Dyson Zone an Unnecessary Product or Innovation?

I wanted some time to pass before I write my thoughts on Dyson’s new product called “Zone”.

For those who don’t know who Dyson is, Dyson is a company known for its innovative and unique products (mainly vacuum cleaners) and it has recently released a new product that combines two seemingly unrelated items: headphones and air purifiers. The Dyson Zone headphones are a pair of noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones with air purification technology built in. I don’t want to focus on the headphone but on the purification capabilities for individuals.


1st Point: We live in a society where individualism becomes stronger and stronger over time and instead of fixing the air pollution for all we are thinking about how to protect only ourselves, not even our kids or family. The device is not capable of stopping pollutants from getting into the wearer’s body and a n95 mask is more effective because it seals better.

2nd Point: Dyson may have applied the Loss Leader Strategy, in which Dyson has spent millions on the development of the product just to reinforce itself in the market as an innovative company. The product costs USD 1,000 which makes it prohibited for anyone to purchase, in my opinion. Dyson has spent lots of money on marketing as you will see the pay-to-play strategy in action as every tech magazine and Youtuber has received a product for “review”.

3rd Point: The snap-on “visor”. I could have worn the device as headphones, but I will never put a piece of cheap plastic in front of my mouth the way they have implemented it. First of all, I want to be able to communicate, and second I want to share my smile with people.

4th Point: All headphones with noise cancelation fall under this category. They pose a safety risk to pedestrians, especially in environments with moving vehicles where the Dyson Zone is specifically designed to be used.

5th Point: Let me make it clear. Dyson Zone and any HEPA-like filter cannot remove gases (NO2, SO2, NO, CO, CO2, NH3, etc.). Many of these gases are present in urban environments. Dyson can only block particles but remember the visor does not seal around your face so particles most likely will overpass it.

6th Point: Finally, and that comes from a medical doctor, having a constant airflow in your airway will dry your upper respiratory tract (nostril and nasal cavity) and eventually may make you more susceptible to infections.

All in all, my criticism may be harsh, but this is not my aim. I want companies to create sustainable products that make a difference in society. Please don’t forget we share the air we breathe, so let’s make a difference together and for all.


Rich vs Poor – Is Air Pollution Fair?

Air pollution is an environmental problem that affects everyone in the world, regardless of their socio-economic status. Rich or poor, we all share the same air, and when it is polluted, it affects us all. Whether it is the air of a city or a rural area, air pollution is a problem that cannot be ignored.

Air pollution occurs when harmful pollutants are released into the atmosphere. These pollutants can come from a variety of sources, including factories, cars, wood stoves, and even forest fires. Air pollutants can be in the form of gases, such as nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide, or particles, such as soot, black carbon, and dust.

Rich or poor, everyone breathes the same air, and when it is polluted, it can lead to a variety of health issues. Air pollution can cause respiratory problems, such as asthma and bronchitis, as well as cardiovascular diseases. It can also increase the risk of cancer and other serious illnesses. Even if you don’t have any immediate health issues, air pollution can still affect your quality of life. It can make it difficult to do everyday activities, such as going for a jog or playing outdoors with your kids.

However, rich people have the resources to manage air pollution better than poor people as they are in a better position to purchase air purifiers and other air quality products. Additionally, they can have access to medical support.

I want to focus on how rich people can use their influence to encourage corporate responsibility. Companies can invest in clean energy technologies, reduce their own emissions, and invest in research and development of new air pollution abatement technologies. They can also provide incentives for employees to use public transportation, carpool, and ride bikes in order to reduce emissions from transportation. They can invest in clean energy technology, such as solar, wind, or hydroelectric power, that can reduce emissions from burning fossil fuels.

Rich people can also donate money to organizations that are actively fighting air pollution. This could be anything from supporting research into new clean energy sources to funding campaigns that promote public awareness of air pollution. They can also use their influence to lobby governments to pass laws and regulations that help to reduce air pollution.

All in all, air pollution doesn’t discriminate against rich or poor, but rich people have the necessary tools to protect themselves and influence others, do you agree?

Why every Car needs a CO2 Monitor/Sensor?

