How to protect your family from indoor air pollution with your aircon
Updated: Sep 14, 2019
Recently in Singapore , we hear a lot of news about air pollution. Can your home air con clean the air for you? The fact is, the air quality indoor can be ten times more polluted than outdoors.
Indoor pollution is, in a word, potent. And our attempts to combat it often make it worse – here are the advice from the experts:
“People think incense or candles are beneficial, but of course they’re not,” Dr. Kirk Smith, a professor of global environmental health at the University of California, Berkeley. “It’s just combustion, and the smoke has the same health effects as cigarette smoke.”
As for air fresheners, “it’s just adding chemicals on top of chemicals,” he said. “We might not know the exact health effects, but why expose yourself?”
Plants are overrated as air cleaners, said Dr. Richard Shaughnessy, director of the indoor air program at the University of Tulsa. “Many leafy plants can be allergen collectors,” he said. “And the soil is wet, which can be a source of mild spores.”
Before you begin an air-cleaning effort, ask yourself what you are combating. Dust? Pollen? Traffic exhaust? Dr. Shaughnessy said: “Consumers are usually responding to an odor in their house. It could be related to cooking, flooring, painting or even mold. These are all gases, and the portable air cleaners you see at the store are not very effective at removing gases.”
But filter-based cleaners can be effective at removing pollen, dust or smoke, which have larger particles. For a quick fix in less extreme situations, Dr. Shelly Miller, an air-quality researcher at the University of Colorado suggests turning an air-conditioner into an air-cleaner by replacing the regular filter with a HEPA filter, and running the unit a few times. Look for a filter with a minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV, of over 10, she said.
In general, Dr. Miller said, she doesn’t advocate the use of air cleaners, which she considers the equivalent of using a broom to clean up M & M’s spilled on the floor. Or, as Dr. Smith put it: “The best way to not have polluted air is to not have sources of pollution in the house.”
But the most important thing, she said, is venting the stove to the outside when cooking. “Gas stoves’ combustion emissions have been shown to cause respiratory health effects in children,” she said.
BETTER AIR , BETTER HEALTH !!
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