Mining and the air you breathe – how you can mitigate the health risks

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coal mining pollutionThe effects of mining on human health are shocking. Take control of the air you breathe indoors with an air purification system.

South Africa is a mining mecca and, while the country’s mining riches may be great for the economy, the same cannot be said for our health.

Fortunately, however, the serious health risks associated with mining pollution – as outlined in this article, below – can be considerably mitigated by purifying the indoor air you breathe at home and at work with a good quality air purification system.

pbOffice, a division of PBSA, offers a range German-made air purifiers, humidifiers and combo units to serve all household and business premises indoor air purification requirements. Designed and manufactured by Ideal in Balingen, Germany our state-of-the-art devices work on a multi-stage air purification system, which filters almost 100% of pollutants from the air before they reach your lungs.

Mining in South Africa and your health

The adverse effects of mining activity on human health – and the environment at large – is a stark reality that environmentalists, politicians and civil activists alike have been trying to grapple with for years now. Unfortunately, it is a reality we cannot escape.

South Africa – the world’s third largest coal exporter – is also home to a host of other minable minerals, including diamonds, gold, platinum, palladium, chromium, uranium, manganese, ilmenite, zirconium, vanadium, rutile and vermiculite.

Over the past few months there has been a heightened focus on the effects of coal mining, in particular, on human health. In September, UK-based air quality and health expert Dr Mike Holland visited South Africa and uncovered some shocking air quality issues surrounding the country’s coal-mining activities.

According to Holland, air pollution from coal-fired power stations kills more than 2 200 South Africans and causes thousands of cases of bronchitis and asthma in adults and children every year. The accumulative monetary damage to the economy – which includes healthcare costs and lost working days – is more than R30-billion a year.

The recent visit follows in-depth research undertaken by Holland last year. Commissioned by local non-profit environmental justice service groundWork, Holland’s findings are contained in a report entitled Health impacts of coal-fired power plants in South Africa.

Shocking figures

These are some of the estimated annual impacts Holland attributes to air pollution from the burning of coal in South Africa:

  • 2 239 deaths – 157 from lung cancer, 1110 from ischaemic heart disease, 73 from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 719 from strokes, and 180 from lower respiratory infection
  • 2 781 cases of chronic bronchitis in adults
  • 9 533 cases of bronchitis in children aged 6 to 12
  • 94 680 days of asthma symptoms in children aged 5 to 19
  • 2 379 hospital admissions
  • 3 972 902 restricted activity days (all ages)
  • 996 628 lost working days

On 26 September 2017, the South African Medical Research Council released research findings on Air Quality and Human Health in South Africa that corroborate the gravity of the situation, as laid out in Holland’s reports.

The council report outlines how air pollution plays a direct role in a number of adverse health conditions in adults and children, and points out that the situation is only set to worsen, due to climate change.

The report highlights indoor air as one of the biggest culprits in its report background: “In 2015, 6.4 million deaths (and 167.2 DALYs*) were attributed to air pollution globally. Household air pollution accounted for 2.8 million of these deaths [and] ranked [as the] 7th leading risk factor attributing DALYs globally in 2013.”

Reduce your risk

There is an often-quoted statistic that indicates many adults spend up to 90% of their time indoors, between home and the office.

What’s worse, is that children are now starting to spend more time indoors in South Africa too. Earlier this year, in February, Stats SA’s Victims of Crime survey revealed that most South Africans spend less time in public open spaces or allow their children to play outside for fear of crime.

When you consider that some studies have shown indoor air to be two to five times more polluted than the air outside, it is clear that it is the indoor air that we breathe which should be our first line of attack when it comes to defending our – and our children’s – lungs.

And this goes for office workers, too. According to research conducted by the University of California’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, employers can improve workforce performance by up to 10% through improvements in the quality of indoor air.

Air purifiers have been proven to limit the risks of illness caused by airborne pollutants by eliminating the vast majority of airborne substances that are a danger to our health and well-being, and cleaning the air we breathe.

In light of our environmental circumstances, never has it been more crucial than it is today, to ensure air we take into our lungs on a daily basis – both at home and at work – is clean. Invest in your health today, by investing in an air purifier.

For more information on the various Ideal models and features, visit our Air Purifiers web page or call 010 300 4893.

[NOTES]

* The disability-adjusted life year (DALY) is a measure of overall disease burden, expressed as the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death.

[REFERENCES]

  1. Wikipedia – Economy of South Africa
  2. Wikipedia – Mining industry of South Africa
  3. co.za – Effects of Mining on the Environment and Human Health
  4. ee Publishers – Air pollution from coal power stations deadly
  5. Dr Mike Holland – Health impacts of coal-fired power generation in South Africa (PDF)
  6. South African Medical Research Council – Air Quality and Human Health in South Africa (PDF)
  7. Huffington Post – How employee productivity chokes on indoor air
  8. EPA’s report on the Environment – The importance of indoor air quality
  9. Sandton Chronicle – Stats SA – South Africans spend more time indoors because of crime

PBSA serves medical sector with new IDEAL air purifiers

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Removing impurities from the indoor air we breathe is perhaps nowhere more important than in the medical industry, where optimal health is the ultimate aim.

Air pollution (both indoor and outdoor) has been tagged by the World Health Organisation as the world’s largest single environmental health risk. Hospital environments in particular are very complex environments, which require special attention to indoor air quality, for the sake of patients and healthcare workers alike.

Recognising this, PBSA (formerly Pitney Bowes SA) has introduced two new IDEAL air purifiers designed specifically for the medical sector – the AP40 and AP100.

