When we think of air pollution, what often springs to mind are large-scale incidents and phenomena – factory outputs, for example, or haze from deforestation. In reality, though, air pollution doesn’t only occur at those levels; it can also be present within the home. Here we learn more about what it really involves, where it comes from and how it can be tackled.
Indoor air pollution explained
The air quality in a home is something that is easy to overlook. Yet, our living spaces can be filled with all sorts of pollutants generated from everyday activities.
Some common indoor air pollutants and sources:
- Pollen-producing plants and flowers
- Air fresheners containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and harmful chemicals such as benzene
- Gas stoves that release cooking fumes and odours
- Household cleaning products that may contain benzene and release fumes
- Cigarette smoke
Microscopic particles from these sources and others can get lodged in the lungs and have negative effects on our health and wellbeing, whether they cause respiratory problems, allergies or other serious illnesses. Young children and pregnant women (and their unborn babies) are particularly susceptible to the effects.
What to do about it
As with all issues, awareness is the first step. Efforts such as regularly ventilating your home, avoiding smoking indoors, using cleaning agents made with natural ingredients and using air purifiers can help reduce air pollution in the home.
Dyson recently launched a new line of high-tech purifying fans. Packed with features, these fans not only cool down a room but also act as air purifiers.
Our editor Monica had the chance to test-drive one for a few nights; here’s what she thought.
Tell us a little about your family.
We are a family of five, with three kids under five years old. We cook every day – lovely smelling things like salmon and roquefort too. No one in my family has any known allergies. We rely mostly on air-conditioning and overhead fans to cool our home. Our emergency air purifiers (purchased during the haze periods) are tucked away in a closet and don’t see much action.
Are you aware of indoor air pollution in your home?
We live on a low floor in our condo, so, much to our dismay, mosquito fogging seeps into through the windows and under the doors. And of course, our sofas and textiles have pollutants as I haven’t ventured into chemical-free furniture yet; buying a sofa that’s affordable and aesthetically pleasing is challenging enough here!
What do you like about the Dyson Pure Cool?
First, the Dyson Pure Cool is beautiful. In true Dyson form, there are no blades. It’s smaller than regular standing fans and it’s long and rounded design complements modern décor.
This is my first experience with a fan that is this “smart”. It cools the room, cleans the air (using both HEPA and carbon filters) and gives information about air quality in your home such as levels of PM 2.5 (anyone living through the bouts of haze Singapore occasionally experiences will recognise this), PM 10 (includes dust, mould and pollen), nitrogen dioxide and VOCs. It also gives you the temperature and humidity levels and can connect to Wi-Fi so you can control, schedule and monitor your fan using your phone.
Putting it together is a snap – literally – you just snap the filters on and plug it in. In “Night Mode”, the fan runs more quietly and dims the display, and you can use just the fan or the purifier alone if you want. I winced when I saw the massive instruction manual, but it’s actually just mostly instructions written in multiple languages. And the instructions are simple; five minutes with it, and you’ll be a Dyson master!
Was there anything unusual that the fan picked up?
My home readings were pretty good; so much so that I was a little skeptical. I decided to put the fan to the test. I found one of the most noxious chemicals in the house – nail polish that we use to remove misplaced Paw Patrol stickers – and opened it in front of the fan. Sure enough, the VOC level went from green to yellow after about 10 seconds!
Most importantly, would you recommend it to a friend?
Yes, I would. In fact, now I want one myself!
Where to get it
Dyson Pure Cool is available now at shop.dyson.com.sg and all major electrical and department stores. It comes in various colours and in two sizes – a small desktop version for tabletops ($699) and a large tower version for the floor ($899 and $949).
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