Thank you for your kind post circ.
Yes, that was exactly what I was going for in that post: practicality.
Mostly, I see myself more as a theoretical person-- more of stay in the lab with the mice type because I am really not sure how to handle the larger primate species, though I thought for this post about better air I would stay with being practical and hopefully helpful.
I suspect that there are many out there (including me) that are somewhat unsure about the ins and outs of higher respiratory function. I really was not that clear about lung health -- basically breath in and then breath out, I wasn't that sure what else there was to say about it. I remember someone once explaining how they were experiencing sick building syndrome at work and I was very unsure how to respond. How can a building be sick? It was only recently when the breath in and then breath out plan was no longer as successful that I began to appreciate how respiratory well-being is not a given. So I have been doing my best to try and understand how to achieve better lung health from a practical, intuitive level.
My game plan as of now is to start with cleaning up the house. We have really let the vacuuming, dusting and cleaning slide for quite some time. Almost right from the start of making a determined effort to clean out the house's dust, I noticed an improvement in my breathing health and the overall indoor air quality. There is probably not much point in buying a bunch of expensive air quality monitors if there is no commitment to basic cleaning.
The recent purchase of the robotic vacuum cleaner has turbocharged our house cleaning efforts. I have been running this robot hours each day and it keeps finding more and more dirt and dust. Where does all of this dirt originate? It is really easy to be determined to have a cleaner house when you don't have to put in any effort-- turn on the robovac and let it do its job. I would strongly recommend that others who might be slacking back on their house cleaning duties consider purchasing one of these marvels. They have been in development for about 20 years now and while they are not perfect (they might have a robot equivalent IQ of ~75) for ~$100 they are certainly worth the price. It is somewhat frustrating that they have a habit of getting stuck in corners sometimes for what seems to be an eternity. These robots have some trouble navigating more complex rooms with many chairs and obstacles, though a straight rectangular room should not create much trouble for them. Good thing about them is that the brushes are about the only ongoing expense; they often do not have bags to purchase which sometimes can add up.
The first air quality monitor that I bought was a simple, fairly inexpensive unit of no reported brand name (in English at least) that measures CO2, TVOC (volatile organic) and HCHO (formaldehyde). I wanted a starter unit that would give me some idea of the air quality that I was exposed to. I can plug it into a USB port on my computer and have it on all the time. I realize now that having such a monitor is almost essential. A basic air quality monitor helps to direct your attention to basic features of the air that you are breathing. The main take away that I have from this first monitor was how the CO2 level tends to increase through the day. 1000 ppm CO2 can start to make you feel tired; it is good to be aware of this and perhaps corrective action can be taken. Another idea I am thinking about is adding some house plants for better air quality. Perhaps such plants could provide some much needed oxygen.
Air quality is very important to human health. I have recently read up on the lead contamination that occurred during the 1960-1990s and I was truly shocked. Basically, they just dumped thousands of tons of lead into the urban air supply and waited to see what would happen. How difficult could it possibly be to figure out what would happen? Lead is a known neurotoxin. It has been known to cause neurodegenerative illnesses for thousands of years. The epidemic of crime that occurred during the 1970s to the 1990s was likely highly related to the airborne release of this toxin. Now that lead has been removed from car gas, there has been a dramatic reduction in crime and other social pathology on a global scale. It is important to be aware of the quality of air that you are breathing and to make reasonable efforts to improve your air quality.
It is now also exciting that nations are committing to electric vehicles. Norway currently has ~75% of car sales as electric with a target of 100% by 2025. This is amazing! The major source of the poor air quality in urban environments (i.e., typically car exhaust) might soon be eliminated! We could then all breath a sigh of relief. It might not then be that necessary to purchase air filters etc. as the ambient air itself would be much cleaner.
And this improvement in air quality should offer benefits to health and well being. I remember how every time I have left the urban environment to get away from it all-- I have felt immediately better. The first intake of fresh country air always makes me feel so much better, Almost every time I would plead with my parents to stay and live in a tent instead of returning to our city home with the bad air. Unfortunately, we always left the clean air behind.
I have noticed though that my box fan with merv filter approach seems to be producing a similar happiness effect as breathing country air. I have the fan running most of the time and direct the air towards me. Lately I have been feeling so great that I feel like I want to launch in the air and do one of those ballet twinkly toes maneuvers. The box fan merv filter combo is a pretty simple and cheap idea and it does seem to produce results. The air that makes it through the filter and then into my lungs is probably quite clean. It is only a merv 8 so the air is not super clean room clean, though it is likely quite high quality air. I have looked online and some of the fairly high end mervs going up to ~13 merv can still be reasonably priced in a 10 pack for ~$70.
This is where the next air quality monitor could be quite informative; this one will measure 0.3, 2.5, and 10 micrometer particles. Apparently the internal hardware for many of even the higher end air quality monitors use the same gear as some of the less expensive units. I bought one of these less expensive units and am anxiously awaiting its arrival. It has USB connectivity and can record air measurements on my computer. The basic idea here is that once the air passes through a high quality filter very little of the particulate matter will remain. My guess is this is what causes the feel good country air effect. Clean air makes people feel great!
My hunch is that I will be able to create my own clean air with some fairly inexpensive filters and that super clean air will make me feel super great.
This is a little bit of pointy elbows time that I wanted to keep under my hat until I had fully stocked up my shelf, though I will post the scoop now nonetheless -- I was able to find some very inexpensive true hepa filter paper. Yeah! Ridiculously cheap prices. None of this all boxed up in a nice frame and everything just the hepa paper at a shockingly low price. So here's the game plan: stock up on this filter paper and then put this in behind my box fan. With true hepa paper the air quality should be truly stunning -- basically hepa quality filters guarantee near 0 ppm for 2.5 particulate. This should be a simple yet highly reproducible measure for an accurate air quality monitor. As I noted in my above post some posters online were reporting online with the monitor and high quality filters that they were reaching essentially 0.0 ppm (for 2.5 micrometer particulate) that would be amazing! The air quality monitor that is on the way should be able to verify that the emitted air after flowing through the hepa filter should be extremely clean. I can hardly wait to see how this works out. Air quality that good could have immediate feel good effects. Great! Hopefully others can try this out as well and confirm the effectiveness of this approach after I have seen initial success.
I did consider putting a high end filter on my furnace (such as a hepa) though online reports suggest this might not be a good idea as it might wreck the furnace fan. Simply putting the filter on a box fan and directly the air directly to me will be a much easier and cheaper way of achieving super clean air.
I have also bought an air trainer to help restore my respiratory health and have tried the castor oil on the chest approach. The castor oil did not do much for me, though if others have been able to derive success from this idea please post your experience. There might also be nutritional approaches to try. Finally, i remember reading how it could be possible to permanently "pop" the carotid artery by spending time in moderately deep water. This apparently can improve cognitive functioning, I would be interested to know whether anyone has tried this. This thread might be able to develop some of these ideas and perhaps help to improve the well-being of those on forum.
Here's the world 2.5 micrometer pollution map
Hmm, I'm seeing a Merv 13 16' x 25' 6 pack for $40. Me want. Me want now! Who knew that online shopping could be so much fun and also so convenient and life enhancing? As seen in the chart below, Merv 13 starts to have some serious air quality cleaning properties. Possibly I could have 2 box fans in series for extra clean air. (also I could use my hepa paper for extreme clean).
Here's the merv chart: