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There is nothing more important to good health than the food you eat, the water you drink and the air that you breathe. So, what if the air you are breathing in on a day-to-day basis is contaminated? While it is a horrifying scenario, it is a lot common than you might think.

On average a person consumes about 1.3kg of food, 1.2kg of water and breathes in 18kg of air a day. While we focus on good food and clean water, not a lot of thought is given about the quality of the air that we breath in.

What is Indoor Air Quality and why it is important?

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants (especially your home). Understanding and controlling common pollutants indoors can help reduce your risk of indoor health concerns.

Negative health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, or worse later in life.

What are some of the immediate effects?

Some health effects may show up shortly after a single exposure or repeated exposures to a pollutant. These symptoms include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Such immediate effects are usually short-term and treatable. In some cases, the treatment is as simple as removing the person from the polluted environment and eliminating the person’s exposure to the source of the pollution (if it can be identified). Soon after exposure to some indoor air pollutants, symptoms of some diseases such as asthma may show up, be aggravated or worsened.

Age and any-existing medical conditions can also play a part in the likelihood of immediate reactions to indoor air pollutants. In some cases, whether a person reacts to a pollutant depends on individual sensitivity, which can vary tremendously from person to person. Some people can become sensitized to biological or chemical pollutants after repeated or high-level exposures.

Certain immediate effects are similar to those from colds or other viral diseases, so it is often difficult to determine if the symptoms are a result of exposure to indoor air pollution. For this reason, it is important to pay attention to the time and place symptoms occur. If the symptoms fade or go away when a person is away from the area, for example, an effort should be made to identify indoor air sources that may be possible causes. Some effects may be made worse by an inadequate supply of outdoor air coming indoors or from the heating, cooling or humidity conditions prevalent indoors.

Long-Term Effects

Other health effects may show up either years after exposure has occurred or only after long or repeated periods of exposure. These effects, which include some respiratory diseases, heart disease and cancer, can be severely debilitating or fatal. It is prudent to try to improve the indoor air quality in your home even if symptoms are not noticeable.

While pollutants commonly found in indoor air can cause many harmful effects, there is considerable uncertainty about what concentrations or periods of exposure are necessary to produce specific health problems. People also react very differently to exposure to indoor air pollutants. Further research is needed to better understand which health effects occur after exposure to the average pollutant concentrations found in homes and which occurs from the higher concentrations that occur for short periods of time.

Primary Causes of Indoor Air Problems

Indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air are the primary cause of indoor air quality problems. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the area. High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some pollutants.

Pollutant Sources

There are many sources of indoor air pollution. These can include (but not limited to):

• Fuel-burning combustion appliances;
• Tobacco products;
• Building materials and furnishings as diverse as:
• Deteriorated asbestos-containing insulation.
• Newly installed flooring, upholstery or carpet.
• Cabinetry or furniture made of certain pressed wood products.
• Products for household cleaning and maintenance, personal care, or hobbies.
• Central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices.
• Excess moisture.
• Outdoor sources such as:
• Radon
• Pesticides
• Outdoor air pollution.

The relative importance of any single source depends on how much of a given pollutant it emits and how hazardous those emissions are. In some cases, factors such as how old the source is and whether it is properly maintained are significant. For example, an improperly adjusted gas stove can emit significantly more carbon monoxide than one that is properly adjusted.

Some sources, such as building materials, furnishings and products like air fresheners, can release pollutants more or less continuously. Other sources, related to activities like smoking, cleaning, redecorating or doing hobbies release pollutants intermittently. Unvented or malfunctioning appliances or improperly used products can release higher and sometimes dangerous levels of pollutants indoors.

Pollutant concentrations can remain in the air for long periods after some activities.

Learn more about indoor air pollutants and sources of:
Biological Pollutants
Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Formaldehyde/Pressed Wood Products
Lead (Pb)
Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)
Radon (Rn)
Indoor Particulate Matter (PM2.5 and PM10)
Secondhand Smoke/ Environmental Tobacco Smoke
Stoves and Heaters
Fireplaces and Chimneys
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Inadequate Ventilation

If too little outdoor air enters indoors, pollutants can accumulate to levels that can pose health and comfort problems. Unless buildings are built with special mechanical means of ventilation, those designed and constructed to minimize the amount of outdoor air that can “leak” in and out may have higher indoor pollutant levels.

