Harmful Effects of Pollutants 

Breathe easier. The chemicals we breathe are invisible to our eyes. And our nose.

Typical indoor air contains dozens of chemicals at concentrations in the parts-per-billion (ppb) or parts-per-million (ppm) range—well below their odor thresholds. But just because we can’t smell these chemicals doesn’t mean they don’t harm us. The World Health Organization’s 30-minute exposure limit for the carcinogen formaldehyde is 80 ppb—twelve times lower than the concentration at which we can detect it with our noses: 1,000 ppb.

Our own noses exhale the most common indoor air pollutant—carbon dioxide—but can’t detect it. Nor can we detect dangerous concentrations of benzene or toluene—both of which are present in the air in 90 percent of North American residences, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA studies further show that the concentrations of at least a dozen common organic pollutants are 2 to 5 times higher inside our homes than outside.

We need to know what’s in our air. So we can do something about it.

 

Manage Indoor Air the Smart Way

As our homes get smarter, the sense of digital scent provided by Molecular Property Spectrometer™ (MPS™) will improve our health and make us safer. The MPS™ can analyze indoor air quality in real time to provide accurate, actionable data.

Such data can be used to immediately notify occupants of hazardous situations (such as a natural gas leak), or be integrated into automated, demand-controlled ventilation systems to effectively and efficiently manage air quality—saving lives and energy. The MPS™ can even serve as a “pre-smoke” detector by warning of a fire at a very early—even pre-fire—stage, based on the presence of vapors produced by overheated materials before combustion even begins.

 

Air Quality Sensors

Most real-time, indoor air quality (IAQ) sensors available today measure and report a generic, composite value, known as the “total Volatile Organic Compounds” (“TVOC”) concentration, present in the air. While useful, such sensors typically suffer from unwanted environmental cross-sensitivity, which can lead to false readings due to fluctuating humidity levels, as one example. More critically, such technologies cannot make a distinction between toxic and non-toxic compounds. The MPS™ has the power to enable just this type of assessment, in a low-cost, low-power, and reliable platform.

So we can all breathe easier.