Appliances help clean polluted air and make it healthier

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Appliances help clean polluted air and make it healthier

As the battle against air pollution has become a year-round problem for many Koreans, electronics makers are rolling out a wide range of products designed to filter fine airborne dust that could have serious health effects.

Among them are air purifiers that adopt multi-layered filters, as top electronics manufacturers such as Samsung and LG vie for consumers concerned about potentially harmful dust.

Samsung’s Blue Sky air purifier is the latest release. The tech giant’s product features a five-step filtration system to eliminate dust, pollutants and allergens.

For convenience, the machine can be controlled by a smartphone app, allowing users to remotely manage the air flow and each filter.

The unit is also equipped with a sensor that shows indoor fine-particle levels.

“With enhanced functions for fine particles, we will target markets both at home and abroad,” said Park Jae-soon, head of the marketing strategy division at Samsung Electronics, citing China as a target country.

Rival LG Electronics’ product utilizes a sophisticated filter system.

PuriCare, an air purifier brand launched by LG Electronics in October last year, is the nation’s first purifier installed with a PM (particulate matter) sensor that detects fine dust with less than 1 micrometer diameter. PM, a mixture of solids and liquid droplets floating in the air with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 or 1 micrometer is referred to as PM2.5 and PM1.0, respectively.

The density of the fine dust by each PM category is measured by the sensor and displayed on the purifier. It also has a lamp that changes colors according to air conditions.

The lamp changes from red to blue in four stages as air gets cleaner, allowing the customers to check if the air is being purified. The brand’s flagship model (AS110WAW) filters out particles as small as 0.02 and eliminates bacteria in the air with its ionizer.

LG had strong sales of its product, especially during the periods when dust watches and warnings were in effect.

According to LG Electronics, its sales of air purifiers in November last year grew 2.5 times year on year. A micro dust warning was issued by the government 62 times in October last year, according to data compiled by the Korea Environment Corporation.

A total of 22 warnings were issued in November, followed by 45 in December. Warnings are issued when hourly average density of fine dust in a certain area exceeds between 90 micrometers and 150 micrometers per cubic meter for more than two hours, depending on the size of the particle.

Exposure to fine particles can aggravate heart and lung diseases and even lead to premature death, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

People with heart or lung diseases, older adults and children may be particularly susceptible to particle pollution. The particles also weaken visibility, disturb plants’ metabolism and cause erosion on buildings and statues.

In response to the growing demand for air purifiers, smaller manufacturers such as Coway and Winix offer air purifiers.

Coway’s IoCare specializes in displaying air conditions of different types, including carbon dioxide, fine particles, temperature and humidity.

With a mobile app, users are able to control the air purifier.

“We tried to adopt the concept of Internet of Things to the air purifier lineup,” said Park Yong-joo, marketing director at Coway.


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