Learn about the first WHO Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health and its effect on indoor air quality, home air filters, and the fight against pollution.
As the problem of air pollution continues to raise concerns about its effect on public health, driving demand for home air filters and other air pollution solutions, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently took action by convening the first WHO Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health under the theme, “Improving Air Quality, Combating Climate Change: Saving Lives.”
Impact of the WHO Conference on Air Pollution and Health on Home Air Filters
The conference, held on October 30 to November, saw participants agreeing to reduce the number of premature deaths caused by air pollution by at least two-thirds by 2030. If successful, the initiative would crack down on concentrations of particulate matter—by far the most dangerous type of airborne pollutant in the atmosphere.
“Long-term exposure to ultrafine particles can induce respiratory and cardiovascular disease,” explains Camfil USA’s Charlie Seyffer, Manager of Marketing & Technical Materials for commercial air filters and 37-year ASHRAE member and active committee participant. “It increases the mortality rates for people living in highly polluted urban areas.”
Need for Action to Improve Outdoor and Indoor Air Quality Acknowledged
Participants in the conference included ministers of health and environment from multiple countries, as well as national government representatives, health professionals, researchers, and members of sectors such as transport, energy, academia, and civil society. They acknowledged the urgent need to ramp up the international response to prevent diseases and deaths caused by poor outdoor and indoor air quality, which, according to statistics, claims up to seven million lives a year.
Attention was also drawn to the verifiable connection between air pollution and increases of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as lung cancer, strokes, and heart attacks. Last but not least, participants also acknowledged how high levels of pollution in the atmosphere can accelerate climate change.
Where Home Air Purifiers Fit in the “Geneva Action Agenda to Combat Air Pollution”
The WHO conference also identified elements under the “Geneva Action Agenda to Combat Air Pollution,” which calls for specific actions to improve ambient air quality. For starters, it calls on participants to support cities in their efforts to improve urban air quality, whether it’s through clean technologies or solutions like home air purifiers, which keep air pollution out of indoor spaces.
Other elements of the Action Agenda include, but are not limited to the following:
- Improving air pollution education
- Improving collaborative action between the financial, health, and environment sectors
- Maintaining collaborative efforts to harmonize air quality monitoring programs through the Global Platform on Air Pollution and Health
- Supporting action to protect vulnerable segments of the population, such as children, the elderly, and individuals with existing health conditions
- Improving access to environment-friendly technologies in Africa and in communities with vulnerable populations
These and other efforts to fight air pollution are designed to contribute to multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as those relating to good health and well-being, clean energy in households, improved urban air quality, sustainable transport, and action against climate change.
Home Air Purification Systems Play Vital Role in “Silent Public Health Emergency”
According to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, air pollution is a “silent public health emergency,” accounting for more premature deaths than previously suspected. It’s also why interest in home air purification systems has skyrocketed in recent years, as more homeowners and families realize the dangers posed by outdoor air pollution on indoor air quality.
Air purifiers, whether portable or built to be attached to heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) units, can also capture and remove airborne pollutants from indoor sources, typically activities that involve heating, lighting, and cooking, as well as the use of cleaning chemicals, disinfectants, paints, and varnishes among others.
This bit is important, because most people consider staying indoors as being enough to avoid polluted air, when in reality, indoor air environments are prone to a buildup of indoor air pollution. In fact, in many poorly ventilated homes, air quality turns out to be worse than outdoor air conditions.
Vulnerable Populations Need HEPA Filtration Systems More
The WHO, along with agencies like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), has warned the public about the risk of air pollution on certain vulnerable populations. As mentioned earlier, these include children, older individuals, and those with existing lung and heart conditions. While air pollution is bad for anyone, these individuals may have a more urgent need for high efficiency filtration systems in their homes to protect themselves from airborne pollutants.
Older adults face a greater risk of experiencing health problems from exposure to polluted air due to their weaker immune systems and likelihood of having existing health conditions like hypertension and diabetes, which can be aggravated by the toxic particles and gases that make up air pollution.
On the other hand, because children have developing lungs and cardiovascular systems, they are more susceptible to problems caused by polluted air. It doesn’t help that children breathe more air relative to their body weight compared to adults, putting them at a greater risk of suffering from the health effects of air pollution exposure.
To address both particulate and gaseous pollution, two stages of filtration should be applied in the air filtration system. For HVAC systems, a particulate filter with an efficiency of MERV 13 or ISO ePM1 is recommended and a carbon filter should be applied to remove gaseous or chemical pollution.
Stay Safe with Home Air Filtration Systems
At Camfil USA, we know that more people than ever are concerned about the indoor air quality in their homes, which is why we are committed to building the best commercial and home air filtration systems that money can buy. Get in touch with our team to explore our catalog of home air filters and get the best solution for your needs.
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