Understanding the Dangers of Poor Air Quality and How to Monitor It

Various factors contribute to air quality degradation, including industrialization, population growth, and the increased consumption of fossil fuels for energy production. These factors are exacerbated by climate change which makes them even more difficult to combat. 

As air quality continues to decline, the effects on human health will become more and more evident. Poor air quality is already responsible for 1 in 8 deaths worldwide per year. The World Health Organization (WHO) is particularly concerned with the effects of exposure to particulate matter, a major component in air pollution found in both indoor and outdoor environments. 

It is vital to install an indoor air quality monitor to measure the total amount of pollution in the home. This pollution may come from radon or formaldehyde released from building materials or furnishings.

What Is Particulate Matter?

The most harmful source of particulates is from combustion engines, power plants, and industrial processes. When you inhale particulates, they can constrict your airways and decrease lung function. 

A study conducted by the WHO concluded that most people chronically exposed to high levels of particulate matter are at increased risk for respiratory infections, including pneumonia and influenza. Other harmful effects include:

  • Increased cardiovascular risk
  • Neurological problems, such as dementia and Alzheimer disease 
  • Reproductive issues 
  • Decreased lung function in children 
  • Asthma exacerbations 
  • Cancer (of the respiratory system) 

Some pollutants remain aloft for long periods while others fall quickly to the ground.

Each year there is an uptick in respiratory and cardiovascular diseases caused by poor indoor and outdoor air quality.

How to Measure Air Quality

With the latest advancements in technology, it is now much easier than ever to measure contaminants in the atmosphere around you. An air quality monitor can measure and track a wide range of air pollutants, including particulate matter. 

The monitor has a smartphone app that quickly uploads your data to a central server for monitoring and alerting. Using this device in tandem with others will allow you access to the most accurate picture of pollutant levels in real-time.           

Benefits of Air Quality Monitors

Access to air quality information can help prevent injuries, illnesses, and deaths caused by poor air quality. You can also use this device to monitor the outdoor air quality in your neighborhood or community. 

The monitor uses sensors mounted on an active sampling arm or passive sampling arm to collect gas samples. They are then analyzed using laboratory-grade instrumentation. The results are displayed on the monitor’s LCD screen for easy reference. 

Air quality monitoring devices are especially useful for asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cardiovascular conditions, and other respiratory illnesses. 

Monitors can also be used by policymakers who wish to reduce pollution to protect public health and the environment. This technology allows users to easily access information about daily air quality conditions, health effects of poor air quality, and weather conditions. 

How to Choose a Sensible Air Quality Monitor

The best way to monitor air quality in your home, at work, and in your community is with a professional-grade device. It can monitor gaseous contaminants such as carbon dioxide (CO2), ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), methane (CH4), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). 

Here are the factors you should consider while choosing them: 

Price: 

Depending on the monitor’s type, the price ranges from $100 to $1,000 per device. A professional-grade monitor is more expensive than a regular one because of its rugged design and features that allow you to collect data about air contaminants. Before purchasing an air quality monitor, it is important to know your budget and stick to it.

Monitor Coverage: 

An active monitor uses a pump to suck in air and then push it into the lab for analysis, while a passive monitor has no such mechanism and only records the concentration of those chemicals that may be drifting through its environment. You can use several monitors at home, work, or school to read pollutant levels accurately.

Compatibility: 

The monitor should be compatible with your PC or smartphone to simplify uploading, downloading, and analyzing data.

Use an Air Quality Monitor to Protect Yourself from Pollutants

According to the World Health Organization, more than 80 percent of people live in areas with unhealthy levels of air pollution. This affects around 7 million people annually, leading to heart disease, respiratory problems, and other health conditions. 

Having an air quality monitor will allow you to remain informed about your home or workplace’s indoor and outdoor air quality. Plug it into a wall outlet directly inside your room–it should not be mounted on walls or ceilings. It will provide real-time data on the concentration of pollutants in your environment.