Air Pollution and Why Is It Bad for You

Introduction:

 

 Every day, we hear about the deadly levels of air pollution, whether on the streets of New Delhi or the hard-hit areas of UP and Punjab in India, with deteriorating levels of AQI and harmful intoxicants entering your body every day.
Air pollution affects our present and is also hindering our future generations from leading a healthy life. There is a dire need to fight for healthy air. And this is possible only when humans work together to combat the increasing air pollution problem because of multiple human activities. 

Air pollution is the contamination caused in the indoor or outdoor environment that alters the natural characteristics of the atmosphere. This can be done by any chemical, physical or biological agent. (1) The common sources of air pollution are motor vehicles, industrial facilities, household combustion devices, and forest fires. 

These sources that cause air pollution lead to many ill effects. Yearly, millions die because of the rising levels of air pollution. Data shows that almost 99% of the global population breathes air that exceeds WHO guideline limits containing high levels of pollutants. (2)(3)

Humans are affected by Air Pollution mainly when they breathe in harmful pollutants through the respiratory tract that leads to inflammation and other disorders within our body. This further affects the heart, brain, and lungs, ultimately leading to disease or death. (4) It can lead to health hazards like lung cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, and acute respiratory infections.

Household air pollution is one of the major causes of disease and premature death. The sources of these harmful contaminants in the air come from practices of the urban lifestyle of people. These include kitchen smoke, cigarette smoke, vehicle smoke from basement car parking, biological pollutants like fungus from carpet, wet cloth, dust mite waste, fine dust, dust from unclean AC filters, allergic aerosol, insect sprays and repellents, pesticide residue, pet hairs, etc.

 

Top-5 Causes of Air Pollution 

It is high time we accept that humans are a major reason for air pollution, and we need to stand united to eradicate this growing problem. Air pollution is one of the biggest problems humans face today. This is backed by the fact that most air pollution comes from energy use and production, as summarised in the Climate and Clean Energy program at NRDC. (5)(6) Air pollution is determined as the presence of pollutants in the air like hydrocarbons, dispersed particles, CO2, CO, NO2, NO, SO3, etc. A few of the major causes of air pollution are:

  1. Climate change - increases the production of allergenic air pollutants, including mild and pollen. (7)
  2. Mobile sources of air pollution like cars, automobiles, railways, airways, and other vehicles. (8)
  3. Natural sources of air pollution include physical disasters such as forest fires, dust storms, volcanic erosion, and agricultural burning. (9)
  4. Indian Festivals (10) include how celebrations like Diwali and Lohri affect the Air quality in states like Delhi, Punjab, UP, etc.
  5. Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a rising concern, especially in urban settings, because of the sick building syndrome emerging. This is because of energy consumption, organic compounds (VOCs), and the accumulation of gaseous contaminants that affect human health and productivity. (10.1)

Effects of Air Pollution

The overall quality of air is unbreathable, which will harm the present and future generations. They will suffer because of the increasing number of diseases associated with air pollution. The effects of air pollution on the human body can vary and depend on the level, length, and type of exposure to pollutants. (9) Some major air pollution effects based on types of pollutants are: 

  • Effects of the Sick Building Syndrome

     Sick building syndrome occurs due to poor indoor air quality, induced by re-circulated air and air-conditioned air generated by equipment, machinery, office supplies, fax, Xerox, computers, etc.

    Not only that, but synthetic materials used in carpets and sofas are harmful as well. It will also be surprising that active and passive smokers are a major cause of indoor air pollution, leading to several health problems.

    Problems like dry throat, skin, watery eyes, running nose, chest tightness, lethargy, headache, and malaise are common among people. According to a CSE report, 30% of premature deaths in India are caused because of Air Pollution. (10.2) Unknowingly, people are consuming and inhaling micro-plastics and heavy metals. Air Pollution is also linked to miscarriages, breast cancer risk, and Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s diseases.

  • Effects On Humans

    We have already understood that air pollution can have a significant effect on human health. These effects can be long-term and short-term:

    Short-term effects are temporary and include illnesses such as pneumonia or bronchitis. Although they are not that serious, if not taken care of can lead to bigger health problems. It is always wise to tackle health problems when they start small, and being aware of short-term health problems will help us take care of ourselves. Other unpleasant effects include headaches, irritation to the eyes and skin, nausea, and dizziness.

    Long-term effects can last for quite a long time, sometimes even a lifetime which can ultimately lead to death. Understanding these long-term effects will help us be proactive in fighting them and ensuring that we can recover from these effects efficiently. These effects include respiratory diseases, heart diseases, lung cancer, and other damages to the brain, kidney, liver, and other organs.

  • Effects as per Age:

     Age plays a major role while talking about health. Young children and senior citizens are more susceptible to the harm caused by air pollution as they have a weaker immune system. Air pollution often depends on the type of pollutants a person is exposed to and the length of exposure. As they are more vulnerable, understanding what has triggered their health problems will aid in helping them recover. 

