‘Indoor Air Quality – A Rising Concern’

Indoor Air Quality
Arun Verma | Regional Director | High Purity & Research and Development

Air is essential for life, and the quality of that air is critical for the well-being of living organisms on the planet. At any given moment, the air surrounding us and filling our lungs contain billions of particles too small to be seen through the naked eye, but powerful enough to impact our health, the operation of equipment and instruments, and manufacturing processes.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that the air indoors can be up to 100 times more polluted than the air outside. The leading cause of poor indoor air quality is a lack of proper air filtration, according to the American Medical Association. American Air Filter, the world leader in air filtration solutions, is bringing clean air to life through unmatched expertise and innovation.

Indoor Air Quality refers to the air quality within the buildings and structures and is related to health and comfort of building occupants. Understanding and controlling the common pollutants indoors can help reduce the risk of indoor health concerns. Proper air filtration and air cleaning are integral to improve IAQ.

Outdoor air used for ventilation in buildings and structures contains various contaminants. These are particulate matter (some are biological in origin), gases and vapours. The main source of these contaminants is either outdoors, indoors (building components, occupants and occupant activities), or both outdoors and indoors. A proper filtration selection is helpful in removing these contaminants from the air, outdoor or in recirculation.

In commercial facilities, controlling airborne pollutants is necessary to maintain a comfortable, healthy, and odour-free environment. These air pollutants are inversely related to occupant health so maintaining proper IAQ levels becomes a primary concern. Poor IAQ ranks as one of the top five environmental risks to occupant health. While most commercial facilities commonly use particulate filters in the air handling units, it is observed that most of the installations have single-stage washable filters in use. The lab test results prove that these filters are not efficient enough to address the challenge of particulate and gaseous contaminants.

Gaseous contaminants originate from a variety of sources, such as automotive exhaust and chemical off-gassing of new furnishings, paints, etc. Commercial facilities face a unique challenge in combating gases from various occupant activities, building operating equipment, and maintenance areas, as well as airborne particulate from renovations and construction. Depending on the concentration of gaseous contaminants a proper solution using carbon filters must be applied in the AHU to combat such challenges. Few of the other applications needing carbon filters are specific to requirements of odour control like gymnasiums, science classes, and cafeterias.

The world’s leading health-related organizations consider PM10, PM2.5, and PM1 fine dust fractions as the most important and dangerous for humans. Particles with an aerodynamic diameter of:

  • 10-micron (ePM10) deposit in the nose and pharynx of the human respiratory system
  • 5-micron (ePM2.5) are small enough to reach the human lung and deposit in the bronchia
  • 1micron (ePM1) or smaller are small enough to find their way through the cell membranes of the alveoli into the human bloodstream and cause life-threatening diseases

Some of the trends leading to accelerated concern over IAQ are:

  • People are moving into cities in unparalleled numbers
  • World Health Organization (WHO) reports indicate that air pollution levels are rising in all urban areas, worldwide
  • WHO, 2015: “air pollution around the world is increasing at an alarming rate. Virtually all cities in developing nations, and more than half in richer nations, are blighted by unhealthy air.”
  • 7bn people will live in cities around the world by 2050
  • WHO: “More than 2bn children now live in places where air pollution exceeds WHO limits.”
  • A recent study in the UK showed more than 2000 schools (50,000 pupils) and more than 1000 nurseries (47,000 infants) are exposed to dangerously high levels of air pollution.
  • A study of data from 74 cities in China concluded 31% of deaths over a 3year period were related to air pollution, Nanjing University, South China Post.

Some facts about India:

  • While air pollution is a global issue, WHO states that only one in ten people on Earth breathes safe air – in India, the situation is worse for both human and climate health
  • According to WHO, India has the world’s highest death rate from chronic respiratory diseases and asthmas
  • As per a WHO survey of 1,650 world cities, the air quality in Delhi is the worst of any major city in the world
  • As per the 2019 World Air Quality Report by IQAir AirVisual, 14 of the 20 world’s most polluted cities are in India. (Source: QuickTake by Bloomberg)
  • Joint research by Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India stated that:
    • “4 lakh deaths in India in 2017 were due to air pollution, which included 6.7 lakh deaths due to outdoor particulate matter air pollution and 4.8 lakh deaths due to household air pollution.”
    • “With 18% of the global population, India suffered 26% of premature mortality and health loss attributable to air pollution globally.”

How do we reduce urban pollution?

