19 February 2015

Air-Pure............The Essential Necessity

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And, here is the news as it appeared in the Times of India edition of 8 Feb 2015.

Quote:


Soaring pollution pushes up sales of air purifiers
Shobita Dhar, TNN | Feb 8, 2015, 02.26AM IST

Deteriorating air quality in India became a talking point during US president Barack Obama's recent visit to the Capital. The statistics are certainly grim. For example, Bangalore's air on any given day is as toxic as the smoke from six cigarettes a day while inhaling Delhi air is equivalent to puffing 20 in a day, according to a study by the United Nations Environment Program.

Little wonder that sales of air purifiers have shot up. An air purifier is a small portable machine that removes bacteria, virus and particulate matter that can be inhaled. For the same amount of power a ceiling fan uses, it strips the air of major pollutants including dust, pollen, mould, dander and tobacco smoke using various filtration techniques.

There's no official scientific study to confirm that air purifiers can provide relief from breathing disorders. But that hasn't affected sales. Shashank Sinha, senior general manager of marketing at Eureka Forbes, says its sales have been growing 60% to 70% year on year over the past two-three years.

Whether scientifically proven or not, consumers are looking for clean air options. Jayati Singh business head, air purifiers, at Philips says that enquiries shot up by 20% over the past six months. Philips launched its range, priced between Rs 15,000 and Rs 49,000, last year. "At present 50% of our buyers are expats but Indians too are exploring this technology," says Singh. Delhi and Bangalore dominate the sales of Philips air purifiers.

Sharp air purifiers are priced between Rs 15,000 and Rs 30,000. "We sell 1,100 to 1,200 units a month," says Shuvendu Mazumder, national product manager at Sharp. "We are selling the most in Delhi NCR, followed by Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Bangalore and Mumbai. Forty per cent of our sales are to individual customers and of them 70% usually have a sick person at home."

These devices also come in a high-end variant. Vijay Kannan, head of Blueair India, a Swedish brand, says that their product costs between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh. Recently, the US embassy in Delhi purchased 1,800 Blueair purifiers for its staff. Now hotels, too, are offering allergy-free rooms that come equipped with heavy duty air filters. The ITC Maurya in Delhi, for instance, introduced 80 'allergy-free' rooms in 2013.

As Mazumder points out, individual sales are mostly driven by an illness in the family. Vikas Singhal, a Delhi-based executive, purchased an air purifier for Rs 30,000 last October for his asthmatic mother and reported relief in her symptoms. For Barun Aggarwal, a director at the Paharpur Business Centre in Delhi, the reason for buying this machine was his five-year-old son's wheezing and congestion. "Now these symptoms are down. My wife who was prone to winter coughs has also not had an attack since we purchased a purifier two years ago," says Aggarwal.

In the early 1990s, most Indians living in urban areas switched from tap water to purified water. And today the water purifier market in India is worth Rs 3,500 crore, according to Technopak Advisors, a market consultancy firm. Could the air purifier become the next RO? It could depend on how effective these gadgets actually prove to be.

While some individual user accounts may be positive, Dr Ashish Jain, senior consultant pulmonologist with Max hospitals in Delhi, says he doesn't recommend air purifiers because there's no study yet conclusively establishing a link between air purifiers and improved respiration. However, he adds: "Considering that the outdoor air is highly polluted - and that affects the indoors as well - one can 'assume' that an air purifier could offer a patient with respiratory issues some relief," says Jain.

The problem, say technology experts, is that the filters inside an air purifier cannot trap all the allergens that can cause asthma. A more worrying issue, though, is the use of the ionization filtration technique in certain air purifier brands. This process emits ozone which, in fact, harms the lungs in the long run. When it comes to breathing clean air we are clearly running short of options.

Unquote.
The original article can be read here.
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Benefits
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  • Removes all particulates including airborne bacteria such as Acinetobacter, Bacilli, Flavobacterium and Streptomyces; mould spores, human and pet hair; yeast cells; pollen; tobacco smoke, oil smoke and smoke from synthetic materials; coal dust, grain dust, dust mites, atmospheric dust, tea dust, talcum dust, insecticides; burning wood; paint pigments, smoldering or flaming cooking oil, and liquid droplets.
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