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If British Columbia Can Achieve Clean Air, Ontario Can Too!

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According to the World Health Association (WHO), cities in British Columbia rate as having some of the cleanest air in the world.

When asked how they accomplished this feat, officials cite four reasons: geography, trees, regulations, and personal choice.

While there is no way to control geographic location per se, the other three contributors fall under the purview of each of us here in Ontario.

In this post, learn what you can do to achieve air that is as clean as—heck, even cleaner!—than that of our B.C. neighbours.

How to STOP Outdoor Air Pollution from Coming Indoors

One issue that regulation has addressed effectively for British Columbians is the reduction of outdoor air pollution.

Just a few years ago, it was estimated that air pollution prematurely killed an estimated 2 million people annually. Fast-forward to 2016, and that estimate has grown to 5.5 million people worldwide.

One of the leading pollutants and the major cause of premature death is the presence of small particulates in outdoor air. These fine particles are so tiny they can penetrate nearly anything—skin, tissue, organs, cells—build up, and create conditions leading to stroke, heart disease, cancer, and other known killers.

In fact, B.C. officials also cite “small particulates” as being their chief concern in the ongoing fight to improve air quality both outdoors and indoors.

Unlike with other common irritants such as dust, dirt, pollen, and mould spores, these tiniest of particles are not filtered out by garden variety air filters. So the more of them that are present in the outdoor air, the more that are typically present in the indoor air as well.

Happily, while local regulators and citizens are working to reduce some of the root causes that release small particulate matter into our outdoor air, there is one way to at least stop them from coming into the air we breathe in our homes and workplaces.

That gatekeeper is a HEPA filtration system.

HEPA stands for “high-efficiency particulate air.” These systems were designed back in the 1940s to deal with radiation leakage. Today, they still represent the gold standard of indoor air filtration.

HEPA air filters can filter out 99.7 percent of the airborne particulate matter that enters your home or office. This includes particulates down to a size of just 0.3 microns across.

HEPA air filtration systems clean out the ordinary pollutants, irritants, and allergens that enter your indoor air as a matter of course—that is, pollen, dust, pet dander, mites, mould spores, tobacco, etc.

They also clean out the smaller pollutant particles standard filtration systems can’t even touch.

There are different levels of HEPA filtering systems available, depending on budget and space size:

  • HEPA-rated air filters. These filters are sized to fit the standard HVAC filter spaces so you can just replace your garden variety air filter with a HEPA-rated filter.
  • HEPA-rated portable space filters. For small spaces, you can bring in a HEPA-rated portable space filter. This is a small unit that can effectively filter the air in your office, bedroom or even a small apartment space.
  • HEPA-rated whole-home filters. Whole-home filters are designed to filter the fine particulates out of the indoor air in larger spaces, such as a home or office.

Other Ways to Use HEPA Filters to Clean Inside Air

In addition to HEPA-rated filters and filtration systems that are sized for small and larger spaces, you can begin to incorporate the fine particulate air filtration that HEPA-rated filters provide in other ways.

Here are some options to consider:

  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA-rated filter. Some vacuum cleaners feature filters that carry a HEPA rating. Allergists and physicians often recommend this to patients with a history of severe allergies, asthma, and other respiratory disorders.
  • Install a HEPA-rated air filter in your vehicle. HEPA-rated filters are also available for use in vehicles today. This is particularly helpful to filter out the particulates that are streaming in from the exhaust of other cars on the roadway.
  • HEPA-rated face masks. In some countries (most notably China), citizens don HEPA-rated face masks before going outside on high smog days. These masks are similar to those worn by surgeons and physicians treating patients with highly contagious diseases such as TB.

Other Ways to Purify Your Indoor Air

Efforts to purify outdoor air do have a positive impact on indoor air. In the same way, efforts to purify indoor air will keep pollutants trapped indoors from being reintroduced into the outside air again.

When we commit to keeping the air clean in our spaces at home, work, and in our vehicles, this contributes to a greater increase in the air quality of the air we all share as well.

Beyond the installation of HEPA-rated filters and air filtration systems, the B.C. officials cited two other critical actions their citizens have taken to achieve such high air quality ratings.

Trees and Greenery

The first is trees and greenery. Greenery is its own kind of natural filter. While certain plants are better suited to filter the air we breathe than others, all greenery does its part.

Personal Choice

The second is personal choice. Personal choice, of course, also includes actions like “greening up” our personal spaces and using HEPA-rated filters and appliances.

But it goes beyond these things. It also includes our choice of light bulbs, energy sources, vehicles, appliances, etc.—every choice we make will impact the local air quality for all of us.

For instance, if we schedule an indoor air quality test that leads to an indoor air duct cleaning, a dryer vent cleaning, and a mattress cleaning, we have just made a small but measurable impact in the local air quality.

Contact Clean Air Solutions

For help purifying your indoor air at home and work, call 905-544-2470, or contact us online.

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