According to this logic, anyone who works in the subway should be dying, what, 10 years earlier? Which is obviously not happening.
Similarly, it seems impossible to believe that the minerals in the air from humidifiers are equivalently dangerous to factory pollution or cigarette smoke. Different categories of particles are going to affect the body differently, no? I mean, our body requires minerals -- we're drinking them in our water all day long -- while certain factories may be belching out straight-up poison.
These statistics are just not passing the smell test. They seem to be extrapolations of extrapolations of extrapolations. This article's conclusions don't seem even remotely convincing.
It is NOT certain that these particles are as bad as ones from dust or combustion. All in all, when small droplets evaporate, what remains is water-soluble salts, rather than anything more reactive or harder to remove, see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3922954/ as mentioned in https://learn.kaiterra.com/en/air-academy/humidifiers-cause-...:
"In a study on mice, researchers discovered that inhaling the dust from ultrasonic purifiers produces a cellular response, but this response lacks the inflammation and damage associated with other forms of particulate matter."
Myself, I got shocked when my air purifier suddenly started showing a huge amount of pollution (and yes, my eyes turned red). Only afterwards, I checked it was exactly because of my freshly-bought ultrasonic air purifier. Now I have an evaporative one - not as fast, not as spectacular, but better.
But both types have easy solutions to their respective problems:
- Use distilled water in the ultrasonic.
- Regularly clean/replace wick in your evaporative (or use a water stabilization agent).
Even the article at the top says they measured "0" particles when distilled water was used.
Until reading this thread I thought using distilled water in them was common knowledge. I believe that is what the manual with mine even said.
Watch this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHeehYYgl28
Works wonders, is cheap, and easy to clean. Evaporation happens for free if you let it.
Do the hospitality staff at Niagara Falls get sick more often than other people in hospitality?
This seems like a “PM2.5 bad no matter the source” theory which isn’t supported at all.
It's limescale, you don't want it in you lungs. Kidney stones also have some relation to it, probably not exactly caused by hard water, but they get their building material from somewhere.
If you are worrying about the method by which you extinguish a candle, worrying is what's going to shorten your life, not the candle.
I haven't researched that, but it always seemed entirely obvious to me that candles aren't exactly healthy in terms of air quality.
Candle emissions have a low but known impact on your health. Plug in air fresheners don't have a known impact but they have god knows what chemicals in them. Maybe you'll get cancer at 60, maybe it would take three lifetimes of exposure to have any effect.
It just seems like the road in front of my house is probably more of a problem than my vanilla candle.
I'm not sure what effect on my health a one time event like this has, but if I can avoid it I will.
I can't do anything about the pollution outside.
There's a large body of emerging science that points to inhaled particulates reducing health and lifespan.
As for actual subway workers… I mean it’s not exactly a coal mine, but I would be pretty surprised if their mortality wasn’t at least somewhat measurably lower than, say, that of shepherds.
1. We have more ozone holes now.
2. We weren't constantly in direct contact with sunlight. If you move past very early stages, we had shelter in forests, caves, tents, igloos.
3. When we were in direct contact with sunlight, we had a darker skin, which is more resilient to that.
Correct me if I'm wrong.
The global ban on CFCs (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_Protocol) is working, and although there are still big holes that open and close every year we're on the way to getting back to pre-1980 levels of holes by 2060. https://public.wmo.int/en/media/news/record-breaking-2020-oz...
...A recently reported slowdown in the decline of the atmospheric concentration of CFC-11 after 2012, however, suggests that global emissions have increased...
We show that emissions from eastern mainland China are 7.0 ± 3.0 (±1 standard deviation) gigagrams per year higher in 2014–2017 than in 2008–2012, and that the increase in emissions arises primarily around the northeastern provinces of Shandong and Hebei. This increase accounts for a substantial fraction (at least 40 to 60 per cent) of the global rise in CFC-11 emissions.
Still, the Montreal Protocol is a good example of what can be achieved when we finally reach an imminent crisis.
If we pushed back the reproductive age we'd eventually evolve to live longer (though would have more people dying without reproducing first). This experiment has been successfully shown in fruit flies.
