Some alarming statistics released earlier this month by the American Thoracic Society should have Americans very concerned about the air that we breathe everyday. Every year, air pollution in the United States leads to nearly 10,000 deaths and 21,400 serious health problems that require hospital care. Some of the pollutants that are causing these issues include ozone, lead, and carbon monoxide.
The level of pollution varies greatly by location. To check the air quality of where you live, check out HealthOfTheAir.org. You can also get a air quality index forecast at AirNow.gov. Check out your area and see statistics about the air you have been breathing.
With those statistics in mind, let’s turn to indoor air quality. Problems with indoor air quality can be even more concerning, since we spend a majority of our lives indoors. Indoor air pollution is two to five times worse than outdoor air. While there is not much we can do individually about outdoor pollution levels, we can certainly manage air pollution within our homes.
Furthermore, pioneers in commercial smart tech have some solutions. Below are some products to consider for those interested in monitoring and cleaning polluted air. Click on the product name for more information about the products. These links are to reviews rather than product pages, so you can make up your own mind:
Unique features: First and foremost, AWAIR is a device that gathers information about the quality of the air. It checks for dust, carbon dioxide, and volatile organic compounds. Basic information like temperature and humidity is also captured.
With a proper set-up, AWAIR uses this information to communicate with Nest or Amazon Echo and can make changes to your environment as needed. For example, if AWAIR senses that it is too humid inside, it can turn on the dehumidifier. This information is also accessible to users via a mobile app.
While this device can automate the process of purifying the air in your home, it requires a “smart home infrastructure” already in place in order for it to make any changes to your environment. Furthermore, it is not a standalone air cleaner; it only gathers information.
User experience: Reviews for AWAIR are generally very positive. Consumers who incorporate the device with other smart tech in their homes find it to be very useful. However, users who buy the product only to monitor air quality may be spending a premium — cheaper air monitors exist.
Unique features: This portable air purifier monitors and cleans the air wherever you take it. It is roughly the size of a water bottle — small enough to fit into the cup holder in your car, or it can be clipped onto backpacks/luggage. The manufacturer claims that it filters 99% of all pollutant particles out of the air. Wynd is marketed towards people with asthma and to people who live in areas with heavy air pollution. Obviously, regular maintenance is required to maintain a healthy home, but Wynd might help.
The colored ring at the top of the device indicates the current air quality. Air quality is determined by the detachable tracker on the bottom. There is also an iOS app that allows you to track air quality over time, based on location. The battery charge lasts up to eight hours, and the filter needs to be replaced every three months.
User experience: This Kickstarter project was successfully funded recently, and Wynd will ship in November 2016. While there are obviously no reviews from users, the funding page offers some practical uses for Wynd.
Projects on Kickstarter can be exciting and new, but they are also untested. The best advice would be to wait until user reviews become available before plunking down cash on this device.
Unique features: This air monitor is so small that it can be clipped to your shirt or belt. Atmotube is designed to give you an accurate reading of the air quality around you. When the air quality score is too low, you will be alerted via a mobile app.
This can help travelers to possibly avoid heavily polluted areas. It can also be used indoors to find sources of air pollution. Users can perform a search for sources of pollution by holding down the button on the front of the device. It will continually take measurements, and let the user know where the pollution is coming from in a “getting warmer/colder” method.
User experience: Atmotube is another example of a crowdfunded success, though this one was funded on Indiegogo. Though the product was originally slated to ship in March, manufacturing complications have pushed the shipment to October 2016.
Again, since this product does not yet have any reviews, consumers should be cautious.
These are just a few way that innovative companies are tackling the problem of air pollution. Whether or not the issue of pollution will be handled more responsibly on a wider scale remains to be seen, but smart tech like this might help with keeping ourselves healthy.
Are you worried about quality of the air where you live? What are your impressions of these smart tech solutions? Leave your comments below and I will respond to any questions or concerns.