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Part 3 – What We Don’t Know
but Should Know

about the Air We Breathe –

C. What Do We Need to Know?


C. What do we need to know?

Need to Know

Research into Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) issues can quickly lead to information overload.

Information overload
With hundreds of products on the market and with all sorts of acronyms, initials, trade specific terms, and trade names with which to become familiar, how does one know which equipment to acquire or whose services to engage?

Do we know for certain what issues need addressing? Do we have to do anything?

If we do something, are we sure that what we are doing will work with the problems we have?
Are we approaching the need the best way?

Are we doing enough to deal with the problems effectively?
Where to go from here?

Is there, as with drinking water, such a thing as too much good air or too pure an air quality?

Cutting through all of the above can take a lot of time, energy, and expense when those commodities may not be in abundant supply.

Fortunately, a brief understanding of the problems and the science behind the solutions can help us reach a satisfactory understanding and set us on an active path of correction and prevention.

D. What are we breathing
What are we breathing?

Ahh . . . the air for breathing!It's more than just air.  If asked, most of us could hardly identify more than oxygen as one of the components of this amazing mixture of gases we were designed to and are allowed to breathe. Each proper ingredient has a role to play in our ongoing survival and health. And each of those ingredients is kept in proper balance by natural processes which follow natural laws so that we do not normally overload on any one ingredient without the benefit of the others in the right proportion to one another.

We don't ask. We don't pay attention. We don't worry about it. We just breathe, and the right mixture of air comes in our lungs when we inhale.  Within seconds or milliseconds, a phenomenal exchange of gases and wastes takes place internally, and we exhale. Bodily processes make use of the gases we took in. Forces of nature fix the garbage we breathed out and supply what we need for the next breath in. It's really pretty amazing.

Atmospheric Components
Diagram of Earth's Atmosphere

The air we breathe, and upon which life on earth depends, is about a 12-mile-thick layer wrapped around our planet called the "Troposphere". It is where all of our weather (the primary natural air purification processes) takes place.  As the chart below suggests, it consists of about 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% of a mixture of argon, helium, carbon dioxide, and other gases. It also harbors a fair amount of water vapor and an unwarranted amount of pollution. As this mixture is inhaled into the lungs, about a fifth of the oxygen is retained while the rest is exhaled along with carbon dioxide and water vapor. Full articleComponents of the Air We Breathe
The breathing apparatus

Smoker's lung vs. Healthy Lung

The inside of the lung resembles a sponge with about 300 million tiny pockets providing over seventy square yards of surface area for the exchange of gases in and out of the blood stream. An adult breathes about 16 times per minute, taking in about one pint of air per breath, adding up to about 2,000 gallons of air per day. This air travels at about 50 miles per hour during normal breathing, but during a sneeze or cough it can reach speeds of 750 miles per hour. The maximum amount of air a person can inhale and exhale in one breath is called the "vital capacity". A good vital capacity is related to a greater life expectancy. Several factors can affect a person's vital capacity: smoking, air pollution, posture, exercise, obesity, and shallow breathing.
Full article

Sources of Indoor Air Pollution Just as the Earth at large has its atmosphere and air supply, each of our buildings, regardless of size or purpose, has its own atmosphere and air supply. Such indoor atmospheres typically represent a composition similar to the outside air. If the outside air is polluted, so will the indoor air most likely be polluted. However, because the volume and circulation of air within a building is limited, even if the outdoor air is good, the opportunities for polluting the quality of the indoor air are greatly compounded.

What is also amazing is how resilient our bodies are designed to be to cope with the consequences when we have managed to mess up that carefully tuned balance of air components. For awhile, unless the exposure is extreme or particularly lethal, most of the time we do not notice the stress we place our bodies under when we expose them to pollutions and poisons. The body just handles it for a time, cumulatively getting a little bit weaker, a little bit less capable, but nothing we might necessarilly recognize as a problem until we suffer a more severe break down.
Avoidable abuse
It is, perhaps, this resiliency that works so well on our behalf to help us survive in less than optimal conditions which allows us to abuse our bodies and the natural systems  upon which they rely. And it's probably our taking it all for granted which causes us so much shock and consternation when the body just can't adapt any more and starts breaking down or quitting the fight altogether.

