Skip to content

The Importance of a Portable Air Quality Monitor

January 14, 2022

A portable air quality monitor might not be something you are thinking of buying. But you certainly should be. You take on average between 17,000 and 23,000 breaths a day. Air quality is fundamental to your well-being. But do you know how good the quality of the air you are breathing is? Are you aware of the air pollution indoors and outdoors that you cannot see? Chances are no.

At the same time there is a big leap in monitoring activities related to health: sleep; steps/activity ; calories. However, despite the evidence that air quality (indoors and outdoors) has a huge impact on your health there are few using air quality monitors.

You may think air quality is not an issue where you live. That air pollution is something outside in big cities not where you live. But there are numerous studies that identify this is in all parts of the world indoors and outdoors. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has undertaken a massive study that identified indoor air pollution as the 8th most important risk factor in the world. Air quality, WHO asserts, is responsible for 2.7% of all diseases around the world.

Up until now, there have been major challenges to measuring and monitoring air quality. There are air quality monitors now available (see here) but most are very expensive, and are not portable air quality monitors. Not much use when people move around. What matters about air quality is where you are, not where the monitor is! There is now just recently available a convenient alternative called the i-BLADES Smartcase.

The Truth about Air Quality

The issue is widespread

Air quality levels are a widespread and growing issue. Air pollution and air quality are assessed in a new model from the World Health Organization, which confirms that 92% of the worldā€™s population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits. Also, data from the American Lung Association indicates that 50% of Americans are exposed to unhealthy levels of pollutants in their day-to-day lives.

Air quality is contributing to a rise in Asthma

Over the last 20 or 30 years, the WHO has recorded evidence of a significant increase of ā€œwheezingā€ illness in children and adolescents. Asthma rates have also been climbing noticeably. Today, 24 million Americans have Asthma according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. It is one of the most common chronic disorders affecting children and the third leading cause of child hospitalization. Pollutants are known to exacerbate airway allergies and are likely a contributing factor behind these upward trends.

Indoor air quality is an issue often overlooked

Until quite recently, there has been a lack of understanding of the implications and variability of air quality. While many people have begun taking stands against outdoor air quality issuesā€”including air pollution, greenhouse gases, and associated climate change issuesā€”indoor air quality continues to be an overlooked problem.

Humans spend up to 90% of their time indoors, and the Science Advisory Board (SAB) has consistently ranked indoor pollution among the top five environmental risks to public health. Indoor air quality can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air quality. The United States Department of Labor states that ā€œpoor indoor air quality (IAQ) has been tied to symptoms like headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungsā€. Air-conditioned rooms are no safe haven either as air is circulated rather than exchanged, resulting in a gradual decrease in quality.

There is evidence to show that polluted indoor environments may play an important role in childhood asthma[1]. Recently, an increasing body of research has associated chemical emissions from common indoor materials with the risk of asthma, allergies and respiratory infections[2].

The Challenges with Measuring Air Quality

The issue of measuring air quality indoors has been at least partially exacerbated by the fact that air quality monitors have typically been very expensive pieces of equipment and not portable.

The good news is that the technology necessary to monitor indoor air quality in real time is becoming more sophisticated and commonplace. Products and brands like Nest, Birdi, CubeSensor, and Alima are making air quality monitoring the stuff of snazzy tech gadgets. Just like tech enthusiasts have fallen in love with smartphones, fitness trackers, and Bluetooth speakers, many are now discovering and relying on these highly functional gadgets to make their homes safer. Many of the air quality monitors on the market even connect with iOS and Android apps, making it easy for users to get air quality alerts and find out what the problem is.

The problem is that these air quality sensors still arenā€™t seeing widespread adoption. Sure, they are gaining popularity, especially among the tech community. However, even with reasonable prices (most sensors land somewhere in the $100 to $300 price range), air quality monitoring devices are not yet seen as ā€œessential.ā€.

The i-BLADES Smartcase with EnviroSensor

The i-BLADES Smartcase is a phone case that protects your phone and allows you to do much more with snap on attachments. It has an EnviroSensorTM cleverly integrated into the case, which means it also acts a portable air quality monitor - without you having to buy a separate device. The EnviroSensorTM extends the human sensory organs to measure what your senses do not notice around you: air quality.

By putting an air quality sensor in a phone case, it ensures you will be able to monitor air quality wherever you are. No need for a dedicated portable air quality monitor, it's just part of your phone case. The i-BLADES Smartcase offers an alternative choice to dedicated, non-portable, and more expensive air quality monitors.

How it Monitors Air Quality

The Bosch BME 680 chemical gas sensor is the power behind the i-BLADES EnviroSensorTM. A fast and accurate 4-in-1 sensor measuring volatile organic compounds, temperature, humidity, and air pressure. The readings are displayed on your smartphone through an intuitive and user-friendly application that comes with your Smartcase. The application features a color-coded indicator dial, which shows clear changes in air quality on an index of 0-500. The sensor also measures real-time temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure.

The EnviroSensor offers ultimate convenience as a portable air quality monitor built right into your everyday device that is always with you.

The Key Benefits of Having An Air Quality Monitor

The i-BLADES EnviroSensorTM allows you to determine air quality changes quickly and accurately so you can take action and live a healthier lifestyle. Here are a few of the major benefits:

Health: The health consequences of poor air quality are well documented. For instance, exposure to VOCs can exacerbate allergy and asthma symptoms.

Building/room safety: Renovation work can release VOCs into the environment. Therefore, it is important to understand when rooms are safe after renovation work. Also, around 20% of households have at least one room affected by mold on inner surface walls. You can find mold commonly in renovated buildings with inhomogeneous insulation. Mold can cause numerous health issues, including irritation of the respiratory tract, sore throat, headache, and skin or eye irritation.

Performance: Several scientific studies are linking poor air quality with reduced cognitive performance. Stagnant air should be detected preventatively and corrected before negative consequences occur.

Sleep and comfort: Sleep is important to recharge our bodies. Poor air quality in an indoor sleeping area can disrupt sleep in several different ways, as environmental factors largely drive body comfort. For example, the optimized well-being range for humidity is 40-65% rH.

The i-BLADES Smartcase

Monitoring air quality around you is vital to your health. By using the i-BLADES Smartcase you can protect your phone and have a portable air quality monitor. With the EnviroSensorTM, you will gain a better understanding of the quality of your indoor and outdoor environment. Using this knowledge, you can then take steps to improve the air quality of your home and ensure better health, well-being, and quality of life for the days, weeks, months, and years to come.

So why not browse the catalogue and order one today www.i-blades.comĀ or sign up for updates below.

The i-BLADES Smartcase - the ultimate portable air quality monitor.

[1] Heinrich J; Int. J. Hyg Environ. Health: Jan. 214 (1) 2011; Sharma HP et al;Ā Paediatric Clin. North Am: Feb. 54(1): 2007

[2] Mendel MJ, Indoor Air.Ā  17(4):259-77: Aug 2007