Fine dust - the invisible danger in the room
At the latest since the discussion about diesel driving bans, fine dust has been on everyone's lips again. Together with ozone, it is blamed for tens of thousands of premature deaths in Germany - twice as many as traffic fatalities. Worldwide, the figure is estimated at over 3 million per year. Increased fine dust pollution can also occur in the office.
Suspended particles, microscopically small
The Federal Environment Agency defines fine dust as a "complex mixture of solid and liquid particles", which can be classified in terms of size into the categories PM10 (with a maximum diameter of 10 µm), PM2.5 and the so-called "ultra-fine dust" of less than 0.1 µm. These include soot particles, tyre wear or microplastics, but also pollen and spores. Man-made particulate matter is caused by pollutant emissions from motor vehicles, industrial plants, agriculture, power plants and incinerators, but also from fireplaces, small fires and candles.
Poison for heart and lungs
Particulate matter (PM) does not sink directly to the ground after being emitted, but remains in the atmosphere for a while, hence the synonym "airborne dust". Heavy traffic causes this to be stirred up again and again, and it always ends up at the level of the mouth and nose. Not only residents along busy roads, but also pedestrians and cyclists, especially children, inhale countless toxic particles day after day. The situation is particularly bad in winter, when the fine dust remains at ground level due to cold air.
|Particle size in micrometres||Health effects|
|<10µm||Deterioration of lung function|
|<2.5µm||Skin and eye diseases|
|<0.1µm||Heart and lung diseases|
Johannes Lelieveld, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, researched premature deaths caused by air pollution worldwide and published his findings in 2015: according to him, air pollution was responsible for 3.3 million premature deaths worldwide, and 35,000 in Germany. Almost three quarters were ultimately caused by strokes and heart attacks, and a good quarter by respiratory diseases and lung cancer. This is because while particles in the PM10 category only make it as far as the nasal cavity, PM2.5 make it as far as the bronchi and alveoli, and ultra-fine particulate matter even makes it into the blood vessels. By 2050, Lelieveld predicts around 6.6 million deaths worldwide caused by air pollution.
Fine dust in the workplace: printer toner as a health risk
A very special, additional fine dust pollution prevails at many workplaces: Laser printers, which disperse the finest particles from the toners into the air we breathe. This so-called "toner dust" is suspected of being carcinogenic, or at least it has been proven to cause irritation of the mucous membranes and even severe and chronic respiratory diseases. Especially with old or cheap printers, the free-floating particles are particularly toxic because they are also contaminated with heavy metals. Even though manufacturers repeatedly point out that there is no health risk when handled properly: complete ventilation of the devices is not always possible, and toner changes cannot always be carried out smoothly. Trade associations repeatedly recognise toner diseases as occupational diseases, and in many thousands of cases the cause of allergic reactions and respiratory diseases remains undiscovered. Laser printers remain a health risk unless remedial action is taken to clean the air we breathe.
Smokers generate fine dust: a danger to themselves and others
It is also important to mention the particulate matter released when smoking cigarettes. According to a calculation by Italian researchers, the smoke from a cigarette releases the same amount of particulate matter that a diesel engine without a filter emits over one and a half hours. Another us study points in particular to the high toxicity of cigarette smoke from third-hand sources: residues that settle in clothing, carpets and curtains and thus enter the air we breathe latently and repeatedly over a long period of time. This is a risk that should not be underestimated, especially for children!
Airing alone is no longer enough?! The AiroDoctor helps!
Particularly in conurbations like Stuttgart or port cities like Hamburg, particulate matter causes "thick air" all year round, but high levels of pollution are also measurable time and again in other parts of Germany. Not only in offices, in smokers' households and flats along busy roads: fine dust hangs in the air, ventilation cannot provide any relief. This is fortunate for employees, children and senior citizens who are allowed to breathe clean air at work and in their own homes, i.e. air that is not polluted with particulate matter.
This is where the AiroDoctor can help! Its quadruple filter system adsorbs fine dust of the PM2.5 category as well as ultra-fine dust from the room and breathing air with the help of activated carbon and HEPA. Toxic particles are sustainably rendered harmless in a final filter step via the chemical reaction of UV-LED photocatalysis. No new harmful residues are formed in the process. Even when the evening traffic is rolling outside: thanks to AiroDoctor you can finally breathe healthily at work and at home.