  • Industry: Cleaner processes, Improved Technologies, Reduced Emissions
  • Transportation: Cleaner technology, Electric Vehicles, Fewer Vehicles
  • Urban Planning: Smart Buildings, Data Heavy, Energy Efficient Buildings
  • Power: More and Cleaner Power-Gen Technologies

Some Facts:

  • 34% of American workers feel that poor IAQ had caused them to miss work
  • For every 1000 workers, poor IAQ results in 600 sick days per year
  • Up to 65% of asthma cases in school-aged children could be prevented with proper IAQ
  • Three to four million hospital-acquired infections occur annually, with up to 80,000 fatalities
  • Up to 1/3rd of hospital-acquired infections involve the airborne transmission
  • There are 175,268 pages on IAQ in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
  • 56% of commercial maintenance teams admit that their IAQ maintenance is not carried out per IAQ guidelines
  • Lack of proper air filtration is the #1 cause of poor IAQ

Most corporates today are taking the initiative to provide their employees with a safe and clean environment which in turn fosters productivity, creativity and well-being. To help contribute to this objective of providing clean and safe air to all, American Air Filter, member of Daikin Group, the world’s largest provider of clean air solutions, continuously innovates its air filtration products which are of international standards.

American Air Filters offers the most comprehensive engineering and manufacturing capabilities in the air filtration industry. With advanced design and in-house testing facilities in the US, Europe and Asia, we are unsurpassed in our ability to design air filters to any specification. All AAF products are guaranteed to meet rated performance standards based on industry-accepted test procedures. Rigid quality control procedures ensure consistent performance.

In addition to the supply of world-class air filter products, AAF is also equipped with filter performance monitoring tools. For particulate filters relevant to IAQ we offer a continuous monitoring option for filter efficiency and energy consumption with the help of sensor technology. Sensor 360 is an IoT based solution which can monitor and communicate the actual performance of filters for particular/multiple installations. It helps the facility manager to effectively monitor and do the predictive maintenance for air filters in the ventilation system.

About AAF: 

Founded in 1921, AAF is a name recognized globally for quality, expertise, and innovation in Air Filtration. It is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, USA and has operations in 23 countries and 6 R&D centers worldwide. It is a Daikin group company which is a diversified international manufacturing company and a global leader in air-conditioning with the group annual revenue of $23 billion USD.

AAF International entered India in 2006 and has established 2 plants in Bangalore and Noida with its headquarters in Bangalore. AAF has occupied an advantageous position in the Indian market and has maintained the leading position in the filtration industry.

AAF provides solutions for:

  • IAQ to protect people at healthcare facilities, airports and commercial complexes
  • Cleanroom filtration to protect processes
  • Gas-phase products for gaseous contaminants like VOCs and corrosive/toxic gases
  • Air Pollution Control – Dust collectors and smoke collectors
  • Gas Turbines – Auxiliary equipment, filters, repairs, refurbishment, retrofit and upgrades

AAF is a company with an outstanding industry record. The company has provided clean air for more than 99 years. Superior industry knowledge and an outstanding team of air filtration professionals mean the customers receive top quality products and services at a competitive price. From inexpensive disposable panel filters to high efficiency extended surface filters with antimicrobial media, AAF markets the widest range of air filters available. AAF has developed and introduced most of the filter designs throughout the industry, including the mini-pleats, extended surface bag filters and Perfectpleat. 

About the Author:

Mr. Arun Verma, Regional Director – High Purity & Research and Development,
AAF- EEMEA, CIS & SAARC countries

Mr. Arun Verma was born in India in 1972. He completed his Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering in the year 1993.

Arun started his career as an Assistant Engineer in Hero Motors.

He started working for Filtration Industry in 1996 learning and growing as a professional with his last assignment with Camfil as Country Sales Manager till August 2017.

Later Arun joined American Air Filter International as Technical and Business Development Head and had contributed significantly in the areas of High Purity segment business, product development, marketing, quality and training. With his expertise in Air Filtration industry for more than 23 years, he added immense value to the organization in terms of revenue, growth and value creation. Now he is the Regional Director, High Purity Business and Research & Development responsible for the technical support and growth of High Purity segment business in the entire region – EEMEA, CIS & SAARC Countries based out of Bangalore, India.

He works closely with Director Regional Sales to identify key customer pain points and develops and drives a clear research agenda to maintain AAF global leading edge in the Air Filtration business.

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