Twenty years ago, we saw an increasing number of infants developing allergies and asthma in Sweden. My thought was that this might be related to the indoor air quality in day-care centers were the Swedish children start at an early age, often before the age of two years. We know that until till age of three, the immune system will adapt to the environment and some dirt is fine but what happens if there is too much and not the same dirt all the time?
Fine particles in the air would carry those allergens and standard ventilation techniques may not be the best method to handle all those particles we bring with us wherever we go.
Perhaps there would be other ways by which we could capture fine particles indoor that may not yet been developed to its full potential. Clearly the old ionization technique seemed to be of interest and when George Richardson and I went through the literature, we saw the potential but also what mistakes that had been made.
“The study reveals that the health risks posed by microscopic air pollutants have been grossly understated with huge economic consequences”
South China Morning Post, 19 Dec 2012
Over the recent years, numerous studies have documented the current situation of fine and ultra-fine having a most detrimental impact on our lives. We know that apart from children and the elderly, pregnant women are at special risk. The reason is that the body has to manage those fine particles that we inhale. This activation of the immune system is called “oxidative stress” which generates a low level inflammation which is not a good thing.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
1. Improve/reduce the flow of traffic and replace the diesel engine
2. Stay indoors
– Small particles get indoors anyhow.
– Mould and Mycotoxines may become another threat.
– Increasing risk of airborne infections.
Yet we may control the quality of the ambient air indoors!
3. Develop new techniques to reduce the bioload of the air
– Prove their capacity in a setting where improvements can be recorded.
– High performance animals become the target for investigation.
At the moment, the only thing we can do is to try to improve the indoor air quality.