Quality Air For Life: Improving the Air We Breathe
- Poor indoor air quality can negatively impact our health and well-being. Members of the Panasonic team discuss how technology is helping to combat airborne pollutants and create healthier environments. - Hi, I'm Kevin Smith. I'm the general manager of the Life and Device Solutions business at Panasonic Canada.
Also, responsible for our air conditioning business in the United States. I guess you're asking why is Panasonic doing a Tech Talk on indoor air quality. While we've got a long history and multiple components of indoor air quality solutions, ventilation, air conditioning, and air purification are all products that we've made for up to 50 years. There's an alignment with our core values around the indoor air quality in terms of making a contribution to society and recognizing that we have one Earth and we have to protect it.
We are creating the process of creating a new business pillar around quality air for life, and that extends beyond marketing or talk to action and investment. We're actually taking two of our major businesses and combining them into one business pillar throughout 2021 and 2022 to create an indoor air quality business, and that positions Panasonic uniquely in the market. We're the only people out there that can speak to air purification, air conditioning, and ventilation, and the holistic solution to great quality air for life. For me personally, this is a message of passion. My division is centered around the home, making them healthier, more comfortable and safer. We view the home as our nest, the place where we should be able to hold our families close and knowing that we're nurturing them and that we're protecting them.
Air is far and away the necessity of life that we consume the most of, but yet it's the thing we worry the least about when we're in our homes. While we all think about air pollution in the context of outdoor air in our cities, I think most of us would be surprised with the air inside our homes. Our nests is two to 10 times more polluted than the outdoor air. These are some of the reasons why Panasonic is focused on the conversation about quality air for life.
Our first panelist today is Dr. John Molot. Dr. Molot is a medical doctor whose focused his clinical practice on environmental medicine and has a recognized expertise in indoor air quality and health effects. Doctor, one of the things that caught my attention during a presentation you made to us about a month ago was just how polluted we humans are.
Can you share some insights on that with us? - People are being tracked for the last 20 years for the amount of pollutants in their bodies, by Americans, Canadians, European studies, and the average human body probably contains up to 200 man-made synthetic chemicals, and we even find these chemicals in the cord blood of newborn babies. So these chemicals include heavy metals like cadmium, mercury, lead, arsenic. There are plastics, fire retardants, stain repellents, byproducts from fossil fuel burning, and there's even chemicals that have been banned for the last 25 years, like PCBs, polychlorinated biphenyls. We find them in human bodies as well because they're hard to break down. - Are a lot of these pollutants airborne? - A lot of them are, some of them are in the air, been in the water, have been in the food chain, and so we eat them, but our biggest exposure to pollutants on the daily basis is airborne.
- Interesting. What are the primary factors affecting indoor air quality? - Well, from a clinical perspective, the most important source of pollutants is human behavior. We put chemicals in our body. We use chemicals to clean our house.
We use them in our shampoos and our soaps, et cetera. So that's probably the, the biggest source that gets into the air, the scented products that we use, then there's the ventilation of your home, or your office building. Canada has, for example, in the last couple of years, a building code that recommends air exchange, but if your home was built before 2017, then you don't have proper air exchange which means you don't have good ventilation. So this is a problem. It depends where your house is or where your work is If you're close to a major roadway, you're more likely to get polluted, and then it also requires some filtration of the air. If you have a good filter on your furnace, do you change it regularly, et cetera? - What are the health risks that we're seeing from so-called normal indoor air quality? - Well, we do know that that people with allergies and asthma are more likely to have problems indoors than outdoors, but most of the studies of exposure to pollution are looking at long-term exposures, and these long-term exposures put us at greater risk for chronic disease, and so when you think about it, 90% of our time is spent indoors.
So actually, the majority of the exposures that we have to the outdoor pollutants that everybody's worried about is actually indoors, and these things put us at risk. World Health Organization has placed air pollution as one of the top five reasons why we develop chronic disease from a environmental point of view, and these include cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, and neurodegenerative disorders. We know that if you improve the indoor air quality above the present guidelines and standards that we have, you can get improvements in learning and productivity.
We can reduce allergies and reduce asthma. So we know that the guidelines that we have are not efficient enough or sufficient enough, they aren't based on on health. They're based on comfort, but we don't as yet know what those new guidelines and standards should be.
The best way to improve it to start with is to improve the ventilation, take that dirty air inside and throw it out, then you gotta bring in fresh air, You notice I didn't say healthy air, I said fresh air, whatever fresh it is, it can be polluted outside. So that should be filtered as well. The next thing that we should do is we should stop contaminating the indoor air or at least reduce what we can from our own behaviors. We should use unscented products. We should try and use more, more natural products, such as vinegar or baking soda to try and clean things, and then we should also filter the air, filter the air that's being recycled and filter the air coming into the house - My wife will be very pleased to hear your comments about the vinegar, we have bottles of vinegar and water spray all over the house.