Not necessarily. I'd imagine it helps the survival chances of your grandchildren if you're around when they're growing up (though it probably mattered less back when children were raised by communities than in the nuclear families we have nowadays).
Keeping toddlers from walking off a cliff (and the other things unsupervised toddlers will do to kill themselves) is probably why he said 14-40 and not 14-30.
I just don't think that's true. I think grand parents being around was important for human survival.
If it wasn't, if all that mattered was having the most kids, then why would women go through menopause? Wouldn't it be better if women continued having children until they die?
I think it makes sense that young people have kids (the sooner the better, faster evolution and less chance of DNA degradation)
Then they should live as long as possible to help raise their grandkids to ensure their genes survive.
Given that the risk of birth defects goes up significantly the older a woman is, menopause is probably evolutionarily advantageous.
Though I do want to point out that clothing doesn't protect against UV as much as you might think, and a sunburn or lack thereof doesn't tell you all that much about your UV exposure for the day. You could have exceeded your healthy exposure for the day without getting a sunburn.
As the parent said, plenty of nuance to go around.
This is why tanning studios have been banned in Australia.
I figure I was getting much more sun exposure as a kid running around in t-shirt and shorts then the local shepherds did.
One of the biggest problems I found was indoor CO2 levels. High CO2 levels (much less than dangerous CO2 levels) make you groggy, sleepy, and can induce headaches. I now get notifications to open my windows when CO2 levels pass a certain threshold.
I like that the air quality monitor enables you to figure out how much the window has to be opened and also when.
That's far more useful than the blanket advice of opening windows daily.
Just two more nuances:
1) The article is measuring loss in "DALYs" = disability-adjusted life years. 10 DALYs lost may not mean dying 10 years earlier, but could also mean suffering from Alzheimer's for 16 years (Alzheimer's has a weight of 0.66 ), or any combination thereof (e.g. 10 years of Alzheimer's + dying 3.3 years earlier).
2) The cited number is for the "worst offender" on the NYC metro. The pollution levels on the London underground are less than a 10th of that.
(however the statistics on BMI vs mortality as still completely valid)
I never said that. I said the opposite.
From my ad-hoc survey of subway driver friends, this seems about true... Most die in their late 60's in a country where most people make it to 70/80.
Obviously the fact their job involves sitting in a chair all day doesn't help things...
For $50 per carriage, dust collecting sponges, fans or filters could be fitted, but train companies don't care. By doing anything about the dust they might be opening themselves up to lawsuits claiming they didn't do enough about a risk they knew about... There are also political issues - often the train company bought the trains 50 years ago and will pay extortionate prices to the original manufacturer for any modifications, and if they make modifications themselves the manufacturer will drop all support.
Many modern trains are starting to have electric braking, and that produces far less dust.
1) Dust from brakes, as noted by other comments.
2) Tunnels, and stations in underground spaces, therefor hard to ventilate.
> I assume it's not as bad in say Hong Kong?
No idea, but air quality in the London underground is very bad indeed. I mean you can sometimes see a visible brown haze looking down the length of the platform.
Outdoor air quality in Hong Kong was pretty rough a few years on either side of 2014, but it has either gotten better lately or I've stopped noticing the bad days.
> ...I mean, our body requires minerals -- we're drinking them in our water all day long
Regardless of the minerals in question here, route-of-delivery is a big deal in toxicology, so the line of thinking here is a bit flawed.
These numbers are derived from estimations, for sure. But they are sophisticated estimations and serve to rank other health risks in life. In rich countries we usually obsesses about things like pesticides in food or „small particulate matter“ to an extent that it is absurd. Air quality is a real threat in many countries but not anymore in the US or most of Europe for sure.
As the article shows obesity is the killer number 1 in the US. A healthy diet is something which is totally under our control. And for sure smoke generated at a BBQ for example is not very healthy and can be avoided by using a gas grill.
These are things usually ignored and thus underestimated in our health obsession.
Couldn’t be more wrong.
As the author casually admits, we know nothing without experiments. End of story.