Let’s forget at the moment that combustion vehicles emit carbon dioxide (CO2), and focus on the occupants that spend time inside a confined space where they emit CO2 due to metabolite of cell respiration. Vehicles form part of the indoor spaces where humans spend a lot of time due to traffic or because they have to travel long distances.

Regulatory bodies have been controlling many aspects of modern vehicles; tires, mirrors, seat belts, airbags, screens, etc. However, they have forgotten to look into the air quality inside the vehicles and how it affects the driver’s cognitive performance.

When the air inside a vehicle is not renewed and we keep recirculating the same air over and over, then CO2 is built up in levels that can affect our cognitive performance. Basically, carbon dioxide makes us sleepy.

Researchers have found that for every 500 ppm increase of CO2 results in a drop in response times by 2.4%. A different study concludes that levels of CO2 at 1400 ppm, may cut our basic decision-making ability by 25%, and complex strategic thinking by around 50%.

The solution is easy, we force the air conditioning system to take air from outside. Well, unfortunately, this is not a good idea most of the time because filters cannot capture ultra-fine particles or gases like the notorious toxic nitrogen dioxide. You don’t want your car to suck the air from the exhaust pipe of the car in front of you.

What I propose is that the vehicle’s automation systems with the help of air quality sensors will manage the vehicle’s indoor air quality. If CO2 surpasses certain levels and air quality outdoors is at acceptable levels then the vehicle will switch from recirculating air to outdoor air until CO2 levels will drop down. The driver doesn’t need to know or look at the control panel, as everything happens like magic.

In conclusion, it is a dual safety feature that will help people breathe better air and avoid fatal accidents on the streets.

Visiting India – In need for Clean Air

I had the chance to visit New Delhi and Agra in India due to an annual conference that we had to assist. I was well informed about the poor air quality in the area, so I was prepared to breathe some pollution. I have read many articles and heard many testimonials about the situation there but still, a visit in situ helps someone understand the issue on a whole new level.

Some weeks ago, I published an article on “Why is Air Pollution Invisible” and I think during my visit to India I experienced all of the points clearly.

Immediately, once you come out of the aircraft, you can smell the air pollution. It is everywhere, indoors and outdoors. Even waiting in the immigration line for clearance you can smell it. I didn’t have the instrument in hand at that point in order to measure the concentrations, but from my experience and because air pollution was visible due to high levels, I estimate concentrations of 100μg/m3 of PM2.5. I want to make clear that I was still indoors.

From there, I headed to the hotel in a taxi. As you may imagine, the air quality was not better, but quite the opposite as the fumes from the relentless amount of unregulated vehicles were spewing everything they had in their engines. Particles of all sizes and gas fumes. Interestingly, more than 90% of the vehicle in the streets were occupied by only one person, the driver. On top of the air pollution in the streets, you can add noise pollution as the use of car horns is a tradition in India.

I managed to arrive at the hotel after a small accident with the car (no damages) where I took the air quality monitor out of my luggage in order to measure the conditions in the room. Unfortunately, it wasn’t safe either. The mean PM2.5 concentration during my stay was around 50μg/m3.

The hotel had some small air purifiers in the hallway, but the coverage area was too big for them to handle properly. I looked at the filters and they were pure black, who knows for how long they were running without replacement.

On day two, my nose didn’t register the smell of smoke anymore. I was one of them! Unable to smell the pollution and consequently remind myself that I need to find clean air. This is what happens to locals that don’t have options, eventually, they forget.

For simplicity, here you can see my PM2.5 exposure for the last date of my trip before coming back home. However, the particle counts for the smaller particles like 0.3μm and 0.5μm, which get lost with mass concentration values, were even higher reaching counts of around 400,000,000 particles per m3 and 40,000,000 particles per m3, respectively. By the way, according to the locals, I visited New Delhi during a good AQ time.

Enough with the AQ data, we know it is really bad, my main question was where all this air pollution comes from. Most people will tell me that it is due to vehicle emissions and domestic burning. Still, it doesn’t make sense though because the weather was warm and there was no need to burn logs for heating. Additionally, the issue was persisting all day and night. So after a conversation with a local professor, he pointed out that the main source was waste management. Basically, they burn garbage and these eternal fires create the smog that persists in the city and makes people really sick.