So that's yeah, that's great. Dr. Molot, thanks for joining us today for the conversation on quality air for life. It's been a real pleasure talking with you and hearing your insights around indoor air quality and health, thank you. - Thank you, too, thank you for giving me the opportunity.
- Thanks. Joining us now is Sonny Pirrotta. Sonny is the group sales manager for Indoor Air Quality products at Panasonic Canada. He's a long-term veteran of the indoor air quality space. Sonny is a passionate advocate for indoor air quality, both professionally and personally. So Sonny, welcome, and let's start out.
Can you outline the key components of a solid indoor air quality strategy - Sure, Kevin, thanks for the introduction. Strategies to improve indoor air quality. I look at it in three different ways. So what I wanna here is basically tie it, tie the strategies into our solution set in terms of our department and around indoor air quality. So, one is temperature control.
Two is humidity control, and three is air quality improvement. So let's start with temperature control. When I mean temperature control. I'm really talking about comfort and comfort meaning we all have different levels of comfort. We want the room and we want our bedroom and our living space to be a certain temperature, but the way I tie it back to our air source heat pumps solution is that a simple as this, is that we have an inverter driven technology that really allows you to have precise comfort. So when we talk about feeling comfortable in a room, it's different than talking about, you know, feeling, I guess, safe and having great indoor qualities.
When we get into number two, when we talk humidity control, we're looking at, you know, this is key and this is talked about a lot, now that we're in this COVID 19. So humidity control is really bacteria, viruses, mold, fungi, I mean, you name it, they wanna thrive in the relative humidity basically less than 40% and above 60%. So when we have a relative humidity in our home between 40 and 60, we're in a safe space, and the way I tie that back to our, our solution set is with our ventilation equipment, specifically our ERV, where we're able to control the air exchanges and, you know, comply to ASHRAE standards, to the building code, and really make that temperature humidity a non-issue when we talk about that range from 40 to 60%.
Number three is air quality improvement. At Panasonic, you know, when I talk about air quality improvement, I talk about always being refreshed, and when we look at that, we have a NanoeX technology that we use and that we're introducing into the North American market that will allow us to kinda, you know, the one, two, three, it allows to close off that loop in terms of strategies to improve indoor air quality. - So Sonny, you know, obviously, one of the innovations we're really excited about talking about and bringing to North America is NanoeX. Can you tell us about it and give us a lay person's guide to the science? - I think over the last, I don't know, eight or nine months, I've maybe explained the technology in about 15 different ways, but the simplest way that I look at it is this is that when I go back to, you know, filtration and where's tons of products and technologies on the market where we're filtering, most of us, not all of us, will have a forced air system in our home to heat and cool, and we have a filter that we're supposed to change every three months or at least spring and fall, but when we talk about NanoeX, we're really talking about, it's almost like an invisible technology that's attacking, if we're looking at airborne-adherent pollutants such as bacteria, virus, mold, pollens, allergens, kind of a side, a good after-effect is the, you know, skin, moisturization of skin and helps your hair, which to some people that might matter, but when we look at-- - Big issue for both of us. - Yeah, not for both of us, but when look at NanoeX technology, what we do as we apply high voltage to a Peltier device and by Peltier device, I mean a titanium rod, that's essentially, it's hot on the bottom, cool on the top, and literally with just somebody breathing in the room. So like with 10% humidity in the room, it allows this device to generate the OH radicals at the top of it, where you have the condensation and the dew that starts to form, and then what we do in this little, tiny, magical device is we apply high voltage to it, and that allows us with a fan to get all these OH radicals at 4.8 trillion per second,
and I know it's almost unbelievable, but at 4.8 trillion per second, these particles are now flowing into the air, and essentially, this is what they do is let's just take a bacteria or a virus for an example, which are rich in hydrogen. We're looking at denaturing or slicing up that hydrogen, taking it away, and what we're left with in the air is basically an H2O molecule, which is water. So when we talk about a death by, I don't know, 4.8 trillion cuts, that's what we're looking at when we're attacking these pollutants in the air. So, but like I said, it doesn't require much.