  • Environmental Effects

     Air pollution can have a drastic effect on plants, animals, and the entire ecosystem. As nature and human life are intertwined, any harm caused to nature will slowly but steadily harm human life as well. This is why we cannot ignore it. Air pollution can contaminate the soil and water, kill crops and mitigate their yield, kill young trees, create acid rain, degrade water quality, leading to more diseases, congenital disabilities, and lower reproductive rates.

  • Global Warming

     Everyone is aware of global warming and why it is harmful. Anthropogenic air pollution can cause severe Global Warming that refers to rising air and ocean temperatures worldwide. This is generally caused by an enhanced rate of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, emitted into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels, has had the biggest effect on global warming. Other greenhouse gases include nitrous oxide, methane, and fluorinated gases such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

 Types of Air Pollution

 Several pollutants may affect our breathability and can also affect the environment and society in many ways. Some of these pollutants that emerge from human activities are:

  • Smog and Soot

    Smog is ground-level ozone formed from the emissions from combusting fossil fuels reacting with sunlight. Soot can be in the form of gas or solids and is made up of tiny particles of chemicals, smoke, soil, dust, or allergens. (11)

  • Hazardous Air Pollutants

    Several toxic air pollutants like mercury, lead, dioxins, and benzene pose severe health risks and can even be fatal. Almost 200 of these pollutants are regulated by law and can have serious repercussions. (11)

  • Greenhouse Gases

    Greenhouse gases lead to warmer temperatures, which leads to more extreme weather, heat-related deaths, rising sea levels, and the increased transmission of infectious diseases. Another class of greenhouse gases, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), are more powerful than carbon dioxide to trap heat. (12)

  • Pollen and Mould

    Mould and allergens from weeds, trees, and grass can be hazardous to health and produce allergenic airborne pollutants, which can be dangerous for anyone to inhale. It can cause an allergy and lead to fevers, itchy eyes, runny noses, and other symptoms.

 

How to Help Reduce Air Pollution?

It is high time humans realise the relevance of clean air and the ill effects of air pollution. Air pollution needs to be dealt with, and we need to be more proactive in our approach. If we fail to do so, it will be impossible for our future generations to breathe clean air, and the effects they will experience will be far greater than what we would expect. (11

People must make an effort to burn less gasoline by making wise choices like using public transportation, riding a bike, or simply walking. They must choose solar, or wind energy supplied electricity which is great for the environment and will cause less pollution. It is best to shop local, as the more goods are imported or exported from one place to another, the higher the burned fossil fuels.

People need to choose the government wisely as the government can make stringent rules and regulations to encourage clean air and water, taking responsibility towards the change in the climate. Celebrating safe, noise-free, and pollution-free festivals is highly recommended to avoid harmful toxins and hazardous effects.

Finally, you must install a genuine air purifier in your households to reduce the harmful effects of air pollution like the sick building syndrome.

 

Install an Air Purifier

The wide range of air purifiers available by Eureka Forbes can be easily installed in any room of your house within a range of 2.79 sq. mt. to 102.19 sq. mt. (13) Some of the most popular categories are Dr Aeroguard and Aeroguard air purifiers from Eureka Forbes, these are well-equipped with HEPA filters. They keep you safe from airborne diseases resulting from the sick building syndrome and let you breathe healthily.

Aeroguard Pro 1000H with Humidifier/Aerial Fumigation System - India’s first air purifier to eliminate coronavirus with Mist technology. It releases sodium hypochlorite(NaOCl) / Hypochlorous acid (HOCl), which USEPA has approved as an effective disinfectant against COVID.

The Dr Aeroguard air purifiers by Eureka Forbes is certified by the Asthma Society of India. (14) It cleans indoor air with an efficiency rate of 99.9% and comes with an Active shield 2X plus a 9 stage purification process. 

The HPA 500 has a powerful UV technology and TiO2 filter that creates a Photocatalytic reaction that eliminates harmful viruses and bacteria present in the air that can be an outcome of the sick building syndrome

Eureka Forbes offers a wonderful range of Air Purifiers like Forbes FAP 8000i - that comes with UV-LED technology that eliminates 99% of SARS-CoV-2 Viruses.

Other include Forbes FAP 7000i, Aeroguard Pro 1000H with Humidifier/Aerial Fumigation System, Aeroguard Pro 1000, Dr Aeroguard HPA 400, Aeroguard Auto 10X, Aeroguard AP 700, Aeroguard AP 500, and Dr Aeroguard SCPR 660H.

 

The Following Are the 9 Stages of Filtration:

  1. Anti-Dust Filter removes Particulate matter sized between 10-100 microns, for example - dust, dirt, and pet hair.

  2. Lung Filter protects HEPA filter life and helps in removing carbon and dust particles from 5-10 microns and 

  3. UHD HEPA Filter has a filtration efficiency of 99.97%, and it can effectively capture minute dust particles up to 0.3 microns like the Forbes FAP 7000i Air Purifier with 4 Stage Filtration and UV-C Technology, White

  4. Swine Flu Resistant H1N1 Filter eliminates 99.99% viruses and bacteria in the air and neutralises H1N1 virus up to 0.08 microns with India’s first Swine flu resistant filter.

