The air purifier makes life better for people with allergies

  • Published 23.12.18, 5:51 PM
  • Updated 23.12.18, 5:52 PM

Gadget: Sharp FP-J60-W air purifier

Tech specs: With high-density Plasmacluster Technology with HEPA and carbon filter

Price: Rs 35,000

Best for: Cleaning up air at home

At the moment, fresh air is at a premium in many cities in India. With winter at its peak, the quality of air in the Indo-Gangetic plain — from Amritsar in the west to Calcutta in the east — is at an all-time low. In summer, the air closest to the ground heats up, becomes lighter and rises upwards, carrying pollutants — especially particulate matter — away from us. During winter, the air close to the ground — and therefore us — is cold and dense and traps all pollutants within it. Industrial and vehicular emissions coupled with biomass burning creates smog that can be fatal.

Emission cuts for industries and farms haven’t yet been enforced and controlling the levels of particulate matter with diameter up to 2.5 microns (PM2.5) is a big challenge. PM2.5 can cause anything from asthma to cancer. According to a 2016 estimate, China and India together contribute to at least 20 lakh deaths attributable to PM2.5. If you live in a city, or in the suburbs, you are breathing air that is a toxic soup of PM2.5, sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). You can’t do much about the air you breathe at work or outdoors, but you can control the quality of air inside your home.

If you think that the air inside the home is safe, you must be overlooking the dander and hair from your body, dust, mould, mites, pollen and exhaust from passing vehicles. In fact, particulate matter inside a house could range from from fine dust to odours — volatile compounds given off from cooking or tobacco smoke — in addition to the carbon dioxide (CO2) we breathe out.

Washing sheets and curtains frequently, vacuuming, and changing filters of the air conditioner may not be enough, especially on the day,s the whole neighbourhood is veiled in a fine, ashy haze.

Until recently I didn’t believe there was any benefit in installing an air purifier at home. I did not realise that purified air at home improves the quality of life for those prone to asthma and allergy. When I tested Sharp’s latest J Series (FP-J60-W), I was convinced that the 2.4 feet tall and 1.36 feet wide floor unit really gave out refreshingly clean air. There are three layers of filters — an outer to capture large dust particles, the middle for absorbing cigarette and cooking gas molecules, and the inner HEPA (high-efficiency particulate absorber) filter to trap 99.97 per cent of microscopic particles, which includes allergens and PM2.5. Sharp claims its Plasmacluster Technology employs a “three-step system that sterilises and cleanses indoor air”.

However, the clean air comes at a price — Rs 35,000 to be precise. Also, you need to replace the filter (which costs Rs 8,000) roughly once in two years. But it’s worth it if you have a vulnerable family member, as the cost of medicine and suffering could far exceed the price of the purifier.

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