It's a 24-hour, 365-day a year, you know, basically you have a technology that's gonna always be on and always keeping you safe from these pollutants. You know, this is a safe device that can go into the, you know, that we can use for air quality improvement that won't, you know, affect children, pets, and anybody that has any kinda medical conditions. - Great, thanks, Tony. Our last panelist that we're gonna talk to today in a couple of minutes is Dr. Jennifer Pearlman. You were intimately involved in putting together the beta test project that your team executed at Dr. Pearlman's, can you tell us a little bit
about the bones of that project? - Yeah, I mean, super exciting. I think once we found out, so nanotechnology, I'll just go back, NanoeX technology was invented in 1997, actually in Japan, has been in homes and buildings since 2003 in various amount of different devices, and now today in over 900 devices across the world, when we found out that there was a Nanoe generator fan that we could bring to the North American market, I was super excited. We were able to get some, to get some samples, and we went to Dr. Pearlman,
and, you know, in terms of the practice that she has, and we thought it might be a great fit to put these fans in, in her exam rooms where she has direct face-to-face contact. Sometimes, you know, the mask has to come off because she's working on patient's faces, and it's really been, what we did is we installed the fans, and then what we did is we did some testing to see kinda pre and post-testing to really show the improvement, but I think the true tale of the tape is, you know, if we hear from Dr. Pearlman and how her staff and her patients are affected by this, by our NanoeX technology. - Great, thanks, Sonny.
It's been a real pleasure talking to you today and really easy to see your passion about this, the system and this product. Dr. Jennifer Pearlman is a medical doctor with a focus practice in the area women's health and wellness. She spent a decade in practice of the Menopause Clinic at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. Perhaps most relevantly to our times, Dr. Pearlman was a frontline health worker
during the SARS epidemic. So perhaps that's a good place to start. Good afternoon, Dr. Pearlman
- Good afternoon. Thank you for the introduction and the opportunity to be here with you today. - So we recently, I guess back in the spring, installed multiple NanoeX generators at your practice to optimize air quality and to help manage virus issues. This was a first for North America and thank you for your confidence in us with that.
Have you and your team noticed a difference in the air quality since the installation? - Interestingly, as I mentioned we have patients who come often to our clinic over many years, and I work as, as you mentioned, I work Midtown Toronto, in an area where, you know, it's old plumbing and sometimes just in an older building, there's an odor, there's odors in the building, as we all know that can happen. Even with our best efforts to maintain that, as I said through, I already had very high-quality air filtration and ventilation systems installed when we opened here over 10 years ago, and of course, diligent cleaning, and sterilization, all of which we've increased through the months of the pandemic, but it was amazing after our devices were activated to have patients come in and say, wow, the air is fresh, or they actually noticed there is just something palpably different, different about the air quality, just in terms of the pureness, the lack of any kind of odor, and also because of the way the technology works, just this, like softness to the air in that the humidity is better. Again, old buildings tend to be a little drier, especially in our Canadian winter when we have the heat on. So that added, I guess you could call it, a sterilizing humidity has been noted, but I think what you really thought I was gonna say is have I noticed the benefits around sterility? So of course, we, I envisioned introducing this the highest level of air quality control only as an added measure, not in lieu of all the other steps I went through, right? The screening, the triage, the sterilization, the management of our volume in our workflow to ensure distancing, et cetera. So with everything in place, fortunately, we have been absolutely militant in ensuring that we have not had an encounter of COVID.
So I can't tell you whether it's because of the NanoeX, but certainly, my confidence is greatly enhanced by having it sitting above the heads of, you know, all the patients that I am encountering because of the work I do in close contact where the mask must be removed. So I feel safer, my staff feel safer, and my patients are being made aware of the technology sitting on top of them in the ceilings and are very grateful for that added step. - Excellent, that's a perfect opportunity for me to ask you do you have a moment to show us a little bit of the clinic and show us how you've installed the NanoeX generators? - I would love to.
So I'll take you on a little tour of my treatment room here, but sitting literally just above our treatment chair, as you can see, we had ventilation systems installed to ensure good airflow and quality and have added with the help of the Panasonic team, the NanoeX technology that sits right on top of our treatment chair. So we feel that this measure, in addition to the PPE and the screening and the triage has really helped to ensure the absolute highest standard of infection control, safety and sterility, because in fact, as you know, the NanoeX technology is not only filtering the air, but sterilizing air and surfaces by releasing the electrified water particles that will effectively inactivate and remove, not just COVID, not just SARS-CoV-2, but virus, bacteria, fungi, molds, and odors from the air. - Great, thank you, doctor, really appreciate you taking us through a part of the practice. I think your patients must feel extremely safe and comfortable with the steps that you're taking. - Yeah, it's been, it's given all of us, our whole community, my staff, my patients, and our families, a great deal of confidence to move on in these very challenging times, so thank you. - Thank you, Dr. Jennifer Pearlman
for joining us today for this conversation about quality air for life and outlaying for us, the impact of air quality on health. It's greatly appreciated.