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PM2.5 levels increased by 38% in Delhi homes in Nov 2020, says Dyson study

Dyson study
Dyson study (Dyson)

The data recorded by these backpacks showed that the average personal exposure to PM2.5 indoors was over four times worse during Phase 2 in November 2020, as compared to Phase 1 in October 2020.

Air pollution is a cause of constant concern for people living in Delhi NCR (National Capital Region). This issue exacerbates in the winter months, particularly around October-November. This was true for 2020 as well and as per a new study, the exposure to PM2.5 increased by 38% in Delhi homes during the above mentioned time period.

Dyson recently conducted a study in the Delhi NCR region wherein a select group of volunteers wore the Dyson Air Quality Backpack that uses the same air-purification technology that the company uses in its air purifiers but in a portable format, to collect air pollution data on the move. One of the volunteers, Karuna wore the backpack on October 3, 2020, which comprised the phase one of the study and on November 8, 2020, which comprised the second phase of the study. She repeated the same activities and routine on the two days for comparison.

“Our engineers have developed intelligent sensors using knowledge derived from years of experience and research in air cleaning technology. Using our unique algorithm to process detailed reports of air pollution exposure, this innovative technology allows us to monitor air quality indoors, outdoors and on the move. What’s more, it all fits within a backpack,” Alex Knox, Vice President of Environmental Care at Dyson said.

Later, Dyson’s team of engineers compared the data collected by these back and results were simply shocking.

The data recorded by these backpacks showed that the average personal exposure to PM2.5 indoors was over four times worse during Phase 2 in November 2020, as compared to Phase 1 in October 2020.

Delhi pollution data
Delhi pollution data (Dyson)

The analysis of the data also showed that compared to phase 1, there was a significant increase in PM2.5 levels with average levels rising by 459%. These levels remained high both indoors and outdoors, irrespective of the activity taking place in Delhi NCR.

The study also showed that actions like frying food in the kitchen caused a 5 times increase in PM2.5 levels while visiting an outdoor market caused NO2 levels to rise to 2,500ppb, which registered as very poor on the Dyson AQI scale.

In addition to that, the study showed that in Phase 2, that is in November, outdoor PM2.5 exposure averaged at 220ug/m³ which is extremely poor on the Dyson AQI scale while monitoring stations across Delhi registered an average of 330ug/m³ which corresponds to severe on the same scale.

However, during Phase 1, that is in October when Karuna (one of the volunteers) went to visit Lodhi Garden, her personal exposure to pollution reduced to the good range of 25ug/m³, indicating that choices and behaviour can have a positive impact on reducing overall exposure when there is not a city-wide pollution event.

Within the home, Karuna’s usage of aerosol products like deodorant and perfume caused exposure to VOCs. Opting for non-aerosolised alternatives or ensuring good ventilation when the outside air is clean are ways to help reduce exposure to these pollutants.

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