4·0 million), alcohol (2·3 million), road accidents (1·4 million), or child and maternal malnutrition (1·4 million), as pointed out in the study.
Given that most people spend about 90% of their time inside, the implications of indoor air quality (IAQ) on people’s health are significant. Exposure to airborne impurities can cause various symptoms, such as allergy, eye irritation, congestion, headache and skin symptoms. If the exposure to impurities continues long enough, it can result in a permanent illness and ultimately, premature death.
Ultrasmall particles – the invisible killer
Of all types of pollution, airborne fine particles are known to be the biggest health risk, causing serious illnesses including respiratory infections and heart disease, and even reducing lifetime. Reports often talk about PM2.5, referring to particle size less than 2,5 μm in diameter, which have the strongest causal associations to cardiovascular and pulmonary disease. A 2013 study showed that there is no safe level of particulates. Instead, for every increase of 10 µm/m3 in PM10 (inhalable particles) in the air, lung cancer rate rises 22 %. Smaller PM2.5 (fine particles) are particularly deadly, with 36 % increase in lung cancer rate per 10 µm/m3. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has reported that airborne particulate matter and ambient air pollution are proven group 1 human carcinogens.
However, there is growing evidence on one spesific sub-category of PM2.5 proven to be the most harmful to human health – that is ultra-fine particles, less than 0,1μm in size. They are characterized by ultrasmall size and large surface area to weight ratio.
Ultrafine particles are the most dangerous particle species for their ability to absorb directly into the bloodstream and migrate into organs, including the brain and the heart.
Nanosized airborne impurities include viruses, mold toxins and particles from polluted outdoor air (industry, motor vehicles and other combustion devices). These can only be decontaminated with advanced air purification technology such as the Genano technology.
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