What makes your statement so wrong is that it takes decades for the consequences to show up, if they are measurable at all, in non experimental studies. That is exactly the same reason that cigarettes were considered safe for so long. Health consequences take decades to show up and without experiments all we get are loose correlations. Air quality in many places in America is getting worse, the size of the population in these areas is massive. To declare to potential health consequences 60 years in the future without any solid experimental evidence is the same as the doctors of the 50’s telling patients to smoke up, there’s no evidence cigarettes are bad. Exactly the same.
So, you're telling me the air quality is getting worse despite this trend not being observed, yet? There is a logical fallacy somewhere. Furthermore, the link between lung cancer and cigarette smoking was well observed already in the 50s but the tobacco industry naturally downplayed the risks.
BTW: It is an established fact that air quality in the cities of 19th century was way worse -- mainly due to the fact that people cooked and heated their places with open fires and coal. For some insight on the UK: https://theconversation.com/air-pollution-in-victorian-era-b...
Edit: To illustrate the point, assume that getting regular physical is more important now than 100 years ago, due to on average more sedentary contemporary lifestyles. Assume heavy air pollution decreases outdoor activity, which seems plausible if not certain. How long would it take for a body of scientific literature to develop to document the problem? Given measurement problems and the difficulty of doing simulation heavy research, we might never be able to prove such a linkage exists, even if it did.
I don't think you're being honest here, it obviously isn't try to make the point that each commute = 1 year, that's why it's in the "lifestyle" category and not in the "single event" one
They aren't saying one commute takes a year off the life. They're saying that people who's job is riding the public commute infrastructure spend roughly 20 times as much time breathing the air in the commuter infrastructure as people who commute to/from work, so if the effect is linear... that's roughly a 10 year reduction in lifespan.
Or, are you trying to say that some underlying common factor between commuting and home/office air quality is present, and so the commute is just a proxy for that common factor? If that's the case, if that common factor is identifiable, it should be named. If that common factor isn't identifiable, how are we confident in attributing it to air quality?
Or, are you claiming that the air quality in the commute infrastructure is the culprit, but the effect is dramatically sublinear?
As compared to an "average" US city taking off a quarter-year. I think the commuting thing is a red herring, and they just mean living/working in the NYC metro area, which as a densely populated area likely has slightly worse air than an average US location.
>According to this logic, anyone who works in the subway should be dying, what, 10 years earlier?
I don't think that's what they mean. I think it's a lifetime NYC commuter on average should live half a year less than someone out in the country.
Are you sure this isn't happening? I could easily imagine people working in dusty places for example dying earlier due to health related issues that could be traced back to the lifestyle.
> but ultrasonic humidifiers produce huge numbers of particles. They turn any minerals in the water become airborne particles. got the following steady-state increases over background levels.
> Mineral water: ~265
> Tap water (Seoul): ~260
> Purified water: ~50
> Distilled water: ~0
So what you mean is that if I follow the instructions on the manual and use distilled (or at least purified water) for mineral and biological reasons, the issue is smaller to non-existent?
Distilled water is made by steam condensation, and nearly ultra-pure but still contains dissolved gases.
DI water should be made from some distilled water to be the highest possible purity, but it's usually made from RO or simply filtered tap water.
There are some things DI can do that steam distillation can't, and vice-versa. The two processes are entirely different and NOT interchangeable.
> My home system takes 45 ppm water and reduces it to <2 ppm
My tap water is around 227 and filter is just recently installed, there's still some air in the system. I don't think it will go that low ever, but it's good enough for me. I plan to remineralize it a bit for drinking anyway, so it's all a bit moot.
On the contrary, that sounds extremely credible.
If you divide life expectancy stats just by gender and race, you already see more than 10 years difference.
Why is this obvious?
We know this?
Further down, correlation plots are shown but no analysis of potential confounders that could affect life expectancy as well, like access to medical care, education, wealth.
I do believe that breathing that fine dust isn't very healthy long term, but that article outright lies about using it = taking 50 minutes out of every 1440 minutes of everybody's lives.
We would see this effect in dusty (ie Saharan) regions already, there are hundreds of millions of people living in those conditions. What is dust if not small particles of stones and organic compounds flying around.
This is plain false.
