According to one study, the impact that air quality can have on a populace is, quite literally, a matter of life and death. A report issued in 2015 by scientists from Kings College London combined the effects of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5), and looked at the total impact it had on the health of London’s residents in 2010. What they found was staggering.
These scientists asserted that nearly 10,000 people died in a year as a result of air pollution. Researchers arrived at that number by combining the deaths associated with NO2 (5,900) and long-term PM2.5 exposure (3,500). In addition, the study also found that nearly half of those affected by air pollution had been from the result of pollutants like diesel fumes and other industrial emissions. The approximate death toll from air pollution across the entire UK is around 29,000 per year; across all of Europe, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates half a million people die prematurely as a result of air pollution.
So how does the air quality in America measure up? The New York Times reported that the World Health Organization “considers fine particulate matter pollution levels higher than 10 micrograms per cubic meter to be unsafe. The majority of American cities are in the safe zone, with the average pollution level at 9.6. 33% percent of cities are above the W.H.O. standard…[and] are predictably cities with heavy industry and driving, like Cleveland, Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.”
The EPA, examining data obtained in the US from 1980 – 2014, found that emissions of common air pollutants have actually been “reduced substantially” since 1980. And new satellite images from NASA, made available in 2014, showed the reduction in air pollution across the US. Said NASA, “Air pollution has decreased even though population and the number of cars on the roads have increased. The shift is the result of regulations, technology improvements and economic changes.”
Still, the EPA also reported that in 2014, “about 89 million tons of pollution were emitted into the atmosphere in the United States. These emissions mostly contribute to the formation of ozone and particles, the deposition of acids, and visibility impairment.”
It appears that air pollution across the US is decreasing as science and technological advancements gain ground, continually finding new solutions to a persistent problem. NASA, for example, is planning to launch a fleet of air pollution sensors into space to monitor and track pollutants from orbit. In coordination with the European Space Agency and the government of South Korea, NASA hopes the project will “provide a more accurate picture of how dangerous particles crisscross the Earth.” Though still years away from total implementation, the pollution-tracking satellites are set to begin the first phase in May of 2016, when it will begin collecting air pollution date from Korea.
Meanwhile, EPA scientists and engineers continue investigating new ways Americans can measure and monitor air quality. Some of their ideas include:
- Making low-cost, portable air sensors available to citizens to investigate air quality in their neighborhoods and communities
- Providing fence line monitoring to distinguish nearby sources of air pollutants, including roadways, and rail yards
- Developing new monitoring tools for air quality managers charged with implementing the nation’s air quality standards
And, on an even more micro level, it’s possible to clean up the air inside your home and office as well. Indoor air is notoriously more polluted than even outdoor air, and in today’s tightly-sealed modern homes, that polluted air circulates and continues to pick up new contaminants, which can create health concerns for families nationwide.
Seeing the need for a solution, Aerus created ActivePure, a proprietary, NASA-inspired technology that is the only air cleaning technology in the world awarded the prestigious Certified Space Technology seal by the Space Foundation. ActivePure works to continuously clean and protect your home 24 hours a day by transforming oxygen and water molecules into friendly oxidizers that then actively seek out and destroy fungi, mold, volatile organic compounds, odor-causing bacteria and allergens in the air and on the surfaces of your indoor space. ActivePure is featured in many Beyond by Aerus products, like the Beyond Guardian Air, the Sanctuairy, the PHX, the Pure Cloud and the Sanctuairy Mini.