I talked about the car horns, but you will also hear many people cough. It’s normal as their lungs are suffering from chronic exposure to toxic air pollutants.

There is some good news, though. Once the local people realize the source of pollution as I did, they can fix it. New Delhi is populated by 15,000,000 people and I understand that the amount of waste they generate is equivalent to that number, but the management of the waste can’t be “burn it, it will disappear” because it doesn’t. Finally, vehicles need some kind of control and annual revisions that will force the drivers to maintain the car in optimal conditions like EURO 6 compliance does in Europe.

Tamagotchi for Air Quality

Do you remember the Tamagotchi from the 90s? A small and portable digital pet that you had to take care of in order to keep it “alive”?

Wouldn’t it be great to create the same pet but with the only difference that it breathes air and air quality information is taken into account in order to determine its survival chances? I think it will engage people and help them not to get accustomed to the presence of poor AQ. Poor air quality can be due to the presence of particle pollution but also high CO2 levels indoors which will make the character sleepy.

A while ago, I wrote a similar article on Gamification and Air Quality. Same approach but even more fun! Kids will definitely try to keep the character alive, and it doesn’t even require hardware as it can be an app on your phone. Outdoor air quality data are available all over the world, so there is no problem there, but we need to think about how to implement indoor AQ data into the algorithm that calculates Tamagotchi’s health. Remember we spend most of our time indoors.

In this case, a small wearable monitor would be the best. However, 3rd party companies with Indoor AQ monitors will need to give access to the application that runs the companion character. That way, the character can be updated and engage with the user more often based on real data.

A software service will rise here as the company that decides to commercialize such a feature will have to build something similar to what Amazon, ecobee, or Apple with HomeKit provides in order to feed the app with air.

I don’t like the name Tamagotchi a lot, plus there are some copyright issues there, so let’s name our character Nicholas from the titular character of my kid’s books. Nicholas has superpowers and can see particulate pollutants. I cannot imagine a better companion!

Why is Air Pollution Invisible?

You may have heard the term “air pollution is invisible” which was first told by Dr. Gary Fuller (if I am not mistaken), but apart from the fact that the composition of the pollution is made from tiny particles and gases that are not visible to the naked eye, I think the real reason is different.

People forget easily, and even when they see stuff, repeatable patterns get canceled out by the brain. A clear example are perfumes. When you wear the same perfume over and over, you lose the ability to smell it. Another example is the smell each house has as the owners/occupants of the house are unable to smell it. Visitors, on the other hand, can and sometimes is very potent.

I believe the same thing happens with air pollution. When you expose yourself to the same pungent odors (e.g nitrogen dioxide) because you go to work or school every day, your brain becomes familiar with the odor and it cancels it out. Same thing with wood burning smoke, as I have encountered people that live inside clouds of wood smoke which doesn’t bother them. Eventually, their lungs/heart cannot cope anymore and they die prematurely.

Another reason air pollution is invisible is that the majority of people lack education in order to see the problem. Scientifically speaking air pollution is a very complex topic that involves knowledge in chemistry, physics, statistics, and more. It is not expected for people to have this kind of knowledge and this is the reason we have to communicate the impact it has on human health in simple terms. Environmental education has to come from the early stages of school education which is absent in most countries, even the developed ones.

We cannot allow any more drawings with a chimney and smoke as something normal

Sensor technology has allowed us to see the air we breathe yet many public/private organizations are scared of the information we collect and share. Accurate information is a powerful tool. Inaccurate, or the absence of information, is dangerous.

Believe it or not, there is a lot of misinformation about air pollution. For example, wood stove pellets do not produce air pollution nor CO2! This is what the industry of wood burners tells people. Pure lies.

I will close this article with a question, are you allowed to breathe clean air?

Indoor Air Quality and ChatGPT by OpenAI

This is the first Artificial Intelligent (AI) written article on Indoor Air Quality. I was interested to see if technology understands the issue. I have done zero corrections. What do you think?