You have to put things into perspective, why should you care less about living now then in 40 years in the future? Chances are your quality of life will only get worse etc.
The quality of your end of life gets (on average) much worse if you smoke.
Not only do you die 5 minutes earlier, but you also spend more additional time with disease impacting your quality of life, such as COPD.
IMO, all cigarettes should have cyanide added to them to reduce the costs to society by speeding-up the slow suicide and excess harm to others.
Diesel vehicles are extremely hazardous causing great harm to millions but go under regulated because of money. ICEs should die.
Alcoholic drinks don't directly harm anyone else in their consumption and the QALY/micromorts involved are small.
Do you have any other rude, unscientific arguments?
Also, the suggestion to make products more deadly so that they are used less seems like bad policy. Reduction of harms usually does not mean killing the patient.
One thing one has to bear in mind is that often when you optmize your home for low PM (e.g. with air purifiers and fixing of air leackage) your CO2 will get very high causing headaches and reduce cognitive performance.
So it always makes sense for indoor air quality monitoring to measure PM and CO2 in parallel.
We have open source, open hardware build instructions for a very reliable Air quality sensor that can be used to measure PM2.5 and also CO2 . It is very accurate for the fraction of the costs of commercial sensors. You can build it for less than USD 20 (or with CO2 for less than USD 50) and send the data to our cloud server or any other backend.
I am more than happy to send you some free PCBs (you just paypal me the cost of the postage) and you can build your own sensor and log the data. Contact me if you are interested.
I have windows open all the time, air conditioning on too often, and dehumidifiers and HEPA filters as well. It is not efficient or particularly environmentally friendly... but I want a CO2 level < 800 ppm and a PM2.5 level under 10... so here we are.
My next half baked idea is figuring out a way to have a sealed home and an appliance (or messy bench-top device) to remove CO2 from the room continuously and exhale outside -- current ideas revolve around using a carbonate (lithium? sodium?) in water in an electrolysis cell and an aquarium bubbler to collect CO2 and expel it outside. The best I've been able to accomplish so far is baking CO2 out of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and sealing it in about a cubic foot container and achieving ~300 ppm CO2 (lower than outside which is ~400-450).
There are these things called "plants"...
Algae is commonly the go-to for CO2 scrubbing for it's relative efficiencies. Algae might scrub 1-3 grams of CO2 per liter per day (https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1485133).
Humans exhale approximately 1kg CO2 per day.
I consider 300-1000 L of algae scrubber tanks per person a lot of volume.
But it's probably better if you invested into a counterflow heat exchanger for ventilating your home. You can recover a large part of the heating/cooling energy.
Also I would prefer levels lower than outside, obviously air exchangers will necessarily be worse than just being outside.
With small device I could drop CO2 levels to zero in volume of a gargabe bag in few minutes.
But that would give you oxygen rich atmosphere. You'd probably want to add some inert gas to that. Nitrogen preferably. Are there nitrogen concentrators?
Also all of that is probably really dangerous because human body doesn't detect oxygen level, just CO2 level. So you might easily pass out and suffocate without any warning if your oxygen supply unit get damaged but your nitrogen supply unit doesn't.
My literature searches haven't had much success thus far, lacking a chemistry degree hasn't helped. I have found some things but not enough to come to any sort of engineering designs. I'm assuming it's one of those things that's almost too simple for anyone to have bothered writing a paper about unless they had the exact sort of ideas I did. (OR they're using terms that I haven't been able to come up with yet)
Current levels outside as measured by my device just now are about 450ppm.
Like so many things I think it is a small effect; it's not like I can go anywhere for a week to experience 300ppm air.
I haven't gone to the levels of designing experiments and data tracking on myself. The fact that I've lived with allergies and a broken nose most of my life probably hasn't helped my personal respiration characteristics.
More heat than is common for home appliances I know! A commonly referenced stat is 825 C. There's really a gradient: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_carbonate#Calcinatio...
You would need to consider the occupant oxygen consumption. A typical human respiratory quotient is 0.8 (0.8 mole of CO2 produced for every 1 mole of O2 consumed). You’ll get a net inward movement of gas into house all things being considered.
