Indoor air quality in New Zealand

Dyson has conducted a nationwide survey to discover New Zealanders’ opinions, beliefs and habits in relation to air quality in the home. This survey comes soon after a Government report into air quality in New Zealand.

Results reveal over half of Kiwis surveyed (53%) are concerned about indoor air quality, however, there are many misconceptions about the causes and how to tackle it.

  • Cooking (66%), outdoor air pollution which can come inside the home (53%), mould (45%), pets (42%), cleaning products (35%), smoke from fires (33%) and pollen (31%) are correctly identified as contributing to indoor air pollution in the home.
  • Mould / mould spores (68%), toluene (e.g. petrol, exhaust emissions and paints) (61%), dust (60%) and tobacco smoke (58%) were identified by Kiwis surveyed as having the highest negative impact on their health. NB: this is their personal view of the impact these things have on their health – these impacts are not supported by a doctor’s medical opinion
  • Half of Kiwis surveyed (50%) believe that household rubbish smells are a cause of indoor air pollution and the majority of them do not recognise furniture (94%) and paints (81%) as possible culprits.
  • The most popular method used to improve indoor air quality is to open a window (92%), and a quarter of Kiwis surveyed turn to air fresheners (25%) and scented candles (26%), which are sources of indoor air pollution.

Allergy sufferers are more aware

  • Almost half of Kiwis (47%) experience allergy symptoms with many (47%) believing these are made worse by poor quality air in the home and and 36% think that during the summer, pollen count affects them inside their home.
  • In addition, those who suffer from airborne allergies are more likely to have a greater sensitivity to all pollutants in the home including mould, outdoor air pollution and pollen from cut flowers (45% vs 34% of the total).
  • Those who experience symptoms due to airborne allergies are more likely to believe outdoor air pollution which has come inside the home (58% vs 53% of the total), and flowers/pollen from flowers (45% vs 34% of the total) contribute to their indoor air pollution.

The effect of air quality on sleep

  • Many Kiwis (55%) don’t believe that air quality has any effect on their sleep with only a third (35%) resorting to ensure the air in their bedroom is clean to help get a good night’s sleep.
  • 55% of Kiwis surveyed are not concerned about the cleanliness and quality of air that they’re breathing when thinking about when they’re sleeping, while 43% are, or are somewhat, concerned.
  • Sleeping in a dark room (59%), investing in quality sheets and bedding (43%), and investing in quality pillows (42%), are the top options used by Kiwis to improve their quality of sleep. Only 35% clean the air in their bedroom to help improve their sleep.

Indoor air pollution

Most of the air we consume is indoors, but it can contain microscopic particles which are invisible to the human eye. Outdoor pollution sources like urban pollution and pollen can enter the home and combine with indoor pollution sources like cleaning products, pet dander, scented candles, and cooking fumes. Because modern homes are becoming better sealed to comply with energy efficiency requirements, pollutants can be trapped inside and circulation of airflow can become compromised.

Pollution sources at home

  • Outdoor air pollution: Sources such as tree pollen, particulate matter and city pollution can enter the home and may remain trapped there.
  • Wood burning fireplaces and stoves: Wood-burning fireplaces and stoves emit particulate matter during combustion.
  • Pollen: Plants and flowers can release microscopic pollen into the air.
  • Pet hair and disintegrated faeces: Cats, dogs and other household pets can spread this microscopic material around the home.
  • Scented candles: Some chemical substances found in scented candles can release benzene and formaldehyde into the air as they burn.
  • Furniture foam: Foam that can be found in furniture can release formaldehyde gas.
  • Indoor paints: Some indoor paints can use volatile organic compounds, which can be released as gaseous chemicals when they dry and potentially throughout their life.
  • Air fresheners: Some household air fresheners can contain volatile organic compounds and benzene, which can be released with the fragrance when sprayed.
  • Gas hobs and cooking fumes: Gas hobs and the food cooking process itself can emit fumes, odours and particles into the air.
  • Cleaning products: Household cleaning products can contain benzene and household fumes and odours.
  • Carpets, rugs and flooring: Some carpets, rugs, flooring and their backing materials can emit formaldehyde when new

Dyson’s expertise in airflow, filtration and electronics is tackling the issue of indoor air pollution with the launch of its new Dyson Pure Cool™ purifying fan. The new Dyson Pure Cool™ purifying fans – in a large tower format for floor placement, and a small desk format for worktops and floors – automatically purify the room, capturing gases and 99.95% of ultrafine particles as small as 0.1 microns (tested for filtration efficiency (EN1822) at 0.1 microns).

The information in this article was provided Dyson. Find out more about the new Dyson Pure Cool™ purifying fan here.

Leave A Comment