Bad air

According to a Greenpeace report on air pollution in India charmingly named ‘Airpocalypse‘, I live in an area that is hazardous to health with long term implications of chronic lung disorders and shorter life spans. Opinions on national newspapers also tell me that the air quality monitors being used by the authorities can only measure pollutants on a scale of 0-500, which means that if any of the substances polluting the air crosses the 500 mark, no one really knows exactly how many levels above 500 it has crossed.

On this cheerful note, the air purifier market in India has grown exponentially by close to 60% year on year with estimates that it can grow in to a USD 209 million industry by 2021.

So, like almost every tier 1 city family member worrying about the children’s health, I did my research (my favourite ones are air purifier reviews by Ed and another blog by an American doctor practising medicine in Beijing since 2006, a Dr. Richard Saint Cyr) did an opinion survey (asked a total of 15 friends and neighbours who have air purifiers) and finally bought a Sharp purifier. I invested close to INR 20,000 (~USD 300) on the smallest product in the line, and taking the machine apart, I realised that I had bought a fan housed in a plastic body with one net and a HEPA filter thrown in. The plasmacluster feature which is probably why the machine was so expensive is like having LED lights on your running shoes- very pretty but probably not contributing to better ankle support and less essential than a pair of laces. I think I would have got more value for my money if they had provided an extra HEPA filter instead because these cost upwards of INR 4,500 (~ USD 70) each and need to be replaced almost every year.

A year down the line of using the filter in our bedroom every night, I say that it definitely has a placebo like effect and helps me sleep better with Luka. I also noticed that it does a good job of removing odours (:D) but whether it has reduced our allergies or if it will give longevity, is very hard to measure in quantitative terms. I have not found any evidence based research to support such claims either.

So for the average frugal family with an average sized wallet, worried about cleaner air, I would recommend investing in a basic air purifier (which is a fan that sucks in air through filters thus ‘cleaning it’ and then pushes it out) that has 2 or 3 filters which includes a HEPA. The size of the fan would depend on how big your room is. For finer details you could look at how efficiently the sucking in and out of air is done and at what cost of electricity.

The next time I buy an air purifier it will be a DIY Smart Air– cheaper at INR ~4000 (~USD 63), easier to maintain and definitely far more straightforward in what it promises to deliver.

Bobo much? What do you think?

 

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