Anyway, don’t do if. If you do it ‘right’ the argon will slowly build up and you’ll asphyxiate. Thankfully achieving that level of seal is very difficult.
If you are really worried about PM2.5, just wear a PAPR.
PM2.5 is easy to maintain with HEPA filters.
CO2 is not easy to maintain without forced ventilation, and really I would like to try inside levels lower than outside levels. (say 300 ppm)
There’s something like 50x as much oxygen in the atmosphere as co2 so a relative change of 1% nominal value will correct itself fifty times faster for oxygen than for co2 between outside and inside (ok a wild simplification, but still)
The result is that without really intense sealing it’s basically impossible to make a difference in indoor oxygen levels whereas with even a cracked window i can maintain co2 levels two to three times outdoor concentrations in my apartment.
Running a co2 fixer with the place shut up would be more like... running the air conditioner full blast with the place shut up. Yes there would be losses but they would be relatively contained.
From one randomly googled article on the myth of house plants cleaning the air:
"To remove toxins, you would need at least 10 plants per square foot."
But CO2... to simplify imagine being a vegetarian, how much plant matter would you eat in a day? How much plant matter grew in one day in your houseplants? The only way plants are going to fix carbon is by adding it to their own mass. Just think about a conservation of carbon atoms. There's no way any plants in your apartment are going to make a dent in the carbon cycle of your personal environment.
There are arguments to be made for lots of things sticking to or getting sucked into the leaves of plants... maybe if there were a whole lot of plants a meaningful amount of VOCs or other pollutants could be removed... maybe.
And then air purifier can keep PM2.5 levels below 10 on the lowest setting while outside is above 30
And one window cracked like that is enough to drop CO2 levels below 800 while there's one person in the apartment.
It's been, what, 30? 50? million years since atmospheric CO2 levels matched current outdoor levels, much less what happens inside.
the concentrations and types of particulate matter, however, is unprecedented, and as such, presents a higher inate risk, something that scientific research is really only starting to grapple with but so far is showing to be likely a serious risk to many (most?) species on earth.
with that said, i'm not trying to discourage your project in any way, just saying that for most people, addressing particulate (plus voc) risk is likely going to be the overwhelming majority of the benefits to be found in relation to indoor air quality. reducing co2 could be worthwhile if you have an especially airtight room/house, but nearly no houses are that airtight (passiv houses are meant to be so, however).
You can read more on it on the See the Air Blog:
If the air quality is decent outside, it is easy to maintain a PM2.5 rating of near <10 like this.
In California fire season I have a box fan on high in the window pushing air in (and sealing the areas around the window) through an MPR 2800 furnace filter (which is better than the 99.97% rated hepa filters, would be marked as a ULPA filter I believe in different contexts) with this I can maintain the ~0 PM2.5 rating inside even when the AQI outside is >300 while keeping CO2 in check.
It's been quite surprising how easily the CO2 spikes with closed windows and doors in the bedroom with just one person... I essentially always have a window in each room open several inches, cracked isn't enough, usually with at least one fan pushing air through a window.
Positive pressure systems can virtually achieve zero AQI inside even on the worst polluted days.
You can read more here:
i put my air purifiers on low when the windows are open to deal with the particles i throw up by moving around and doing stuff indoors. with the windows closed (usually only at night), i put the air purifiers on medium/high.
Very much depends on where you live. I have a few DIY air quality stations with data being piped to Grafana. I just looked at the latest data, the average outside PM level for the past 5 months has been around 100 µg/m³, while inside it's around 10 µg/m³.
This spring happens to be pretty windy and this skews the outside levels down, otherwise the ratio would be much worse.
edit: i mentioned the road to note that outdoor pollution is higher during the day, yet opening the windows despite that lowers overall particulate levels indoors. it may be different in indian cities or cities like beijing with much higher pollution levels.
I am interested in replicating your hardware stack but implementing the software stack using the esphome framework which supports all of the components used in your DIY solution.
I can't guess why they would be, and searching around a bit doesn't seem to suggest that's the case either.
To send me a message please go to https://www.airgradient.com/diy/ and send me a message with the orange chat button. Thanks!
Not affiliated in any way.
