The myth of staying indoors to avoid pollutants outdoors

The myth of staying indoors to avoid pollutants outdoors
PHOTO: Reuters

In a 1999 interview with the Asian Wall Street Journal, Mr Lee Kuan Yew once hailed the air-condition as one of humankind's greatest invention.

"Everyone can then work at his optimum temperature and civilisation can spread across all climates," said the late former Prime Minister.

As the mercury in Singapore soared to a decade-high of 36.7 deg C on April 13, it is no wonder that his words still ring true in 2016.

Singaporeans spend a lot of time indoors, and who can blame them in the sweltering heat? Already, the average American spends 90 per cent of their life indoors, reported the US Environmental Protection Agency.

But as we spend more time in confined spaces, we are breathing more indoor air pollution such as cooking fumes, pollen from indoor plants, pet furs, and aerosol sprays.

Asthmatics are advised to stay indoors during the haze, yet a 2012 report by architecture firm Perkins + Will identified 374 substances commonly found indoors that may cause asthma.

So should we stay indoors or outdoors just for a breath of fresh air?

Purifying the air would be a good way to start solving this quandary.

The release of airborne particles and chemicals indoors from paint, carpets, tabletops are so small - a process called off-gassing - most ordinary filters will not do the job.

To add to the dilemma, these off-gassing products are everyday essentials, including your mattresses and curtains that have been coated in flame-retardant solution to make them more resistant to fire, or more rugged.

A High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter will do the trick, capturing ultrafine particles up to 0.1 microns - enough to weed out toxic paint fumes (a strand of human hair is 100 microns).

The benchmark set by the National Environment Agency is 2.5 microns - or PM2.5 as we are more familiar with - as these fine particulate matters can cluster on the lining of our lungs.

These 2.5 micron particles have been linked to heart attacks, strokes and skin ageing, while 0.1 micron particles can even penetrate the blood stream.

Fortunately, these ultrafine particles can be captured by purifiers such as the Dyson Pure Cool Link, which removes 99.95 per cent of particles as small as 0.1 microns with its 360 degrees glass HEPA filter.

The Dyson Pure Cool Link also pulls the clean air from its HEPA filter at a slower rate compared to other air purifiers that aggressively force air through their filters, which may cause some leaks of potentially harmful particles.

Homeowners can also have a peace of mind as the intelligent Dyson Pure Cool Link monitors the air quality constantly and will automatically purify to ensure healthy air indoors, while keeping track of the outdoor air quality via the Dyson Link app available on both iPhone or Android platforms.

During the hot months, the Dyson Pure Cool Link can double up as a fan and purifier, while its lower settings will circulate purified air around the room during the rainy season or at night when the temperature is lower. To top this, the filter in the Dyson Pure Cool Link only needs to be changed yearly - and only after using for 12 hours every day for a year.

With its advanced technology and intelligence to monitor and filter 99.95 per cent of potentially harmful ultrafine particles as small as 0.1 microns, and its dual function to cool and purify, the late statesman would have been pleased with the Dyson Pure Cool Link.

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