Air pollution

Air pollution

Air pollution is the contamination of the air due to the presence of toxic chemicals or compounds that are harmful to human health and the health of other living beings. It is the result of a wide range of natural sources and human activities such as the greenhouse gas emissions caused by burning fossil fuels like coal and petroleum, construction and demolition, and the use of chemical and synthetic products. Wildfires are also a major source of air pollution, which you can read more about here.

9 out of 10 people

90%

Worldwide live in places where air quality exceeds WHO guideline limits

An invisible health threat

The most dangerous particles in the air can't be seen with the naked eye. Particulate matter (PM) with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5, otherwise known as fine particles) refers to tiny particles or droplets that are so tiny that thousands of them could fit on the full stop at the end of this sentence. Because they are so small and light, they stay in the air for longer than heavier particles, increasing the chances of humans inhaling them. Once inside your body they can travel deep into the respiratory tract, make their way into the lungs and even enter the bloodstream.

The lethal effects of air pollution

Exposure to PM can cause serious health effects, both in the short- and long-term. These effects can range from eye, nose, throat, and lung irritation through to reduced lung function, lung cancer, asthma, and heart disease. People with existing health issues like heart or lung diseases, children, and older adults are most likely to be affected by exposure to air pollution.

The main pollutants and their health impact

Main pollutants

Health impacts

Transportation emissions

Air pollution emitted from transportation contributes to smog, and to poor air quality, which has negative impacts on the health and welfare of citizens. Pollutants that contribute to poor air quality include particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Industrial facilities

Emissions from energy (power plants and refineries) and manufacturing industries represent the second-largest source of primary PM10 (28%) and PM2.5 (21%) in Europe.

Wildfires

Wildfires are a major source of fine particulate matter (diameter <2.5 µm; PM2.5), which is a health hazard

Metals

Including lead, mercury, arsenic. Iron and steel sectors dominate lead emissions, while disposal of treated wood by burning is source of arsenic

Reducing your exposure to PM

There are steps you can take to reduce your exposure to particulate matter. Use air quality alerts and stay indoors when PM reaches harmful levels. When driving in dusty or smoky air, keep the car windows closed and the air conditioning on. Wear an air pollution mask to protect your lungs from dangerous particles in the air. And, perhaps most importantly, educate yourself and others about the health risks of this invisible killer.

How our filtration helps against air pollution

Filtration

Airinum masks use a multilayer filter technology to provide superior protection from air pollution. Both the Urban Air Mask 2.0 and the Lite Air Mask filter out more than 99.9% of particles down to 0.3μm in size.

Submicron dust filtering:

The anti-pollution masks provide a submicron dust filtering capability to protect against PM2.5 and even smaller particles.

Certification:

The technology is tested at RISE R&D center in Sweden and is certified for GB 2626-2006 KN95, similar to an industrial N95 mask or N95 respirator.

Our masks Filters out 99.9% of what you breathe

Grey circle indicates the size of human hair

Beach sand

50-180 μm

White blood cell

25 μm

Pollen

15 μm

Dust particle (PM 10)

< 10 μm

Red blood cell

> 10 μm

Respiratory droplets

5-10 μm

Dust particle (PM 2.5)

7-8 μm

Bacterium

1–3 μm

Wildfire smoke

0.4–0.7 μm

Virus

0.3–0.5 μm

Science is part of our nature

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