Indoor environment

    Microparticles affect our health and the environment

    2 min reading

    Microparticles affect both our health and the environment. They can make us sick and shorten our lifespan. Today, 80% of the earth’s population is exposed to particulate matter levels that are higher than the limit values ​​recommended by the WHO (World Health Organization).

    In addition to gases, particles are one of the most common air compounds to which we are exposed to. They come from both, natural sources and from anthropogenic sources that we humans have created. Natural particles come from, for example, erosion, volcanoes, and pollen. The most common particles created by us humans come from the wear and tear of roadways, internal combustion engines, and industrial processes.

    The smallest particles are the most dangerous

    Particles are usually divided by size PM 10, PM 2.5, and PM1. PM 10 are particles whose diameter is less than 10 micrometers, for comparison, a hair has a diameter of 70 micrometers. They are created primarily from road wear and tear and have a negative effect on our ability to breathe. The human eye cannot see particles smaller than PM 10.

    Particles that are smaller than 2.5 micrometers are called PM 2.5 and are created by internal combustion engines and industrial processes. They can penetrate our lungs and our eyes. The smallest particles PM1, whose diameter is less than 1 micrometer, are the most dangerous because they can pass through our bodily filters such as the mucous membranes of the nose and cilia and into our bloodstream.

    The importance of filtered air

    In many buildings with poor ventilation, the particles remain indoors and the humidity can become too high. A good ventilation system that is adapted to the activities that exist in the building is important for the air quality to be good, however, this is not always enough to

    get the best possible indoor environment. In these cases, dedicated air purifiers or air filtration systems should be installed. An air purifier recirculates the air through its filter, which creates a better indoor environment. To compare air purifiers, you should compare their CADR values ​(clean air delivery rate) ​and see how much the particles are reduced.

    The majority of the earth’s population lives in cities with higher particulate matter levels than the thresholds recommended by the WHO. Changes in the law, increased awareness, and competence about air particles mean that the number of dangerous particles can be reduced, but it is a process that takes time. This makes it extra important that we ventilate, use good supply air filters, and install air purifiers. Implementing these actions creates the opportunity for us all to have a healthy indoor environment.