How Outdoor Air Enters a Building

Outdoor air can enter and leave a building by: infiltration, natural ventilation, and mechanical ventilation. In a process known as infiltration, outdoor air flows into buildings through openings, joints, and cracks in walls, floors, and ceilings, and around windows and doors. In natural ventilation, air moves through opened windows and doors. Air movement associated with infiltration and natural ventilation is caused by air temperature differences between indoors and outdoors and by wind. Finally, there are a number of mechanical ventilation devices, from outdoor-vented fans that intermittently remove air from a single room, such as bathrooms and kitchen, to air handling systems that use fans and duct work to continuously remove indoor air and distribute filtered and conditioned outdoor air to strategic points throughout the house. The rate at which outdoor air replaces indoor air is described as the air exchange rate. When there is little infiltration, natural ventilation, or mechanical ventilation, the air exchange rate is low and pollutant levels can increase.

What is particulate matter and why is it so important.

Particulate matter, also known as particle pollution or PM, is a term that describes extremely small solid particles and liquid droplets suspended in air. Particulate matter can be made up of a variety of components including nitrates, sulfates, organic chemicals, metals, soil or dust particles, and allergens (such as fragments of pollen or mould spores). Particle pollution mainly comes from motor vehicles, wood burning heaters and industry. During bushfires or dust storms, particle pollution can reach extremely high concentrations

The size of particles affects their potential to cause health problems:
• PM10 (particles with a diameter of 10 micrometres or less): these particles are small enough to pass through the throat and nose and enter the lungs. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects.
• PM2.5 (particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres or less): these particles are so small they can get deep into the lungs and into the bloodstream. There is sufficient evidence that exposure to PM2.5 over long periods (years) can cause adverse health effects. Note that PM10 includes PM2.5.

Potential health effects from exposure to particulate matter:

There are many health effects from exposure to particulate matter. Numerous studies have showed associations between exposure to particles and increased hospital admissions as well as death from heart or lung diseases. Despite extensive epidemiological research, there is currently no evidence of a threshold below which exposure to particulate matter does not cause any health effects. Health effects can occur after both short and long-term exposure to particulate matter.

Short-term and long-term exposure is thought to have different mechanisms of effect. Short-term exposure appears to exacerbate pre-existing diseases while long-term exposure most likely causes disease and increases the rate of progression.

Short-term exposure (hours to days) can lead to:
• irritated eyes, nose and throat;
• worsening asthma and lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis (also called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD);
• heart attacks and arrhythmias (irregular heart beat) in people with heart disease;
• increases in hospital admissions and premature death due to diseases of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

So why are we focusing on PM10 and PM2.5 particles?

It is because air pollution contains a lot of these particles.  When we think of air pollution that contain PM2.5, we instantly picture places such as China or India with smog. The chart below shows that the majority of PM2.5 produced in major Australian cities is due to Domestic commercial activities such as mowing the grass or wood fire heaters.

While we cannot always see the air pollution, we need to understand that we are breathing in PM2.5 every day in our day-to-day life.

We are very lucky to live in a country where the outdoor air quality is generally considered clean and healthy. As per the Air Quality Rankings, Australia is ranked number 42. Anything between 0-50 is considered good meaning that air quality is considered satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk. On the other end of the rating, anything above 300 means that the air quality is hazardous, and everyone may experience more serious health effects.

While there is a lot of focus on the outdoor air quality, people often neglect the quality of air indoors (mainly their homes). We should count ourselves lucky to live in a country where the outdoor air is considered clean and healthy, however this creates a false sense of security for the quality of air indoors. Other developed countries around the world, such as UK or North America are actually more sophisticated than us when it comes to indoor air quality. So, these countries are shown as level 4 or green on the map. With these countries, indoor air quality has a higher general awareness and everything from the design of the house to the products purchased has indoor air quality as a key consideration. Australia is moving towards the right direction to catch up with UK and North America with regards to indoor air quality.

What can you do to improve indoor air quality?

Now that we understand what the problem is with all the different pollutants in our home, what is the solution to this poor indoor air quality. Firstly, we need to be more conscious of the indoor air quality and why it is so important to our health. Secondly, we need to find ways to improve the quality of air that we breathe in every day. In order to support this effort, Panasonic has incorporated a unique and revolutionary technology called Nanoe-X in their air conditioners.

What is Nanoe-X Technology?

