Sunday, July 27, 2014
Thursday, July 24, 2014
A coal power plant 'Scholven' of German utility giant E.ON is pictured in Gelsenkirchen.REUTERS/Ina Fassbender
While some anti-environmentalists claim that clean air standards will cost Americans jobs, a newly published health study shows that clean air standards may have already saved lives.
Published in the June 2014 Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases, the study raises the bar for environmental awareness and provides valuable fuel to the cause of clean air. The research team that conducted the study included scientists from Duke University School of Medicine, the Center for Population Health and Aging at Duke University, the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke and the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
In the study, the Duke researchers analyzed deaths in the state of North Carolina due to respiratory disease during a 17-year period between 1993 and 2010, following the implementation of clean air standards. They found a direct correlation between improved air quality in North Carolina since the 1990s and reduced deaths due to pulmonary disease.
Both national and state air quality standards enacted in the early 1990s have helped to provide cleaner air for the most essential of all human physical functions: breathing. The Duke study provides strong evidence that such air quality standards can help save human lives.
One significant factor in North Carolina was the 1992 Southern Appalachian Mountains Initiative, which led to the enactment of the Clean Smokestacks Act to mandate reduced emissions from coal-fired power plants. Some argue that the coal industry is one of the most toxic of all industries in terms of air pollution, and that it can adversely affect water and soil. The coal lobby has steadfastly stonewalled clean air legislation, but this study stands to significantly change the coal argument.
In the study, the Duke team assessed levels of several toxic and potentially lethal pollutants in the atmosphere during the study period, including those known to emit from coal plants. These pollutants included ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and particulate matters. Data was gathered from monthly data measurements from North Carolina air-monitoring stations.
The group looked at North Carolina residents of all ages, and adjusted their data to exclude smokers (who often die from respiratory disease) and those who were known to have specific lung disorders. They calculated deaths in the state due to emphysema, asthma and pneumonia and found steadily decreasing rates of related deaths as air quality improved.
“While a few studies have analyzed the associations of both air quality and health over a long period, they were typically limited to analyses of a specific air pollutant or a couple of pollutants,” said Dr. Kim Lyerly, who headed up the study team. “In contrast, we leveraged access to multiple disparate databases containing either environmental or health data, and we were able to study longitudinally a number of air contaminants, including both particulate matter and noxious gases over almost two decades.”
According to the study, atmospheric reduction of the pollutants, most notably sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, and particulate matter, directly correlated with lower rates of respiratory deaths.
Many opponents of clean air standards have claimed that there is little science to back up demands for cleaner air, but this rigorous study, which assesses several pollutants and a broad population, provides exactly that science. And while it should be obvious that we all require clean air for healthy respiration, atmospheric standards have been tough to implement, due to strong lobbying in Congress.
In the battle to provide a cleaner environment, the recent Duke study is a landmark event, and it may point the way to a healthier future.
Chris Kilham is a medicine hunter who researches natural remedies all over the world, from the Amazon to Siberia. He teaches ethnobotany at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is Explorer In Residence. Chris advises herbal, cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies and is a regular guest on radio and TV programs worldwide. His field research is largely sponsored by Naturex of Avignon, France. Read more at MedicineHunter.com.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Remember back when office desks had ashtrays built right into them? Me neither, although I’m told they existed. It maybe won’t be long now before they have air purifiers built into them, so I guess we’re making progress. If you’re having trouble writing that into your contract, the Satechi USB Air Purifier and Fan should hold you over.
Proving yet again that there’s no device Satechi can’t bring down to USB size, the USB Air Purifier & Fan removes odors and irritants from any space—such as your office, bedroom or dorm room—while providing a cool and comfortable environment. The travel friendly size makes it easy to take with you for those stuffy hotel room, and you know, now that many airlines are starting to add USB outlets to the seats…well, maybe it’s not that small.
When compressed, the clever device acts as an air purifier, removing odors and particles such as dust, pet dander and allergens from any personal space. When expanded, the product acts as a cooling fan to provide additional ventilation and creates a refreshing space and relief from hot temperatures.
The plug and play USB Air Purifier & Fan is powered and easily recharged via any USB port and is whisper quiet to ensure discreet operation in any environment, especially important when in shared spaces.
Monday, July 21, 2014
湖南省質檢院總工程師姚斌介紹，目前檢測室內空氣質量 IAQ的依據主要是《室內空氣質量標准》(G B /T 18883-2002)。譬如，檢測甲醛的常用方法主要為“酚試劑分光光度法、乙酰丙酮分光光度法”2種。這些方法都需要將抽取的空氣樣品帶回實驗室進行化學分析來進行檢驗，而不能在現場得出結論。
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Air purifiers are not always effective, and some may be harmful
Air purifiers are not always as effective as advertised, and those that emit ozone may even be harmful, writes Elizabeth Choi
With Hong Kong recording its smoggiest day of the year two Sundays ago, perhaps you were persuaded to not only stay home but also invest in an indoor air purifier.
