The 8 things you should know about aerosols
It’s the summer season! Longer days, beams of sunlight that touch our skin, enjoying a cold glass of wine on a patio somewhere… Oh yes, the summer vibes are clearly in the air. But so are viruses, dust, pollution, and more.
A short explanation about aerosols
The term aerosol refers to small bits of stuff that spread through the air. They can be solid or liquid, so small we can’t even see them or big enough to see with the naked eye. Primary aerosols come directly from the earth, like sea salt, soot and dust. Secondary aerosols come from organic sources (like plants or human bodies) or from human activities (like cars and airplanes). In short: aerosols may be small, but they have a big impact.
1 They’re outside
Human activity produces many different kinds of aerosols. Agriculture is one of the biggest sources of aerosol pollution due to the nitrogen in fertilizers. And then there are power plants, airplanes, cars and industrial factories which all mostly use fossil fuel, which produces toxic particles and greenhouse gases (like carbon dioxide) that end up in the air. And of course, we ourselves are also outside. We cough, we sneeze, and with that produce small droplets that can linger in the air.
2 They’re inside
Indoor air quality can be up to 5-10 times worse than outdoor air quality. Not something to take lightly, considering that we spend an average of 90% of our time indoors. The rooms where we work, cook, clean, shower, and sleep, are possible points of origin for the spread of contaminants like viruses. And in our current time, the spread of COVID-19.
3 They tend to stick around
There’s more and more research available about the link between aerosols and viruses. For instance, in an article from Time1 it’s stated there the virus can spread through aerosol (sometimes referred to as ‘airborne’) transmission, which is similar to droplet transmission, except that the bits of fluid are so small that they can linger in the air for minutes to hours (up to 3 hours according to The New England Journal of Medicine).
4 They’re on the move
Imagine someone who smokes. Even if you’re standing further away (outside or inside), you may catch a whim of smoke. The same goes for aerosols. Obviously, you’d inhale much less when standing outside. Now imagine a room where someone smokes. If you were standing on the other side of the room, you would inhale significantly less smoke - if the room would be properly ventilated). But in a poorly ventilated room, the smoke will accumulate, and people in the room may end up inhaling a lot of smoke over time. And that’s why aerosols can spread more easily indoors than outdoors.
5 Bad air quality has a serious impact on our health
About 20% of all Europeans suffer from respiratory allergies, while over 30 million of Europeans have Asthma. These people are directly disadvantaged when there’s poor air quality. But our health can be impacted in more ways. Poor air quality increases risk of lung diseases, heart diseases, reduced cognitive functions, skin- and eye irritation, allergies, and more. By some recent estimates fine particles in the air contributed to over four million premature deaths globally in 2016, hitting children and the elderly the hardest.2
6 Clean air has many benefits
The quality of the air has a direct impact on everyone. It keeps people healthy as the risk of all the diseases mentioned above are severely reduced. Moreover, in an indoor environment is instantly boosts productivity and brings more energy in the room (literally!)
7 Ventilation alone is not enough
Ventilation is known as an efficient way to create a safe, virus-free environment. But ventilation alone is not enough. Besides the fact that it boosts your energy bill during colder days, it doesn’t filter aerosols out of the air. In other words: viruses can still spread.
8 There’s a solution for cleaner (indoor) air
Air purification filters aerosols out of the air, resulting in a perfectly clean, healthy, and fresh indoor environment. That’s why we developed i-air, PRO: a high capacity air healer that improves indoor air quality in medium to large spaces of up to 500m2. Unfortunately, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for the harmful aerosols outdoors. There are small changes we all can make: choose for green power, less frequent usage of cars and planes, eat less meat, use less water (always bring a reusable water bottle with you) and use less plastic.
At i-team, we made some choices which reduce our ecological footprint. We collaborate with Made Blue to use less water, design machines that use significantly less water and chemicals (like i-mop) have a plug&play design with rechargeable batteries, and continuously innovate to create eco-friendly solutions, such as i-dose. We encourage everyone to reduce their ecological footprint in any way they can. Even a slight change in day-to-day choices can make a big difference. It’s up to all of us to create a greener tomorrow.
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