We spend 90% of our time indoors and breathe 15,000 to 40,000 litres of air per day. The implications of indoor air quality (IAQ) on people’s health are significant. High-quality indoor air is essential for health, with both immediate and long-term effect. Clean indoor air improves work performance and efficiency and has several direct and indirect indications on wellbeing in general. Studies have shown that the quality of indoor air is important even for cognitive function and learning.
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Indoors, air quality can be compromised by several factors: microbes growing in the construction as a result of excess moisture, gaseous substances that evaporate from construction materials, fiber-like impurities and fine particles from polluted outdoor air. Unfortunately, the hazards of indoor air contaminants are often overlooked for they are invisible and insidious. Also, current air quality standards and requirements are not up-to-date with latest research on what really makes us sick in indoor air.
Airborne particles and other air contaminants are known to be a major health risk, causing serious illnesses including respiratory infections and heart disease, and even reducing lifetime. Common symptoms include allergy, eye irritation, congestion, headache and skin symptoms.
All over the world, building-related issues with indoor air quality are a serious problem. Especially in the Nordics, general discussion on the so-called Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) goes on heated. Moisture damage and poor material choices, for example, release harmful chemicals, microbes and fine particles in indoor air. These substances cause health problems and discomfort to the people in the building.
However, the most dangerous component in indoor air is fine particles – from both outdoor and indoor sources. Air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental risk, and causes 7 million premature deaths every year. Airborne particulates are classified as a group 1 carcinogen, according to WHO and International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Air pollution is a significant risk factor for a number of health conditions, including respiratory infections, heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. 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.
Ultrafine particles are the most dangerous species of airborne impurities. They are characterized by ultrasmall size and large surface area to weight ratio. By definition, the hydrodynamic radius of ultrafine particles is less than 100 nanometers (=0.1 micrometers). Common sources of nanosized particles are industry, motor vehicles and other combustion devices.
Health risks of ultrafine particles arise from 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. These can only be decontaminated with advanced air purification technology such as the Genano technology.
Airborne chemicals such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have a significant negative impact on health and well-being. These substances are emitted by new furniture, construction materials and microbes. VOCs are, for example, plasticizers used in various polymer materials that cause “new plastic smell”. They are hormone-disrupting molecules that are harmful to health. On the other hand, perfumes used by people and fragrances of laundry detergents can cause serious respiratory symptoms to sensitive individuals.
Moisture-damaged materials are a source of different types of airborne contaminants that have adverse health effects. Prolonged exposure to moisture gives rise to microbial growth, which can get aggressive even long after the damage. Exposure to microbial contaminants is clinically associated with respiratory symptoms, allergies, asthma and immunological reactions.
According to recent studies, indoor air symptoms are mainly due to toxin compounds excreted by microbes. Toxins are small and stable chemical compounds, which can enter indoor air on mold spores and fine particles but they are also carried by water vapor. Microbes themselves produce liquid droplets with toxin concentration a hundred times higher compared to particulates and the colony itself.
Microbial toxins cause eye irritation and skin and respiratory irritation. Symptoms typically result from exposure to a mixture of different toxins produced by different microbes, which makes it difficult to find the original cause for the problems. In addition to toxins, microbes also produce VOCs which have similar negative effects.
Good air quality is essential to cognitive performance of both of adults and children. Studies have shown significant correlation between IAQ and people’s ability to concentrate and learn, with bad IQA resulting in almost 10 % loss in productivity at work and 11 % decrease in school performance for students in schools with impure air.
Poor air quality at the work place causes trivial symptoms that become easily yet falsely explained by something other than the air – you feel tired and get flu-like symptoms, your ability to explain things becomes slower, as will your typing. Poor air quality can decrease productivity even up to 10 %.
In workplaces and learning environments where people’s wellbeing, comfort and productivity are a priority, the need for clean air is obvious. Investing in high-quality indoor air can be compared, for example, to ergonomic office furniture. In the long run, it promotes the user’s health and productivity and prevents illness and resulting costs. As an investment, the most cost-effective solution is to ensure high-quality indoor air at all stages of the building lifecycle.
In case of students, poor IAQ leads into poorer school performance and tests results, with some studies showing even 11% poorer results for students in schools with polluted indoor air. And while everyone suffers, asthmatic children are most at risk primarily due to being more sensitive to indoor pollution leading to worse symptoms and more absences. Some studies even show that there may be long-term impact on the development of a child’s brain when subjected to air pollution.
Endurance and ability to fully perform in tight spots suffers when you’re not breathing clean air. During sports, the lungs and body need more air. If the air is not clean, your performance suffers (see our recent blog post on IAQ and athletic performance). Some studies show even 16% drops in athletic performance once air pollution particles reach 50µg/m3.
Genano air purifiers are an efficient way to reduce the health risks of indoor air contaminants, especially ultrafine particles (PM0,1), microbes and chemicals.
Genano’s core advantage is the ability to remove airborne impurities of all sizes – down to nanometer size.
Based on a patented electric air purification method, Genano technology outperformes traditional fiber-filter systems that fail to remove nanosized particles and gases from indoor air. Compared to standard HEPA filters, Genano’s purification performance is a 100 times better in terms of particle size. In addition, Genano kills microbes instead of just collecting them.
With Genano air purifiers you can make sure that indoor air is safe to breath.
CLEAN AIR FOR
Genano purifies air constantly from contaminants of both indoor and outdoor origin, including mold spores and toxins, small particles and harmful gaseous substances. In addition, Genano air purifiers not only remove but permanently kill airborne viruses and bacteria.
Genano air purifiers are designed to continuously recycle and purify indoor air, to improve air quality with a normal air ventilation system. The standalone units are easy to move around when needed.
Unlike devices based on filter technologies, Genano technology cleans the air in free air flow, so the air volume and the purification level are constant at all times. Genano air purifiers do not get clogged up by large amounts of particles, and no exchange of expensive filters is required. Genano is a durable, economical solution with low need for maintenance.
The unique patented Genano Technology® is based on co-operation between the process of ionization and electrostatic attraction of particles. It cleans the air from particulate matter of all sizes.
The patented technology has been scientifically tested down to 3 nanometer size particles (PM0.003) – Genano Technology removes 99.5% of even the smallest of the particles.
In addition, Genano air purifiers are equipped with high-surface-area active carbon collectors that remove gaseous substances.
1. Purifies air from particles of all sizes down to nanoscale and eliminates microbes.
2. Removes gases and odours with an effective active carbon collector.
3. Cost-effective maintenance with no disposable fiber filters.
The superior Genano technology has made us for example the #1 provider of air purifiers in public buildings in Finland, including offices, schools and kindergartens that suffer from indoor air quality problems. To learn more about our customers, see the case stories below: