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

about the Air We Breathe –

D. What Are We Breathing?
3. Pathogens

1. Particulates
Fields of Potential Allergens
2. Allergens
3. Pathogens
VOC's, smoke, chemicals
5. Chemicals/
6. Mold

3. Pathogens.

Pathogens up close and way too personal

As has been pointed out, one of the greatest potential risks posed by particulates goes beyond the offensive materials themselves. It has to do with the company they keep, or, literally, the microscopic “guests” they bring with them whenever they are inhaled — the pathogens.

Pathogens, as a class, are the alien bacteria, viruses, and germs which, upon entering the host body, reproduce and try to stage a takeover.

Pathogens can be deadly or dangerous like the Spanish flu, avian ("bird") flu, SARS, Legionnaires' Disease, e coli, e bola, Listeria, Norwalk virus, and the like (with a whole host of others yet to be identified), or just nuisance things like the common cold or the stuff that happens during a sneeze.

Microscopic bacteria

Microscopic bacteria

Clean hands helpIt was millennia before civilization relearned what the ancients knew about the effects of washing in running water to help reduce infection. However, even when proper hygiene is practiced, we still get sick from germs which make their ways into our bodies. How is that possible? If we are not ingesting them through our mouths or they are not insinuating themselves into our systems by bodily contact, how is it we are still getting sick?

We have again lately come to the understanding known from Biblical times that germs are spread as well through the air and enter our bodies by way of the air we breathe. The mechanism of how this happens is not what most people think.

Strangely (and fortunately) enough, pathogens do not typically have wings or the ability to travel through the air on their own. Without their own means of air travel, they must opportunistically hitch a ride on something else which either has "wings" or at least enough substance to it that it can swirl, mostly unseen, through the air and become part of the air we breathe. Hence, the pathogen/particulate connection.

For a germ or virus to navigate from one place to another over distances is usually dependent upon the presence of some type of particulate matter, including, but certainly not limited to, the 80 thousand skin cells each human typically sloughs off in an hour. As these micro particles are wafted about on the air, they become the "air force" upon which the invading pathogens are carried and by which they make their way into the lungs of a building's occupants. Common sense would tell us that the fewer particles available in the breathable air, the less likely for infections to spread within an indoor environment.  

[NOTE: Could this put us on track to control the spread of infections such as TB, SARS, Hepatitis "A". the Avian flu, and other potential pandemics?  Keep reading!]
SARS Guard
Be sure to check out below the American-based technology that beat SARS!

But even if particulates were reduced or eliminated (which would leave pathogens without a way to fly into our lungs), surface laden pathogens would continue to pose a menace to health if left to grow where they rest.

A pathogen's paradise
Along with targeting particulates, an effective IAQ configuration must have a way of reducing or virtually eliminating pathogens. At the very least, it should keep them from reproducing.

Remembering that our bodies - through our immune systems - have been designed to handle pathogenic invaders, we recognize that most pathogens in small numbers do not pose a major risk. It is the ability of any of the pathogens to survive and reproduce which most often creates the problem which overwhelms us and makes us sick.

Outdoors, pathogens are kept in check, again by design, by the presence of UV light from the sun and other naturally occurring oxidizers circulating in the fresh air. But in the sealed boxes in which we live, pathogens are free to reproduce and, in the presence of antibiotics, to mutate.

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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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?