As the air quality index climbs, so do sales of air purifiers in China. According to Euromonitor International, air purifier volume sales in China rose 87 per cent from 2012 to 2013.
Nowhere in the world is the number of air pollution-related deaths climbing as quickly as it is in Asia, especially Southeast Asia. A 2012 study by the World Health Organisation found that, globally, seven million deaths were attributable to the combined effects of household and ambient air pollution.
Southeast Asian and Western Pacific regions - of which China is part - bear the brunt of those numbers, with 2.8 and 2.3 million deaths respectively.
In Hong Kong, the Hedley Environmental Index, a real-time health information system developed by the University of Hong Kong's school of public health, shows a city map that is often dotted with red during the day, indicating the WHO level of permissible short-term exposure to fine particulates and other pollutants is more regularly "very bad" than it is green ("acceptable"), or even yellow ("not good").
So can a household air purifier protect your health indoors? It's easy to get your hands on one in Hong Kong - at a wide range of prices.
A new, moderately sized model that can purify up to 48 square metres (or about 515 sq ft) can cost more than HK$4,000, while a used machine can cost as little as HK$290 on classified sites such as AsiaXpat.
There are several factors to consider when buying an air purifier, including the volume or space to be cleaned, external weather and environmental conditions of the home, and what types of allergens or pollutants are being removed.
"There are many types of air purifiers - some of them sterilise air or use ultraviolet or other heating systems to kill germs," says Dr Fanny Ko Wai-san, a specialist in respiratory medicine and president of the Hong Kong Thoracic Society.
While purifiers with special heating systems may be sufficient for killing germs, they may not be adequate in removing fine or respirable particulates that can exacerbate allergies or asthma.
That's not including toxic gases such as nitrogen dioxide, which comes from gas-burning stovetops, or sulphur dioxide, emitted from cars and ships.
Despite becoming increasingly popular, home air purifiers aren't essential for the average household in Hong Kong, Ko says.
"Most people live without one, and without any problem," she says. "It will not lead to a cure for allergies or asthma. Some patients in previous studies show they have the air purifier, but don't show any signs of improvement. You can install one and find it provides no benefits."
A number of variables determine an air purifier's effectiveness.
"Sometimes, indoors can be very moist and, in those situations, an air purifier can be helpful," Ko says. "But if you open the windows, there's almost no point because the pollution comes in. Can it really help or translate into improvement? It's hard to say."
Ko says air purifiers could be considered for places such as hospitals that need to prevent infection, or work settings in industrial areas with extreme levels of particulate matter.
"In general, however, we do not recommend installing air purifiers unless the asthma is difficult to control. In the end, it's a personal preference over a scientific reason," she says.
Their use might be justified for those with acute allergies or asthma. But even in those cases, most specialists prescribe medicine as a treatment.
Studies and tests show mixed results of how well these machines can purify indoor air from toxins, germs and particulate matter.
Indoor air purifiers are advertised as safe household products for health-conscious people, but some purifiers produce ozone. Those that work by charging airborne particles and electrostatically attracting them to metal electrodes emit ozone as a by-product of ionisation.
Emissions may be a few milligrams of ozone an hour, about as much as a dry-process photocopier emits during continuous operation. In a small, poorly ventilated room, this could create an ozone level that exceeds public health standards, according to a study by the University of California, Irvine, published in 2006 in the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association.
Ozone can damage the lungs, causing chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath and throat irritation. It can exacerbate chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma and compromise the body's ability to fight respiratory infections.
In 2011, the Hong Kong Consumer Council tested 10 air purifiers priced from HK$629 to HK$4,000, and found that they all provided a less usable area of purified air than they claimed. In seven of the larger models, the shortfall ranged from 12 per cent to 67 per cent. In the three small models, the shortfall was up to 90 per cent.
The study also found the four models provided insufficient protection from electrical leakage, while the plastic parts of some models were insufficiently heat and flame retardant.
Ko says many household cleaning supplies, office equipment such as copying machines, pesticides and painting materials can contain and emit harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can have short- and long-term effects that range from eye, nose or throat irritation to asthma, and may even cause some cancers.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, all of these products can release organic compounds while being used, and to some degree, when they are stored.
"Choose furniture that doesn't have VOCs," Ko says. "Those may be the source of emissions in the home, but an air purifier may not be tackling the source. Clean your carpets, too as they can produce allergens and house a lot of dust.
"A dehumidifier is a home essential. It can help with preventing moisture and mould in the home," Ko says.
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Thursday, July 10, 2014
IAQ : http://www.ldnews.cn/property/jiazhuangzixun/201407/315258.shtml
Monday, July 7, 2014
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Wednesday, July 2, 2014