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is an important but often overlooked aspect of a home’s environment. Poor IAQ can lead to a variety of health issues, such as asthma, allergies, headaches, and other respiratory and cardiovascular problems. Given the health risks associated with poor IAQ, it’s important to understand the sources of indoor air pollutants, the measures you can take to reduce them, and the steps you should take if you suspect your home has a IAQ issue.

Indoor air pollutants come from a variety of sources, including mold, dust mites, pet dander, pollen, chemicals, and building materials. These pollutants can enter your home through open windows, ventilation systems, and other pathways. Poor maintenance of these sources can lead to an increase in the amount of pollutants in the air. For example, failing to regularly clean carpets and filters can lead to an accumulation of dust and other contaminants.

One source of indoor air pollution that is often dismissed is wood burning. Wood burning can produce both direct and indirect air pollutants, such as smoke, soot, and other particulate matter. The smoke can contain a variety of hazardous compounds, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and formaldehyde. In addition, the smoke from wood burning can also contain other pollutants, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). All of these pollutants can be hazardous to human health, particularly if the exposure is prolonged.

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to reduce the levels of indoor air pollutants and improve the quality of your home’s air. Regularly cleaning carpets, upholstery, and other surfaces can help reduce the amount of dust and other allergens in the air. Additionally, regularly changing the air filters in your air conditioning and heating systems can help reduce the amount of dust and other particles in the air. Finally, using an air purifier can also help reduce the amount of indoor air pollutants.

If you suspect your home has a IAQ issue, it’s important to take steps to investigate and address the problem. The first step is to identify the source of the problem. This can involve hiring professionals to assess the air quality in your home, as well as conducting tests to identify the specific pollutants in the air. Once the source of the problem has been identified, you can then take steps to address it, such as improving ventilation, cleaning regularly, and using air purifiers.

In conclusion, poor IAQ can lead to a variety of health issues, including asthma, allergies, headaches, and other respiratory and cardiovascular problems. Therefore, it’s important to understand the sources of indoor air pollutants, the measures you can take to reduce them, and the steps you should take if you suspect your home has a IAQ issue. By taking steps to reduce indoor air pollutants and address the sources of IAQ issues, you can help ensure your home’s air quality is as healthy as possible.

Indoor Air Quality Do’s and Don’ts

When it comes to indoor air we have to be very careful because common activities can deteriorate the air quality very fast. Apart from the fact that we spend a lot of time indoors, an indoor environment needs more time to recover once air pollution become present because houses tend to be very tight and don’t allow the dilution of pollutants as fast as ambient air.

Even people that are very conscious, like myself, commit mistakes. The other day, for example, I was preparing caramel syrup for a holiday dessert, and as I wasn’t paying attention to the caramel (because I was multitasking), the caramel burnt. In a matter of seconds, IAQ dropped significantly. VOCs and PMx concentrations rose. At that moment and based on the outdoor conditions, I decided that it was more appropriate to open all windows in order to dilute the pollutants fast. Cross ventilation to the rescue!

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Webinar – IAQ from A to Z

Join my webinar on January 11th 2022 at 10:00 AM EST as I discusses Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) from A to Z. Effective measurement of IAQ reduces the health risks associated with poor indoor air, creating a safer, more harmonious environment for people to thrive.

We spend up to 87% of our time indoors. In some cases, exposure to indoor air pollution can lead to acute and chronic respiratory illnesses, including asthma, lung cancer, pneumonia, systemic hypertension, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Finally, I will discuss the common sources and pollutants indoors, international IAQ standards, and many more.

Register here ⬇️⬇️⬇️


2022: Year in Review – See The Air

2022 was a year full of air quality news. Lots of scientific research and publications on how air pollution influences the health of individuals, but also the same bad patterns; wildfires, traffic, wood burning, crop burning, industrial malpractices, etc. For reference, kids who breathe polluted air can fall behind in school link, air pollution linked to a million stillbirths a year link, tiny particles in the air can cause sudden heart attacks link, air pollution during pregnancy and neurodevelopment in children link, and unfortunately many many more.

An important good piece of news was the new ‘Ella Bill’ to enshrine right to clean air. Thank you Rosamund Adoo Kissi Debrah.

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