Handheld NANO Particle Monitor
Recent scientific research has shown that ultra-fine (nano)particles are an important factor in the health effects of air pollution. They are an invisible threat in the air in our living and working environments. These insights in the health-threatening impact of these particles give sufficient reasons for concern and action. Information on ultra-fine particle levels provides evidence of clean and healthy air and could be a starting point for further improving air quality. Air Monitors announce the launch of the Aerasense Nano Monitor a handheld unit able to give real time information on nano particles in the air.
However, a very large fraction of particles in urban air (>90%) has minute particles of around 100 nanometers (nm) and smaller. These we call ultra-fine particles or nano-particles. The picture above clearly demonstrates the difference is dimensions of fine and ultra-fine particles. Ultra-fine particles range below the currently monitored levels. In other words, there is an important actually invisible factor in the air around people.
Airborne particles originate from many natural and man-made sources (e.g. sand dust, fires, diesel smoke, sea salt). The scheme below shows a number of particle types from well-known sources. Ultra-fine particles are normally only generated at very high temperatures, such as combustion processes. One can think of wood fires, industry, engines, cooking fumes, or cigarette smoke. Toner (carbon black) from copiers, laser printers and welding-fumes or nano-materials are important sources as well.
The most important source of ultra-fine particles in urban air however is car traffic. Especially diesel exhaust consists of large amounts of ultra-fine particles. Such particles are generally formed by a basically insoluble core of carbon of 10-20 nm, often covered with chemicals like sulphates, metals and hydrocarbons. These extremely small particles tend to conglomerate in the air into particles of around 100 nm.
INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE MONITORING
Industries with exposure risk like welding and transportation industries are showing interest in ultra-fine particles. Table 1 shows average UFP exposure levels measured in a wide variety of work places.
Process or location UFP concentration level
(particles/cm3) Main particle size
(nm) outdoor, office up to 10.000 silicon melt up to 100.000 280-520 metal grinding up to 130.000 17-170 soldering up to 400.000 36-64 plasma cutting up to 500.000 120-180 bakery up to 640.000 32-109 airport field up to 700.000 welding 100.000 – 40.000.000 40-600Table 1: Average UFP exposure levels measured in a wide variety of work places as measured by the German workers health protection institute BGIA
A first and very important step towards legislation and effective control of airborne ultra-fine particles concentrations at work places is a large scale assessment of exposure risk. The innovative Aerasense technology is ideal for this exposure assessment.
INDOOR AIR QUALITY MONITORING
People are not only becoming more worried about polluted air in industrial environments. They are also concerned about increasing outdoor air pollution as a result of urbanization and growth of mobility.
Knowing that most people spend 80-90% of time indoor and to a large degree at work, it is very important to consider indoor air quality (IAQ). Given the health effect of airborne particles, it comes as no surprise that indoor ultra-fine particle levels have an effect on comfort, wellbeing and productivity of people in offices, manufacturing sites and public buildings like hospitals, schools, etc. This is especially true for people suffering from asthma, a group representing about 10% of the population in the western world.
In many buildings air-treatment systems have been installed to clean the outdoor air before it is distributed into the building. However, many filter types lack ultra-fine particle filtration capability. With today’s technology it is troublesome to assess the ultra-fine particle level in buildings and continuous monitoring is virtually impossible. Therefore it is difficult to gauge to which degree people are exposed to hazardous ultra-fine particles in buildings.
Indoor Air Quality Control
Air quality is influenced by the concentration of Temperature, Relative Humidity, CO2, VOCs as well as coarse, fine and ultra-fine particles. It is has been shown in scientific research that there is a direct link between indoor air parameters like T, RH, CO2, VOC’s and the comfort, wellbeing and productivity of people. Given the rising evidence of the effect of airborne particles, it is very likely that also this IAQ parameter will have similar effects.
As an example, in schools it is important to protect children against particles in view of the negative effect of air pollution on the development of the children’s lungs. For this reason building of schools near busy roads is under discussion. In hospitals, elderly care homes it is important to protect sensitive people such as those with asthma, COPD and heart problems. But also in commercial or office buildings, dire air quality outside and therefore potentially inside the building, have a negative influence on comfort, wellbeing and productivity of the office staff.
In practice buildings like schools, hospitals and offices are often located close to busy roads with the risk of high indoor particle levels. Furthermore indoor sources as smoking rooms, leaking printers and copiers or kitchens can add considerable amounts of airborne particles. A guaranteed low level of indoor pollution will improve wellbeing of the building residents and therefore contribute to the responsible image of the building owner or manager. For commercial buildings a low indoor pollution level will even directly increase the value of the property.
The problem is however that it is not easy to guarantee low indoor particle pollution as ultra-fine particles are microscopically small. One cannot just depend on filters having sufficient filtration efficiency and being properly installed and serviced. The unique Aerasense technology now enables making ultra-fine particle levels visible. This solution offers real-time information for observation of ultra-fine particle concentration levels providing instant evidence of pollution levels and information for better filter management. In addition it provides quantitative justification for investments in filtration equipment and even data for the control of smart air treatment systems.
Air Monitors Ltd. as the exclusive distribution channel for the technology provides advice on the application of this exciting new technology so if you wish to know more about the Nano Monitor or any other particulate monitoring products please contact us by clicking the link below.