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New, extensive European study shows: fine dust deadlier than previously thought - Fine-dust-reducing carpet can ease health problems caused by fine dust in the indoor air

16 December 2013

Last week, authoritative medical journal The Lancet published the conclusions of the largest European study ever performed into the effects of fine dust. Research involving 367,251 Europeans in 13 countries showed that the health effects of fine dust are more severe than previously thought. Long-term exposure to fine dust increases the risk of premature death even at concentrations far below the official limit. Previous research by the WHO in 1,100 cities around the world also showed that for the vast majority of the population, the average annual exposure to fine dust (PM10) vastly exceeds that limit.

For quite some time, Desso has argued that especially indoor air quality leaves much to be desired, and the alarming indoor air quality level was, in fact, Desso's reason to develop the AirMaster. The DAAB, the German allergy and asthma foundation, confirmed as early as 2005 that the use of carpet in indoor areas resulted in a lower concentration of fine dust in the air, an important consideration for asthma patients. Desso raised this function to a new level with the development of the AirMaster carpet. A study performed by the independent German testing institution GUI determined that AirMaster carpet is eight times more effective at capturing and retaining fine dust than hard flooring and four times more effective than standard carpet. As a result, AirMaster contributes to lower concentrations of fine dust in the indoor air and reduces the risk of health problems. AirMaster has now become one of the most popular carpet products in the European commercial market.

Hundreds of offices and schools in Europe fitted with fine-dust-reducing carpet
This carpet answers the need for better indoor air quality in businesses, schools and health care facilities in particular. In the last three years, hundreds of schools and businesses in Europe have decided to fully or partially fit their building with AirMaster. A key reason behind this decision is that the AirMaster carpet captures and retains harmful fine dust in the air more effectively than any other type of floor.

Fine dust a big problem indoors and outdoors
Fine dust smaller than 10 µm can lead to acute health problems such as difficulty breathing, lung infections, adverse effects on the heart and blood vessels, increased use of medicine and even premature death. 

“The quality of the indoor air, not only at home but also in offices, schools and in other public buildings, often leaves much to be desired. The excessive level of fine dust in a room is, in that respect, a problem that causes a lot of damage to people’s health. The EU recognises the danger of fine dust and European Commissioner Janez Potočnik crowned 2013 the ‘Year of air’. In support thereof, Desso started its ‘Great Indoors’ campaign, in which we draw attention to the indoor air quality problem.”

Alexander Collot d'Escury (CEO Desso Group)

On average we spend 90% of the time indoors
Good air quality in buildings is essential considering that people in many countries spend an average of 90% of their time indoors. For example, people working full-time in offices spend an average of 1880 hours per year in the office. Collot d'Escury comments: "In the last few years we have also drawn attention to the dangers of poor indoor air quality in schools. It is not good for children to spend so much time in an environment that is unnecessarily unhealthy." Desso has already fitted a great number of schools in Europe with the AirMaster carpet. This contributes to reducing the fine dust concentration in the classroom and leads to a better learning climate, which is especially important for children and teachers suffering from asthma or other respiratoryconditions.

Indoor climate one of the biggest threats to health
The American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that the indoor climate is one of the five main health threats in our environment. Researchers also determined that the financial benefits of a better indoor climate at work are between 8 and 17 times higher than the cost of making the improvements1)

1) William J. Fisk en Arthur H. Rosenfeld van het Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Californië, Verenigde Staten.

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