Protecting yourself from indoor particulate matter is very important for your health. After all, most Americans spend nearly 90 percent of their time indoors, and about 70 percent of their day at home.
What is Particulate Matter?
Particulate Matter (PM) is very small inhalable liquid and solid particles floating in the air. To illustrate how small, here is a comparison of each PM category compared to the thickness of a single human hair.
PM10 - A single human hair is 7 times thicker
PM2.5 (Fine Particulates - Including Mold Spores) - A single human hair is 28 times thicker
PM0.1 (Ultra Fine Particulates - Including Mycotoxins) - A single human hair is 700 times thicker
The World Health Organization states that PM in the air can penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the body systematically, affecting the cardiovascular and other major organ systems. Chronic exposure to PM leads to increased risks of premature mortality from heart attack, stroke, respiratory infections, and lung cancer. To expand on that, a 2012 study by EPA researchers estimated that there were some 130,000 premature deaths per year of exposure that are attributable to elevated PM2.5 levels.
Where Does Particulate Matter Come From?
A major source of indoor PM are allergens, such as mold spores, bacteria, skin flakes and dander from pets, mite proteins, and cockroach proteins. Another significant source of indoor particulate matter is combustion, such as cigarette smoke and secondhand smoke, incense burning, wood combustion in stoves and fireplaces.
Many of these contaminants settle within the dust in our homes, where they can harbor for extended periods of time, and become regularly recirculated into our breathing zone by normal human activity within the home. However, some of the ultra fine particulates are so small in molecular weight, that they stay forever suspended within our breathing zone!
How Do We Protect Ourselves?
Imagine your home is split into 3 levels.
Level 1: The top level is the central heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system
Level 2: The middle level is the breathing zone in the occupied living spaces
Level 3: The bottom level is the dust that has settled on the surfaces throughout your home
Our approach to reducing the overall PM load within the home is to incorporate a solid cleaning regimen in combination with air treatment technology (including filtration, purification, and sanitization capabilities) to provide a long-term solution that specifically addresses each of the 3 levels.
#1 Solid Cleaning Regimen
Levels Addressed: Levels 1 and 3
Reducing the amount of dust that collects throughout the home is critical to maintaining a higher level of air quality. The key is to not only focus the obvious areas which are regularly cleaned, but also the hidden areas where dirt and dust can harbor for extended periods of time. We call this an environmental cleanse.
This includes all dust to be removed from all areas of the home, including hard to reach areas such as closets, cabinets, behind drawers of cabinets, behind and under appliances, and behind kick plates from kitchen cabinets and vanity cabinets throughout the home. Cluttered areas will require removal of all contents to properly cleaned. It is advised to discard items that are no longer of use or needed in the home to eliminate the clutter. Additionally, the HVAC system and ducts should be cleaned. It’s recommended to repeat this cleaning regimen 1-2 times per year.
#2 Advanced Air Treatment Technology
Levels Addressed: Levels 1 and 2
Once the initial cleaning has been completed, the next step is to implement preventative technology that includes filtration along with purification and sanitization. This type of technology combines the reactive nature of filtration, with a pro-active purifying and sanitizing component that greatly increases its effect on indoor air quality.
Filtration: Utilizing technology that provides 40x the efficiency of a traditional HEPA filter.
Purification: Bi-polar ions are released into the air space that can sterilize and molecularly destroy mold, viruses and bacteria, while also neutralizing many volatile organic chemical compounds (VOCs).
Sanitization: The bi-polar ions also attach themselves to other airborne particle pollutants, such as dust, pollen and smoke, causing them to agglomerate together allowing the filtration to capture even more effectively.
These types of technologies are available as portable units that plug into a wall AND direct attachments to your HVAC system. The strategy is 2 fold:
Use the HVAC technology to provide a constant baseline of filtration and purification for the entire home, while also helping to continuously clean and maintain your HVAC system.
Place the portable technology in the areas where you spend the most time (i.e. bedroom, kitchen, etc.) to create enhanced zones of protection. Additionally, the use of a high quality particle counting device can help define these coverage zones, and most importantly the non-covered zones, so you can make adjustments as needed.
The air quality in our homes is not something that should be overlooked, especially since we spend so much of our lives indoors. We know there are invisible contaminants within our homes that can contribute to negative health effects, but we can take steps to counteract their impact by implementing a plan to clean and sanitize all 3 levels of our homes.
By supplementing a comprehensive cleaning regimen with amazing air treatment technology, we can truly transform your home into one that supports your health and wellness.