(replying to you to not pollute parent level replies)
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Clearly we have enough evidence to say that smoking a pack a day or living in a smog-filled city will cut years off your life. But we would need truly gigantic samples to show that blowing birthday candles or broiling fish once a week will cut weeks off your life.
Instead these conclusions are being derived on linear extrapolations from large air particulate doses. Yet many things in biology follow the principal of hormesis, where a small dose or a toxin may be harmless or even helpful.
Similar models have been used for years and are still the gold standard when predicting the health effects of radiation exposure. Yet mountains of evidence show that radiation workers, who are regularly exposed to small dosages of otherwise harmful regulation do not have anywhere near the cancer rates we’d expect from the linear extrapolation models.
Extrapolation is when you're extending to outside of the measured data range. In this case, the measurements were all of large values, and it's extrapolating (linearly) to small values. Just because the values being extrapolated to are smaller, rather than larger, doesn't make it interpolation.
Which is precisely why this has the risk of false conclusions, like you say.
Tire dust is also concerning.
It also would be cheaper to have carbon-captured concrete bicycle and walking paths rather than asphalt highways or roads.
Single-occupancy vehicles need to go away.
And as a side effect, I haven't needed to replace the brake pads for about 150,000 kms on the Prius. Actually the mechanic told me that they look brand new. I haven't experienced any problems from the rust yet. The front rotor on the Corolla (2020) seems to be a much better, newer design, and doesn't rust nearly as much as the Prius (2014).
endnote. For anyone considering the new Corolla Hybrid ... I rate it very highly as perhaps the best car ever designed.
I drive mainly around the city and had to replace brake pads recently as they became rusty (salt during winter). The pads had been on for 80,000km and were less than half worn. On regular ICE cars (which have bigger brake pads) you'd usually have to replace them well before that point as they'd be worn down. I'd imagine they last even longer on newer hybrid and EVs.
That must reduce appliance of mechanical brakes at least by half.
You can turn regen braking off, but why would you unless maybe the EV model feels like shit when switching between regenerative and mechanical brakes.
But tire abrasion is arguably worse for EVs due to the higher initial torque. Does anybody know if there is any difference between EVs and ICEs?
EVs will still make this picture look the same and are thus inherently an inefficient form of transport:
Remember there are 3 brakes in your car, handbrake, foot brake and engine braking.
Engine braking (jake braking) by trucks is illegal by statue in many cities and towns because it's very loud. Also, engine braking is riskier in terms of costs (stresses to drivetrain, torque converter, transmission, engine) than brake pads, so people aren't going to do it. Furthermore, they rarely have the skills or transmission to be able to do it conveniently. In addition, if it were more efficient or safer, it would likely be a feature, but I've never seen it in a standard transmission passenger vehicle.
I assume you mean the engine break in a manual tranmission car (AKA stick shift in the US). But that relies on your clutch, which is still a friction based mechanism. Admittedly if you're breaking you're probably going to change gear either way, but the amount of friction depends on the difference in revs between the two parts coming into contact, which is presumably going to be larger if you're using it to engine break. So it seems to me that you're reducing wear on your brake pad but just switching that to increase wear on your clutch - with similar effects on air quality.
Engine braking happens because engines have very high internal resistance - with motorcycles for example, there's no parking brake, you just leave it in 1st gear and it will not roll. So when you're not on the throttle, the inertia of the wheels/drivetrain will keep the car moving and the engine RPMs from dropping to idle instantly, but over time the engine will drain that inertial energy and slow down the car.
Also, engine braking is pretty weak on modern manual cars AFAIK. At least in my Honda Civic it basically doesn't engine brake, compared to my motorcycle. The effect is there but very minor.
Rusting is for me more associated with the weather and lack of use of the whole car than with how much do you use breaks when you use the car.
I could run my errands without braking at all (except when stopping at a parking lot). Anticipate lights and traffic flow, downshift to slow down.. that's how I used to drive. At home I could even park without braking to slow down, thanks to a small incline at my parking spot.
My previous car, which had automatic transmission, didn't have really show any issues with rust because I actually had to brake when driving around town. Same weather, same locale.