Nanoe-X is an active indoor air purification system. The air conditioning unit has built in Nanoe-X module which generates nano particles that spread throughout the room. These nano particles float around in the air, land on hard surfaces as well as penetrate deep into fabrics.  The nano particles then attach themselves to both air borne and surface based pollutants to neutralise these pollutants.

What is a Nanoe-X particle?

Nanoe-X are tiny, nano-sized electrostatic water particles that contain ions and Hydroxyl radicals. These Hydroxyl radicals within the nanoe™X react to hydrogen (H) contained in pollen, bacteria, viruses, and odour compounds, altering their molecules and inhibiting them.  The Hydroxyl radicals then return to air as water (H₂0). Panasonic air conditioners can generate millions of nanoe™X particles, which constantly clean the air.

How are Nanoe-X particles created?

Nanoe-X particles are created by using a Peltier device. The peltier device is a titanium rod in the centre of the Nanoe-X generator. When voltage is applied to it, one end becomes very hot while the other end becomes very cold so moisture in the air condenses in this titanium rod and it is very cold. We then apply a high voltage via four needle point electrodes. This electric charge arcs across to the water collected at the cold end of the titanium rod in the centre. This process splits the H2O (water) molecule which then creates our Nanoe-X particle. Depending on the model of the air-conditioner, the Nanoe-X generator produces about 4.8 – 9.6 trillion Nanoe particles per second.

How long does the Nanoe-X Generator last for and how much is service and replacement?

The good news is that the Nanoe-X Generator is made from titanium to ensure reliable and long-lasting performance. As such, the Nanoe-X Generator is designed to last the life of the air-conditioner with no cleaning, service or maintenance required.

How long does the Nanoe-X particles last?

Each Nanoe-X particle has a 10min lifespan which ensures they have sufficient time to reach all of the unwanted pollutants and neutralise them. This 10min lifespan is very important as it allows the Nanoe-X particle to deeply penetrate the fabrics and carpets and kill the pollutants that are floating in the air.

Benefits of Nanoe-X

Now that we understand what Nanoe-X is and how it works, we can go into how this relates to the pollutants discussed earlier.

There are a whole heap of benefits for using the Nanoe-X technology. It effectively neutralises:
• Bacteria;
• Viruses;
• Mould;
• Odours;
• Pollen;
• Dust Mites;
• Pet fur;
• Bushfire smoke – PM10 and PM2.5 particles;
• Pollution – PM10 and PM2.5 particles.

If all of the above isn’t enough, Nanoe-X also has another great benefit – it moisturisers your skin and hair.

How is this possible?

As previously explained, Nanoe-X particles seek out and steal the hydrogen atoms from bacteria, mould etc. When the Nanoe-X particles land on our skin they remain as Nanoe-X particles as the layer of our skin (Sebum) doesn’t have any hydrogen atoms. The Nanoe-X particles react with our skin and become hydrophilic – meaning that they attract moisture. This is how the Nanoe-X particles can hydrate your skin and hair.

Is Nanoe-X technology safe?

As per the table below, the Nanoe-X technology has been tested rigorously to ensure that it doesn’t have a negative effect on the user’s health.

Nanoe-X is made up of naturally existing moisture, and therefore is completely safe. Nanoe particles are not something that Panasonic invented. Nanoe particles are naturally occurring in the environment. The naturally occurring Nanoe particles can be found in volcanic ash; ocean spray; fine sand and waterfalls.

How does Nanoe-X compare to an air filter?

Air filters and air filtration products are a complementary method of improving indoor air quality. There are many different types of air filters available in the market with the top of the range being the HEPA filter which filters out 99.97% of particles 300 nanometres in size.

There are however five main limitations to consider when looking for standalone air filtration:
• Air filtration has no effect on surface-based contaminants.
• The virus particles are not deactivated. They are still active when they are captured in the filter.
• The filter needs to be cleaned or replaced by someone on a regular basis.
• Adding high quality air filtration to any HVAC system adds significant static pressure and fan noise.
• A standalone air filter occupies additional space in your home or office.

Where can I buy the Nanoe-X Air conditioners?

Currently, Panasonic is the only brand in Australia that has this type of technology built into their air conditioners. Voltora Industries are the authorised retailer and installers for all Panasonic air conditioners. There are currently four types of Panasonic Air conditioners which feature the Nanoe-X technology which are available now.

For more information or to purchase the Panasonic Nanoe-X Air conditioner, contact us today on 1300 799 430.

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