If there’s one thing that we can’t do without in every living moment we have on the planet, the air we breathe tops that list. You can try on ways so you can hold your breath for longer but ultimately, you will have to open yourself up to the gift of oxygen that we have. Or face the dire consequences. For one, death by asphyxia is a leading cause of suicide. From 2005 to 2014 alone, over 25,000 deaths caused by loss of air were recorded in America.
The problem is we could be polluting the air we breathe so much that we’re actually choking ourselves to death, albeit slowly. And this is no more apparent than in our biggest cities. For one, the Health Department details that smog (so much smoke it’s affecting our visibility) and other air pollutants causes over 3,000 deaths in New York City every year, not to mention over 6,000 ER visits.
The good news is science and technology are at the forefront of keeping everyone safe and sound. Check out key measures humanity has undertaken to ensure the air we breathe is breathable.
Air Pollutants and Science
Science has identified the destructive nature of air pollutants. And it’s not pretty. EPA or the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the environmental protection arm of the federal government formed by no less than President Nixon in 1970, dived right into the problems involving the quality of the air we breathe in America.
A year later, in 1971, EPA made public NAAQS, or the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, to enforce what has been found as dangerous practices when it comes to air pollution. There were six areas that needed much attention:
- Carbon monoxide
- Particulate matter
- Nitrogen dioxide
- Sulfur dioxide
Wanting to conduct thorough research EPA set up research laboratories in various areas in the US (e.g., Research Triangle Park, NC). Early research showed that the use of fossil fuels in vehicles and via industrial sources led to the formation of ozone. This is manifested not only by the ozone formed in the sky but also by ground-level ozone, also called smog. In turn, such air pollution causes irritation to the throat on a minor scale and undue hospitalizations.
Further research in the 80s and the 90s led to the upgrade of the air quality standards in 1997. The research revealed that there is a strong relationship between impaired lung function and exposure to ozone concentrations.
Also, it’s been established that tiny particulate matter (PM) or soot could enter and harm the human lungs. For one PM2.5, particles in the air that’s as tiny as 30x smaller the size of human hair can travel deep into the lungs. Sadly, we inhale these particles every day as they are produced by vehicles, wildfires and a host of combustion-related sources.
Protecting Yourself at Home and Work
Fortunately, today there are various means we can protect ourselves from the harms of air pollution. For instance, through smart home technology, we can monitor and boost indoor air quality (IAQ) right at home. This can be accomplished via the use of HVAC systems. An automated IAQ monitor gives users real-time data on IAQ. Even better, the system can self-correct itself when IAQ is at risk, running fans and boosting airflow.
Of course, today’s HVAC has received a timely upgrade from EPA. Freon (also dubbed R22 and HCFC-22) use in aircon has been stopped as the chemical is harmful to the ozone. Added to this, HCF’s (hydrochlorofluorocarbons), another ozone-depleting coolant used in aircon and refrigerators, has been banned by the agency since 1992.
But technology is not only helping IAQ at home. It is also is making a dent in industrial applications. isn’t Indeed, technology is helping us breathe quality air better. For one, getting an air filter for the air compressor is one of the essential things you can do to protect your indoor air in industrial settings.
To boot, an air compressor air filter protects heavy-duty industrial equipment from the torments of dust and a host of pollutants. What’s more, it can also boost IAQ by cleansing the air you breathe. For instance, air compressor filters can filter out tiny particles that not only congest your machines but also bring harm to workers. We’re talking about pollen, dust particulates, and micro-metallic pieces.
In this sense, an appropriate air filter can help boost your productivity by ensuring your machines work as efficiently as possible and your workplace IAQ is better than ever. That way you lower operating costs.
Indeed, it pays to free the air. For starters, top-drawer air quality free from harmful air pollutants is the ideal environment for equipment to function at its optimum. Best of all, you are protecting your most important asset: people.