According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in the U.S., people exposed to long-term pollution were likely to contract respiratory problems. Pollution, humid weather, radiation, asbestos, and even cigarette smoking result in lung diseases such as cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and infections like influenza, pneumonia, and tuberculosis. This research has since led to the development of stricter air quality standards to protect our health—from smoking bans in certain establishments or cities to the creation of gadgets that help make the air we breathe cleaner.
Technology for the home
Nowadays, people are more concerned about what is in everything they eat or breathe, which in turn has led to environmental consumerism. Appliances such as humidifiers, air purifiers, and specialized air-conditioners are made to keep your home breathable.
• Humidifiers and dehumidifiers
Humidifiers are appliances that introduce moisture into the air and make it more breathable—from the gadgets at the mall that spray water or mist into the air on dry days to the simple vaporizer that helps asthmatics inhale their Ventolin.
Dehumidifiers help control the high moisture content in the air around the home, resulting in a cleaner, comfortable and breathable environment. They are perfect for our humid environment since mold, mildew, and bacteria growth become more evident in this kind of weather. Dehumidifiers also help minimize insects (e.g., fleas, cockroaches, and moths) that thrive in moist environments, and whose droppings exacerbate breathing problems. Air conditioners also act as dehumidifiers that eliminate excess moisture in the air, but there are actual dehumidifiers available in the market if you need to use one in your home.
• Specialized air conditioners
Specialized air conditioners target concerned consumers who want filtered air, zapped germs, and ensure that the unit doesn’t breed mold or bacteria when it’s not in use. One such model has an ionizer to kill harmful microorganisms; a dehumidifier programmed to provide optimum moisture control; a filter infused with silver nano-particles to effectively trap dust, bad odors, and fungi; and once switched off, it remains dry to prevent mold or germ growth.
Another brand boasts of a multi-system filter that can remove mold and other harmful micro-particles, a filter that eliminates the free radicals that cause cell damage, a super-sterilizer that eliminates bacteria (using a combination of gingko extract, bio-enzyme and bamboo extract), an activated carbon and zeolite filter to eliminate pollutants and odors, and a catechin (an active ingredient in green tea) filter that deodorizes the room.
• Air purifiers
Indoor air pollution can be found from a variety of sources: pets or plants, cooking gas, household and grooming or cosmetic chemicals, mold, dust mites—and the list goes on. Air cleaners or purifiers do the job of eliminating or reducing viruses, bacteria, and allergens, making the environment more breathable.
Some of these appliances possess filters so fine that they trap fine particles even air conditioner filters can’t capture, claiming to eradicate as much as 99.9 percent of pollutants, allergens, and germs in a given area.
Our home should be a place of refuge from the outside world— safe from pollutants, contaminants or germs; somewhere we should be confident to live and breathe in. Thankfully, with today’s technology, there are appliances that can help keep the air at home breathable, stress-free, and clean.
For tips on appliance care, check out the August issue of HealthToday magazine, available at all leading bookstores and newsstands.