What Am I Breathing?

There’s nothing in the world so natural and freeing as taking a long, deep breath. Drawing clear, clean air into your lungs can help you sort out chaotic thoughts and calm physical nerves. It’s a great exercise for mental and for bodily health. Unfortunately, for a lot of people all around the world, simply breathing can be a laborious, painful act for a huge variety of reasons. Industrialization means that many cities across the globe exist in a veritable smog. The particles released by coal plants can lead to severe, hazardous air quality conditions. Studies have linked poor air quality to medical problems such as mouth, lung, and throat cancer. A more mundane issue caused by air quality, allergies, plagues millions of people every year. Seasonal variations can make geographical areas rife with pollen, dust, and irritants. Those irritants can inflame your sinuses, cause runny eyes, and, in general, make people quite miserable.

A lot of folks depend on air filters to breathe easy when they’re in their homes. There are many different air filters on the market. Different models are built to suit large areas, apartments, and small homes. The Digital Journal reports that developments in the high-efficiency air filters can help people improve their health and avoid pollutant- and allergen-based medical issues. Average, everyday air filters actually allow a lot of particles to remain in the air. It’s important to obtain a high-efficiency product so that you are substantially improving your air quality. Additionally, those high-efficiency filters take less power to run and can save you money comparatively in the long run.

Credible organizations such as the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) measure the effectiveness of air filters using a specific system. The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) system measures how well filters trap air particles of three distinct sizes. Each of these sizes has a number of sub-ranges, though, so the MERV system actually measures how well air filters work for 12 different sizes of particles.  

Air filters are placed on an efficiency scale of 1 to 16. An air filter with a rating of 1 would fail to trap most particles and would make little to no difference in the quality of the breathable atmosphere in the area. A rating of 16 would mean the air filter works wonderfully, catching most of the available particles. Unfortunately, the MERV standard isn’t that consistent. A rating of 8 doesn’t indicate that a filter would catch 50 percent of the particles.

A new standard, the ISO 16890 standard is much more consumer-friendly. The International Organization for Standardization thinks that buyers need an easier way to judge the effectiveness of air filters. People have a pressing need for air purity, and they need standards that can correctly measure these important products. Everyone deserves to be able to breathe freely.

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