When the immune system has had enough . . .We have fancy names for those occurrences -- medical names for maladies, conditions, syndromes, illnesses, diseases -- so many of which were caused by things with which we overloaded our bodies. Most of the time, the abuse was unintentional or ignorant. Sometimes, as with smoking habits and other forms of chemical pollution, it was deliberate. In either case, our health is affected and our bodies pay a price.  For our own good, we need to identify what is IN our air supply which does not belong so that we can take steps, if at all possible, to get it out before it does US in.

Below is a list of six general categories, each of which represents a host of ingredients which do not belong in our breath stream and all of which pose great dangers to those who breathe them. Click on the first category, particulates, learn about them, and then follw through each of the others.  Your life and health, and that of your loved ones, could well depend upon what you are about to discover and what you do then about it.

There's More!

What You Need to Know
(A brief Overview of Indoor Air Quality Issues)
IAQ Overview - Table of Contents
IAQ Overview - Part 1 - Is There a Problem?
IAQ Overview - Part 2 - What Don't We Know?
* IAQ Overview - Part 3 - What Do We Need to Know? *
IAQ Overview - Part 4 - Which Technology Works the Best?
IAQ Overview - Part 5 - What are the Major Differences in the Technologies?
IAQ Overview - Part 6 - What IAQ Issues Need to be Considered and Addressed?
IAQ Overview - Full Article

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Check out the videos

Overview Topics

Is There a Problem?

A. Is There a Problem?

An introduction to indoor air quality issues.

What Don't We Know

B. What Don't We Know?

The problem is worse than we


Need to Know

C. What Do We Need to Know?

Sorting out the info and charting a course to follow.


What Are We Breathing?

D. What are We Breathing?

Unwelcome guests we receive every time we breathe.



1. Particulates.

Airborne pieces of a lot of stuff we should not be breathing.


Fields of Potential Allergens

2. Allergens.

The body’s “hit list” of alien invaders.



3. Pathogens. 

The bacteria, viruses, and germs which reproduce in the human body and try to stage a takeover.


One of kazillions of Odor Sources in a home or building

4. Odors.

Things have odors for a reason,
but why?
Can the problem be corrected rather than merely masked or covered up?


VOC's on Demand

5. Chemicals/Smoke/VOC's.
Are we possibly drowning in a toxic soup?



6. Mold.

Is what we see dangerous?
And is what we don't see
perhaps more dangerous than what we do see?  


Which Technology?

E. Which Technology Works the Best?

Are the technologies pretty much equal, or is their a large disparity among them?


Passive Technology

1. Passive Technology.

The pollution finds the solution.
(Or so we hope!)


Active Technology

2. Active Technology.

The solution finds the pollution -
even where it is hiding!



a. Stage One --
Dual Ionization (Particulate Removal)


Quad Oxidizing Plasma Generator
b. Stage Two -- Quad Oxidizing Plasmas


Radical Hydroxyls

c. Stage Three -- Advanced Oxidation


RCI Technology
d. Combo Effect -- The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of its Parts.


Apples and Oranges

3. Major Differences.

Things that are not the same
are not equal.


Out of this world

a. Literally out of this world.

The technology which produces
"the purest air on the planet"
actually comes from
out of this world.


Overall air purity

b. Overall Air Purity.

By what standard do you certify the actual purity of air?


Lab tech

c. Too Clean to Test for Purity?

"Without dirt in the air,
we cannot tell you
how pure the air is."
Does that strike anybody as odd?


Where's the dirt?
d. Where's the Dirt?

(Where is Clara Peller
when you need her?)


What to do?

e. What to do? 

Anybody can see that it’s clean except the career bureaucrats.


Where are the germs?

f. Where are the Germs?

Hint: One place they are not is
"Blowin' in the Wind".


Who gets to clean the conventional filter?

g. Filtration rates vs. Kill rates.

In the war against pathogens,
would you like your germs
captured and contained
or killed "graveyard dead"?


Odor abatement/removal

h. Odor Abatement/Removal.

The same thing that RCITM
does to particulates and germs it does also to smoke, dust, and sources of odors.


What must be considered?

F. What IAQ issues must be considered and addressed?

Head to head comparison of the technologies - very revealing.


Medical considerations

G. Are there medical considerations?

Obligatory disclaimers and the practical realities of what happens when a sick body can actually catch its breath.


Legal considerations

H. Are there legal and other considerations?

What happens if we just ignore the problem or fail to investigate it fully?


When is timing an issue?

I. When is Timing an Issue?

If the mold or other air quality problem doesn't seem to be spreading or getting any worse, so we really have to pay it any attention?