The impact of indoor air quality on health

We spend a large proportion of our lives indoors at home, work and school or in shops and restaurants, breathing air that has been polluted by a wide range of substances from natural and man-made sources. Air pollution, both indoors and out, is the largest environmental risk to public health, producing both short term and long-term illness and potentially reducing life expectancy.

Architects, designers, employers, building owners and governments worldwide are responding to the large amount of evidence that the work environment has a profound effect on health.

What causes poor indoor air quality?

Air quality is determined by the environmental conditions and the amount of particles and polluting gases that it contains. These can be biological and non-biological and natural and human in origin. Industrial countries have a large number of products for use in the home and businesses that emit volatile chemicals and particles into the air and are present in every indoor environment.

Common sources of contaminants in indoor air include the following.

Biological contamination: fungi and bacteria caused by condensation and damp materials, dust mites and pollen from outdoor air

Biological contamination from humans and animals: human-derived microbes, for example, from sneezing and coughing; droppings and detritus from birds, rodents and cockroaches

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from building components: plywood and fibreboard, insulation materials, vinyl and plastic wall and floor coverings, carpets and upholstered furniture, adhesives

VOCs, Ozone (O3) and particles from industrial and household products: paints, solvents, waxes and polishes, air fresheners, drain cleaners, printers and copiers, perfumes, soaps, writing and drawing materials, paper products, cooked food, tobacco and vaping products

Biological contamination and VOCs from HVAC systems: contaminated liners and filters, dirty drain pans, lubricants, refrigerants, leaking boilers and furnaces

Traffic and industrial pollutants from outdoors: particles from vehicle exhausts and factories, and gaseous pollution such as nitrous oxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), sulphur dioxide (SO2)

Radon: this radioactive gas occurs naturally in rocks and seeps through the ground into buildings where it can accumulate and increase the risk of lung cancer The indoor climate is related to the temperature, relative humidity and airflow. These are affected by the indoor sources of heat and cooling, the outdoor environmental conditions, the amount of sunlight and the design of the building and the HVAC system (heating, ventilation and air conditioning).

The impact of poor air quality on health

Poor air quality causes a wide range of negative effects on the people in a building, including medical symptoms, reduced feeling of well-being and drop in performance in work and learning environments. The effect of any pollutant depends on multiple factors, including concentration of the pollutant, duration of exposure, age, gender, sensitivity and health of the people exposed. The impacts of some of the typical indoor pollutants are given below:

Particulate matter: respiratory illnesses, including asthma and bronchitis in the short term and heart disease and lung disease in the long term, and also anxiety and hypertensive disorders.

Ozone: asthma, irritation of eyes, nose and airways and damage to airways from long-term exposure

VOCs such as formaldehyde: eye, nose and throat irritation, headache and allergic skin reaction, cancer

Carbon monoxide: headache, dizziness, nausea and death

NO2: inflammation of the airways, respiratory illness

How to improve air quality

These pollutants can be kept to a minimum, first by using good practices in building design and maintenance to control the quantity emitted by building materials. The majority of buildings, however, were built before the modern standards were developed so they are still potential sources of the air pollutants described earlier. HVAC systems can clean the air to some extent, but this will vary depending on their age and how well they are maintained.

There are also portable devices that can be placed in rooms to process the air to remove pollutants. These air purifiers suck air through multi-layer filters that capture air-borne particulates such as pollen, bacteria, viruses and fungal spores, and absorb VOCs using active carbon. Air purifiers are an efficient way to improve the air quality in a room.

Image courtesy of Rentokill

The VIRUSKILLER™ not only “traps” larger airborne particles and microbes but also kills airborne viruses, bacteria and fungi. When placed correctly, the unit takes control of the airflow in a room, drawing contaminated air in from the ‘breathing zone’ and releasing fresh, clean air back into the breathing zone.

Alongside a triple filtration system, the innovative VIRUSKILLER™ uses a patented ultraviolet-C (UV-C) reactor chamber, surrounded by nano titanium dioxide tube filters that are polished with activated carbon. The emitted UV light reacts with the mesh, and in a process called ‘photocatalytic oxidation’ produces hydroxyl radicals, which act as a disinfectant and break down the organic molecules. This all-in-one solution effectively filters the airborne particles and delivers the disinfected air. The UV-C technology provides a photochemical deconstruction of the RNA and DNA of microorganisms, deactivating their reproductive processes so that the Coronavirus, and other viruses, can no longer spread, before the air is released back into the room.

Its ability to kill 99.9999% of viruses with a single air pass, including Coronavirus*, is what really sets this technology apart. Take the following scenario for example, if you had one million viruses passing through a VIRUSKILLER™, just a single virus would be recirculated, compared to the 500 viruses that would pass through when using a traditional filtration device (99.95%).

*When independently tested against Coronavirus DF2 (a surrogate for Coronavirus), Adenovirus, Influenza and Polio, the unit was found to kill viruses with a Log 6 reduction of 99.9999% efficacy in a single air pass.

Air quality is important for our physical and mental wellbeing. It has become even more crucial as Coronavirus can be spread via the air to people. Reducing the risk of airborne transmission requires more than opening doors and windows or installing standard air filters which may not be effective against enveloped viruses.

Our simplest mistake is when we let dust, smoke, dirt roam around our indoor environment. These small particles can easily penetrate our lungs which may cause greatest risk of health such as stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and chronic respiratory diseases. This can also reduce our well-being and productivity inside our house or office.

Our VIRUSKILLER™ Air Purifiers kill Coronavirus in the air* and will help to increase the air quality of your building. Installing these units will help to stop airborne transmission of infectious illnesses, making these spaces safer for customers, visitors and staff.

Contact us now for more information on Viruskiller at 2430309 or WhatsApp to 8220088. You can also go to our website at and our Instagram page at @rentokilinitialbn


Input your search keywords and press Enter.