Air Purifiers: Ventilation itself is not enough against Nitrogen Dioxide

July 13, 2022

A study has found that passive ventilation is not very effective against indoors emissions of this nasty pollutant.

When ventilation is not enough

ventilation home

Air is a powerful tool that can be used for both, the production of clean energy and the prevention of all kinds of diseases. Sometimes, something as simple as opening a couple of windows to generate a passive ventilation system will be enough to generate an inexpensive barrier against some of the most common indoors contaminants. Even Covid-19 can be mitigated just by ventilating an office or home space. However, air purifiers are a better strategy than ventilation.

Ventilation itself is a tricky business that is intimately related to a space’s floor plan, distribution of furniture, the location of windows and even their areas of aperture. A simple room is easy to ventilate, but an entire office floor, with its various rooms and corridors, is a completely different problem. Proper ventilation is not an easy task, and there are professionals who dedicate their entire lives to produce the best solutions, both passive (distribution of windows, walls, use of house plants, etc.), and active (various mechanical means). 

We all have become aware of the importance of breathing in a sanitary atmosphere. The health crisis we all went through in the past two years was enough to scare us back into our senses. But research done by the National Center for Healthy Housing, in the USA, has found that passive ventilation itself is not enough against indoor concentrations of certain pollutants

The extensive study found that mechanical systems are more effective than natural ventilation in reducing the dangerous indoors concentrations of carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), and formaldehyde (CH2O). This means that mechanical systems help considerably in the prevention of the various cardiovascular illnesses these (and other) chemicals are responsible for. 

However, and unlike the previously mentioned air pollutants, researchers did not see any considerable reduction in levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), despite the use of mechanical ventilation

Does Nitrogen Dioxide cause health problems?

Yes, there is. And a big one. NO2 belongs to a group of five highly reactive gases, collectively known as nitrogen oxides. These include nitric acid (HNO3) and nitrous acid (HNO2), with NO2 being the most common in our daily lives. Outdoors, it is produced by emissions of motor vehicles, construction, and welding equipment, as well as power plants. Indoors, it is produced by tobacco smoke, kerosene heaters, gas cookers and defective appliances. 

Mild exposure to NO2 can result in irritation of the throat, nose, and eyes. If indoor levels remain low, but constant, these may result in more serious health problems for people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, such as bronchial reactivity or a decrease in lung function. People with no previous respiratory diseases may even develop acute chronic bronchitis, while exposure to extremely high doses can lead to pulmonary edema, a nasty condition where lungs are inundated by excess fluid that collects in the air sacks, making it difficult to properly breathe. 

Nitrogen Dioxide

Outdoor NO2 can easily enter an office building by simply opening a window. The change in pressure will bring it in, together with toxic PM 2,5 particles and various other industrial-grade pollutants, adding to the already existing problem of indoor NO2 air pollution. Yes, after a while natural ventilation will flush many of these pollutants out, but if we believe the research done by National Center for Healthy Housing, not even mechanical ventilation is very effective against NO2

Solutions for a better indoor ventilation

A mechanical system of ventilation doesn’t come cheap. To filter NO2 out, the authors of the study recommend that various and continual mechanical systems be installed in all homes and buildings. These means that developers and owners will have to invest a considerable amount of money to protect themselves from the toxic presence of NO2. Why so? Because not only is the technology itself costly, but it is also very complex to implement. 

When a house or a building is still on the drawing board, architects can consult experts on how to implement such ventilation systems. Therefore, the installation is already being considered while the building’s design evolves and its blueprints are being drawn. But that is not what happens with a space that is already built, as is the case with most homes and office buildings where we live and work.

Installing such ventilation systems would require a very obstructive intervention within the infrastructure, sometimes destroying entire sections of walls, ceilings, and paneling. The installation process itself may even contribute to our problems with indoor air pollution by releasing many fine dust particles. So, what can we do to filter this Nitrogen Dioxide out? 

AIR8 HEPA filters are an effective and inexpensive solution

previous study has found that the introduction of High Efficiency Particulate Air filters, of HEPA for short, can significantly reduce concentrations of NO2. As defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, they can filter out 99,97% of any toxic air particles floating indoors. Together with a transition towards a cleaner technology for indoors appliances (such as electric cookers), they are the best line of defense against the laundry list of health problems caused by Nitrogen Dioxide. 

Here at AIR8 we have developed our own line of filtering products to combat air pollution in the workplace. Not only is our medical-grade HEPA-13 technology effective against concentrations of NO2, but it is also a fantastic tool against all other kinds of pollutants, such as tobacco smoke, particles within the PM 2,5 range, aerosols, pollen, and fine dust. Pathogens and viruses like Covid-19 are also filtered out by our products. They do so thanks to their combination of various stages of pre-filtration and filtration, such as Ioniser, Cold Catalyst and Activated Carbon.  

air purifier

Unlike large and bulky mechanical ventilation systems, our filters are units that can be easily transported into your office at absolutely no cost. Once there, anyone can just as easily move them from one room to another. They can be adjusted to any space, and their filtering range covers areas of up to 1399 ft2 (130 m2). Their energy consumption is low, and they produce no noise, so employees won’t be disturbed when they automatically turn on.  

You could even try our demo kit for one month for 50%, since our commitment to a cleaner, healthier, indoors air is sincere. We are backed up by the CE marking on all our products, which testifies that they cover the standards for environmental protection and safety valued by the European Commission. When you choose us, you are choosing the best product ant the best price in the market.