3 Respiratory Toxins and How to Safely Eliminate Them
Sometimes it seems like life will never get back to the way it used to be. While it isn't fun to think about, there is a good chance it won't.
The fact is, our planet is polluted and that means our air is polluted. So when a new virus or disease is discovered, our respiratory passages and our immune system are already burdened and not as available to fight back.
If you sometimes feel like every time you turn around you are hearing about air purification, air filtration, air ventilation or variations on those themes, this is because COVID-19 directly attacks us where we are already weaker - in our respiratory system and our lungs.
The tools we have to fight back do not yet include a vaccine, but at least we do have lots of ways to support our immune system by cleaning up the air we breathe.
In this post, we share news from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) about the top three classes of respiratory toxins commonly found in our homes and workplaces, and how to remove them from our indoor air.
Bioaerosols, VOCs and Particulates & Their Relationship to COVID-19
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are three main classes of respiratory toxins that regularly cause allergies, asthma and illness or disease.
Bio-aerosol is just a fancy word for organic or biological matter that is light enough in weight to travel by air.
The most famous bio-aerosols are mould, mildew, fungi, pollen, bacteria, microorganisms and of course virus particles.
While at first scientists believed that SARS-CoV-2, the new novel coronavirus, could not travel by air, they now know it can.
While viruses are not technically alive - and SARS-CoV-2 is no exception - they are made of living matter. Once a virus finds a suitable host (such as us) it can begin to replicate the RNA inside of it and cause illness and disease.
What does this mean for us right now? It means that COVID-19 is the newest bio-aerosol to invade our indoor airspace.
2. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs as they are more commonly called, are the price we pay for modern conveniences.
Our solvents, cleaning supplies, pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers, flame-retardant coatings, personal care products, air fresheners, candles, perfume, glues and adhesives - even many types of furniture and home furnishings - give off powerful gaseous and chemical contaminants.
Fuel burning also produces chemical byproducts that are classified as VOCs.
Formaldehyde is perhaps best-known the best known VOC and it is a commonly a component in a dizzying array of home and workplace products, as well as many industrial and construction/building materials. There are many, many more and while some of them emit odours, many others do not.
Particulates is a fancy way of saying solid particles. The most common source of particulates comes from burning things.
Smoking or vaping, using a wood stove or a fireplace, running your vehicle, wildfires or controlled burning - these types of actions can deliver large quantities of particulate matter into the air in a very short period of time.
It is easy to get particulates and bio-aerosols confused, but while they are often found together, they are two different toxins.
While a bio-aerosol is living (organic, biological) matter, particulates are inert (non-living).
This is particularly important to know now that we know COVID-19 can travel by air. The virus particles contain biological material in the form of an organic membrane surrounded by RNA. These particles hitch a ride on inert airborne particulates such as dust, ash, pollen and other lightweight solids.
This is how COVID-19 has been able to travel longer distances using air currents, HVAC air streams and air ducts.
2 Safe & Effective Ways to Eliminate Respiratory Toxins
The number one way to eliminate respiratory toxins in the safest and most effective way is not to introduce them into our air in the first place!
Unfortunately, more often we are playing catch-up, learning about what is toxic after it is already "out there" and we are having to manage our exposure to it while trying our best to remove it from the air we are breathing.
This is why our recommendations, as far as managing air quality, have an intervention-based approach first and a preventative approach second.
The hands-down gold standard for intervening in bad air quality-in-progress and removing toxins is going to be a combination of these three strategies:
Air purification uses short-wave ultraviolet band-C light to neutralize organic liquid and gaseous toxins.
So this is the best method for addressing existing airborne bio-aerosols, including coronavirus droplets and VOCs.
Air filtration uses particularly dense filters to trap even incredibly tiny airborne particulates, including those that may convey COVID-19 droplets further distances inside your space.
Air ventilation is a vital aspect of controlling the concentration of any airborne toxin by continually introducing fresh, clean air into your space.
With improved ventilation inside your space, even if there are remaining toxins, you are less likely to take in toxic doses of these.
The all-time best prevention to keep your newly cleaner air staying clean is to pay close attention to the choices you make and the products you buy.
By learning to substitute natural cleaning and personal care products for toxic and chemical-laden commercial products, and by choosing not to burn wood, vape or smoke inside your space, you can make a tremendous preventative impact on your indoor air quality.
Get in Touch
Right now, when you purchase a new premium air conditioner and installation package, get a Second Wind air purifier FREE! Click here to reserve your package!
P.S. Don’t forget to sign up to receive Chip’s Tips by email each month - it's free!