Both devices are professional air cleaners with individually replaceable high-quality filter elements, which filter a range of pollutants – including fine dust, pollen, allergens, pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and mould spores, cigarette smoke, exhaust fumes, chemical vapours and even odours – from the air.

With invaluable features like low energy consumption and quiet operation, the AP40 and AP100 are the ideal indoor solution. Both feature a PlasmaWave system, making them the superior choice for spaces where there is a high risk of airborne infections and occupational diseases.

PlasmaWave produces positive and negative ions in an optimal ratio that form hydroxyls, together with hydrogen from the humid air. These hydroxyls neutralise and destroy viruses like influenza, and eliminate bacteria, chemical compounds, poisons and odours at molecular level. Basically, PlasmaWave cleans indoor air in the same way nature cleans outdoor air.

AP40IDEAL AP40

The IDEAL AP40 is made for rooms up to 40m² and features a HEPA filter system with an antibacterial coating and anti-odour filter.

The antimicrobial CleanCel equipment of the device and the antimicrobial coating “MedShield” of the HEPA filter inhibit the growth of microbes and remove pathogens.

It features a high-quality touch display for intuitive control and provides auto, manual, sleep and turbo function modes. In Auto mode, the device continually monitors the air quality with intelligent sensor technology and automatically controls the power. In addition to the automatic adjustment, the fan speed can be manually adjusted at five levels – sleep, low, middle, high and turbo.

A timer can optionally be pre-set to a runtime of either one, four or eight hours and the device features a child-proof key. Convenient function indicators indicate the operational state at any given time, while the filter change display informs users as to when a filter change is pending. Filters need to be changed on average every 12 months.


AP100IDEAL AP100

The AP40’s “big brother”, the IDEAL AP100, is made for rooms up to 100m². In addition to a high-performance filter system and LCD touch screen, this device also features a WLAN (wireless local area network) connection and the corresponding app.

The AP100 has a 7-level cleaning system, featuring the following:

  • Level 1 – Fine pre-filter that filters particles such as dust, hairs, pollen and lint.
  • Level 2 – CleanCel equipment inhibits the growth of microbes.
  • Level 3 – PM2.5 filter filters ultra-fine air pollutants of a size of 2.5 μm.
  • Level 4 – Antimicrobial coating “MedShield” – removes 99.9% of pathogen viruses, bacteria, and mould spores from the air.
  • Level 5 – A high-performance activatedcarbon filter removes various odours and harmful gases.
  • Level 6 – The optionally selectable PlasmaWave system actively supports the removal of bacteria, viruses, mould spores and ultrafine particles from the indoor air.
  • Level 7 – The true HEPA Filter filters 99.97% of the ultra-fine particles of 0.3μm such as fine dust, dental dusts, and sooty particles.

For hygienically pure air and peace of mind, PBSA’s IDEAL AP Med Edition devices are the way to go.

PBSA debuts new IDEAL devices

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Purify and humidify the air you breathe with IDEAL’s new combo units

You breathe approximately 10 000 litres of air – not to mention all the undesirable elements in it – through your lungs on a daily basis, which is why clean breathing air is so important when it comes to your health.

With nearly 100% of unwanted substances – including exhaust fumes, viruses and bacteria, tobacco smoke, dust, mould, building chemistry, fine dust, aerosols, animal hair and pollen – posing a risk to  your health and wellbeing, you want to make sure these elements are removed from the air you breathe.

This is where IDEAL comes in. The Germany-based maker of machines that turn the indoor air you breathe into something only nature can produce – fresh, clean, natural air – has launched two new air purifier and humidifier products, the air washer IDEAL AW40 and  IDEAL ACC55 combination device.

While the AW40 washes indoor air, the two-in-one ACC55 device both washes and filters it.

Ideal AW40Indoor air washer

The AW40 – an “air washer” for clean and humidified indoor air – is suitable for spaces of up to 40 m² and has automatic function.

Recommended for allergy sufferers, the AW40 cleans and humidifies air without the use of any consumables. It also features the anti-bacterial Ionic Silver Stick®, is low on energy consumption and operates silently.

The air washer produces clean air and combines this with ideal humidification. Water – a natural filter – binds contaminates such as dust, allergens and particle-bound odour, all without any additional consumables or replacement filters.

Thanks to the integrated humidity switch, the air humidity can be controlled at the push of a button to achieve an ideal room climate. A digital humidity display shows the relative humidity in the room at the push of a button even if the device is turned off.

The AW40’s cleaning mode automatically indicates when to clean the device, to refill the water tank or to replace the Ionic Silver Stick®. All components can be removed from the case with a single movement.

An intelligent light sensor automatically switches the air washer to night operation, which includes automatic dimming and display at night time. This makes the device ideal for use in bedrooms or children‘s rooms. The air washer also features an automatic switch-off function, which kicks in when the water tank is empty.

Two-in-one cleaner

The IDEAL ACC55 – another combo unit that cleans and humidifies indoor air – guarantees a healthy room climate throughout the year.Ideal ACC55

The ACC55 not only ensures clean air by filtering the smallest particles from the air, but also provides ideal air humidity via an evaporator system at the same time.

Suitable for rooms up to 55 m² and also highly recommended for allergy sufferers, the device features a permanent pre-filter that stops hair, house dust and other major particles of dirt before they get to your airwaves. A downstream HEPA fine particle air filter filters almost all particles, pollen, bacteria and viruses, while an activated carbon filter absorbs bad odours.

The evaporation pad, which sees to air humidification, features an evaporator cassette. This is covered with an anti-microbial layer for self-regulating hygienic cold vaporisation that prevents microbial growth.

Featuring a blue LED operation display, the ACC55 is energy efficient and has an extremely smooth-running motor for super-silent operation.