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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Wood Burning Patterns!

I live in an area where wood burning is an unfortunate “cozy” habit for the people around me. So, I decided to see if patterns appear after monitoring the ambient air quality for 30 days in order to identify if there is any window that will allow me to open the windows and get some fresh & clean air. For the sake of simplicity, I will use only PM2.5 values.

I don’t mind if I have to wake up at 3:00 AM in order to allow some outdoor air to come inside and dilute some VOC and CO2 that build up. Indoors, PM2.5 concentrations are kept well under 5μg/m3 because I run the air purifiers 24/7. By the way in a recent, poster the position of the air purifier inside the house plays an important role in how well particles are captured.

Anyway, let’s jump into the data I collected and analyzed.

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Size Matters: Why is important to know the Particle Size Distribution?

In a constant effort to educate the community, I highly recommend you to attend my upcoming webinar “Size Matters: Why is important to know the Particle Size Distribution“. The webinar is scheduled for the16th of November, 2022 at 8am EST.

Although it is a business oriented webinar, I will also try to educate in simple terms the attendees on what is PM2.5 and why it falls short as it doesn’t reveal in detail the make up of air pollution.

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The Dark Side of the Wood Stove Industry

You probably have seen “cozy” images of fireplaces or wood stoves with happy people, a blanket around them, and a hot beverage and you may have thought that’s something very appealing, I want that! Well, I would suggest thinking twice before taking that decision and if you have already taken it, maybe it’s time to undo your mistake.

You see, people get sick thanks to these “cozy” elements in houses. It’s very hard to undo the brain wash the wood stove industry has done all of these years but we have to realize that wood burning is neither sustainable nor healthy.

Many claims that biomass is sustainable but this is a myth. A story designed to push people into spending money for status or simple ineffective heating. You see, clean energy (wind, solar, etc) doesn’t require the user to buy fuel, logs, or pellets every season. It is there for us but doesn’t generate constant revenue for the companies.

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Should Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles come with a permanent sticker on the back similar to the Tobacco packaging?

I think we have come to a point in time where we are well aware of the dangers internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles hide as they emit a tremendous amount of toxic pollutants that have a direct health impact on dwellers, especially in cities.

Nowadays, going to the center of a city by car is unnecessary and very impractical. However, many still insist on taking their huge SUVs even for a trip within a walking distance. Walking distance means going from one point to another no farther than 1,5 km / 1 mile or 15 minutes in time. I don’t think you will go any faster if you take your car because of all the hassle that it involves (parking, getting on board, load stuff, etc).

Schools here in Europe are within walking distances. This is the reason your kid cannot go to a school in a different district. Even then though, parents form huge queue outside of the schools in order to drop off their kids every single morning. No! It’s time to walk!

I believe cars should come with a permanent sticker on the rear side similar to the tobacco packaging in order to make people think and react. The sticker cannot be removed or covered by law. Maybe you will turn off the engine while waiting or not forcing the car to start even when new cars hibernate the engine automatically in traffic lights.

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Review: SODAQ AIR – An Air Quality Monitor for Your Bike/Your Lungs

More and more people choose to ride a bike for their daily commutes and although SODAQ AIR is not the first air quality monitor for a bike, it is the first to have collected over 20M data points. This is particularly import for the development of an IoT air quality monitor as the developers have enough information to debug and develop a super stable product that needs very little troubleshooting from its users.

SODAQ is not a new company as it was founded back in 2013, and they have been working on this particular project (SODAQ AIR) alone since 2015. It seems that consumer satisfaction is always their priority, which is very important nowadays as we need sustainable products that will last for a long time.

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High-End Professional vs Low-Cost Professional Ambient Air Quality Monitors

In the space of ambient air quality monitoring, there are two basic and distinctive categories of professional air quality monitors; the High-End Professional and Low-Cost Professional monitors. I have been asked multiple times to recommend monitors for scientific studies and the deployment of them in cities.

It is very important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of both categories. It is also mandatory to recognize the fact that we will never get the exact same measurement from either category of sensors.

High-End Professional AQA

High-End Professional ambient air quality analyzers are used mostly by governments inside the air quality stations we have in most cities. Their strength is that they meet international standards for accuracy and they are certified by the EU (and similar bodies) to meet minimum performance requirements, in order to ensure that the measurement methods comply with the Data Quality Objectives set down in the Ambient Air Quality Directive (2008/50/EC) and in the amending Directive (EU) 2015/1480. Their weakness is that they require lots of energy to operate. In most cases, they are inside a fixed container with a refrigeration system to keep conditions stable. They are big and boxy in size and very expensive to purchase and operate. Additionally, they need constant maintenance by a technician. Another weakness is that in most cases these analyzers are not smart enough to broadcast measurement in real-time to the Cloud and they require other pieces of equipment to do that job, as a result, the cost of operation increases.

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2021: Year in Review – See The Air

One more year has passed, one more orbit around the Sun, but still in many places of the world air pollution remains the number one threat for the health of the dwellers and the stability of the ecosystem. The political unwillingness to address air pollution and lots of green-washing from companies haven’t alleviated the situation anywhere. Sad, but even the COP26 was a bit of a fiasco as the leaders of this planet and the majority of the population are still trying to process the information of climate change and air pollution. Apparently, the world doesn’t want to sacrifice convince over the quality of life and life expectancy.

Megalomania and individualism are tearing the ecosystem apart and polarizing the society into left or right, pro-climate or anti-climate, pro-clean air (anapneism), or burn as much fossil fuel, waste and wood as possible. Plastic pollution is another big issue as well.

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Breathe Helmet – Angel Investor

Introduction

I have teamed up with a great product designer Nathan Hassanali in our effort to offer clean air to the commuters that need to move around the cities where combustion engine vehicles are unfortunately still a priority over sustainable alternative methods.

The Problem – Air Pollution

One of the biggest challenges of the 21st century will be to mitigate the negative effects of transport – greenhouse gases, air pollution, and noise – while ensuring positive aspects of mobility. Meanwhile what can dwellers do to protect themselves from the toxic air that is present in the streets all around the world?

Although air pollution has decreased over the last two decades, it is still a major problem in many areas. ‘EURO standards’ for vehicles have not succeeded in reducing Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) emissions and “defected” vehicles (aka Dieslegate) still circulate without meeting the levels set out in the legislation. Recently, the World Health Organization updated the Air Quality Guidelines (2021 AQGs) which sets the bar for human health high because according to new methods for evidence synthesis and guideline development they found proof of health effects occurring at lower levels than previously understood.

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Smoggie-PM Volunteers Update

Back in April, I and uRADMonitor shipped 5 Smoggie-PM to 5 volunteers in order to help them raise awareness but also to investigate what people breathe in other parts of the world, like in Belgium, Uganda, Azerbaijan, the USA, and Spain. Unfortunately, the US volunteer doesn’t respond to my emails and he hasn’t set the monitor up yet. I hope he is fine and covid-19 or any other possible problem hasn’t affected him.

In this article, I will analyze the data from two of the locations in order to determine the Air Quality (AQ) and get some conclusions that will help my volunteers. Here are some of the photos the volunteers have sent me.

It is always recommended to place the AQ monitors under the shade as sunlight can increase the internal temperature and consequentially the measurements of temperature and humidity will be incorrect.

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