December 12, 2018

Airthinx picks up toxic levels of particulates near California Wildfires

Julie Spitkovsky, LinkedIn

On Nov. 9th the deadly California wildfires broke out. In Northern California, the Camp Fire lasted through the 25th, claiming 153,336 acres, 85 people, 18,733 structures, and 13,972 homes. Near LA, the Woolsey Fire lasting 3 days less, spanned 96,949 acres, causing 3 deaths, and destroyed 1,500 structures.

Right now, there is no surplus of invisible particulates in the air, but rather a black fog so thick it ranks the most dirtiest city in the world, exceeding China and India. Particulate Matter can originate from combustion, as is in the case of the California Wildfires. Wood smoke, for example, contains some of the same toxic chemicals that city pollution does. Forest fires burn woody materials from forests and homes, consume homes’ contents, which may contain plastics, petroleum products, chemicals and metals producing thick plumes of smoke containing high levels of particles and gases toxic to humans. This kind of smoke exposure outdoors leads to increased emergency room visits.

Officials from Los Angeles to North California continue to urge residents to stay indoors and wear masks if they have to go outside. Many people who had somewhere to go, left their homes. The Raiders have now cancelled outdoor practice twice, citing unhealthy air quality.

But is the air quality indoors much safer?

Invisible particulates, PM 2.5 microns in size are such a dangerous air particle because its size allows its to be breathed in, where it enters the bloodstream, affecting all types of vital organs. The smaller the particle, the worse it is and the more likely it is to increase infection rates and cause respiratory illnesses. To give an idea of just how invisible these air particles can be, compare a human hair 50-70 microns in diameter, with particulate matter 10, 2.5 and 1.0 microns in diameter.

Airthinx Interface showing toxic levels of PM 2.5

According to the real-time data from an Airthinx inside a home in northern California, levels of particulates rose well beyond “safe” levels [ the EPA recommends PM 2.5 levels stay below 15 ųg/m3 per hour] to dangerous levels more than 10 times the limit, 121 ųg/m3. Breathing air contaminated with particulates, for 30 minutes a day for 14 days is enough to start noticing health problems. And what’s even more interesting, is that cooking indoors can cause PM to spike to 300 ųg/m3, almost 20 times the EPA safe limits.

For the first time, anyone can have access to air pollution data anytime, anywhere from the web, iPad or phone, so they are best equipped to make real-time decisions about their health. Airthinx is revolutionizing the Indoor Air industry with a low-cost professional air quality device, providing continuous, accurate & precise air quality monitoring at room level of 9 pollutants (PM 1.0, PM 2.5 and PM 10, Carbon Dioxide, Formaldehyde, Volatile Organic Compounds, Temperature, Pressure & Humidity). It’s simple to install, works directly out of the box, and has built-in 3G and wifi, so it is always connected to the cloud and collecting data.

For more information visit airthinx.io.