  5. The anti-Bacterial filter stops the multiplication and growth of bacteria and fungi.

  6. Deodorization Filter (Activated Carbon Filter) mitigates harmful gases, smoke, bad odour, and VOCs.

  7. Photocatalyst TiO2 Filter ensures 99.99% destruction of viruses and bacteria and is equipped with UV technology. It successfully eliminates harmful organic molecules like VOCs and microorganisms present in the air and this filter functions on the principle of photocatalytic oxidation. 

  8. UV Technology uses a UVC filter that neutralises bacteria and viruses, wherein the UV rays destroy the DNA and RNA of microorganisms, killing 99.9% of bacteria and viruses instantly.

  9. Ioniser releases negative ions in the air that combat impurities like mould, fungus, dust, and odour giving clean, healthy, and aromatic air. It also helps in rejuvenation and relaxation.

Different Modes of Eureka Forbes Air Purifiers:

  • Ultra-Silent Sleep Mode.
  • Auto Mode.
  • Timer Mode (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 Hrs).
  • Child Lock.

 Features of Eureka Forbes Air Purifiers

  1. These come with a Filter-Replacement Reminder and are well-equipped with a Sensor Touch User Interface Panel + Remote.
  2. They have a PM2.5 Digital Indicator, with an effective filtration efficiency of 99.9%, and are certified by the Asthma Society of India.
  3. The air purifiers by Eureka Forbes have an effective filtration efficiency for bacteria and viruses of 99.9%.
  4. These are 100% Ozone Free and have a Warranty for 12 months from the date of Installation and a Motor Warranty of 5 Years.
  5. You can also try the Forbes FAP 8000i Air Purifier with 6 Stage Filtration and UV-C Technology, White, eliminating 99% SARS CoV-2 Virus.

 

Eureka Forbes Annual Maintenance Contract

 You can now avail of an Annual Maintenance Contract online to ensure peace of mind and proper maintenance of your products. It comes with non-lengthy and hassle-free procedures for making sure that your product is working efficiently. (15)

 Conclusion:

 The problem of air pollution and the harmful effects of the sick building syndrome are rampant across the globe, and there is a dire need for combating these problems, giving our families and loved ones, pure air to breathe and live peacefully and sustainably. The Aeroguard range of Eureka Forbes air purifiers is patented with Activeshield technology and is designed to give you air pollution solutions with pure and healthy air.

 

 References:

  1. Air pollution: Impact and prevention [Internet]. NCBI. 2021
    [cited 3 November 2021].
    Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3532603/

  2. WHO global air quality guidelines: particulate matter (‎PM2.5 and PM10)‎, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide [Internet]. https://www.who.int. 2021
    [cited 8 November 2021].
    Available from: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240034228

  3. Type of pollutants [Internet]. https://www.who.int. 2021
    [cited 8 November 2021].
    Available from: https://www.who.int/teams/environment-climate-change-and-health/air-quality-and-health/health-impacts/types-of-pollutants

  4. How air pollution is destroying our health [Internet]. 2021
    [cited 3 November 2021].
    Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/spotlight/how-air-pollution-is-destroying-our-health

  5. What Causes Air Pollution? [Internet]. 2021
    [cited 3 November 2021].
    Available from:https://www.nrdc.org/stories/air-pollution-everything-you-need-know#causes
  6. CLIMATE & CLEAN ENERGY [Internet]. https://www.nrdc.org. 2021
    [cited 8 November 2021].
    Available from: https://www.nrdc.org/about/climate-clean-energy

  7. Climate Change Is In the Air [Internet]. https://www.nrdc.org. 2021
    [cited 8 November 2021].
    Available from: https://www.nrdc.org/stories/climate-change-air

  8. Health effects of outdoor air pollution [Internet]. NCBI. 2021
    [cited 3 November 2021].
    Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3155438/

  9. Environmental and Health Impacts of Air Pollution: A Review [Internet]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. 2021
    [cited 8 November 2021].
    Available from:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7044178/

  10. Impact of Diwali celebrations on urban air and noise quality in Delhi City, India [Internet]. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. 2021
    [cited 8 November 2021].
    Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21424668/

  11. Sick Building Syndrome [Internet]. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/sick-building-syndrome. 2021
    [cited 27 November 2021]. 
    Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/sick-building-syndrome

  12. The Economic Times [Internet]. 2021
    [cited 27 November 2021].
    Available from: http:////economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/61823348.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst.

  13. Air pollution: Impact and prevention [Internet]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. 2021
    [cited 8 November 2021].
    Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3532603/

  14. Phasing Down HFCs [Internet]. https://www.nrdc.org. 2021
    [cited 8 November 2021].
    Available from: https://www.nrdc.org/issues/phase-down-hfcs

  15. Air Purifiers [Internet]. https://www.eurekaforbes.com. 2021
    [cited 8 November 2021].
    Available from: https://www.eurekaforbes.com/air-purifier

  16. http://www.asthmasocietyofindia.org/. 2021
    [cited 8 November 2021].
    Available from: http://www.asthmasocietyofindia.org/

  17. Buy Aquaguard Annual Maintenance Contract in 2 mins [Internet]. https://www.eurekaforbes.com/amc. 2021
    [cited 8 November 2021].
    Available from: https://www.eurekaforbes.com/amc