11/25/2013 // Camfil Farr USA (Press Release) // Camfil // (press release)

Medical experts have long known that air pollution increases the risk for a host of serious health conditions, including heart disease and respiratory illnesses. Researchers have also drawn a link between various substances in air pollution and cancer. But on October 17, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) —an agency within the influential World Health Organization—went one step further. It officially designated air pollution itself a cancer-causing substance.

Specifically, both air pollution and its major component—particulate are now classified by IARC as Group 1 human carcinogens. This would place them alongside more than 100 other Group 1 carcinogens, including asbestos, plutonium, silica dust, and tobacco smoke. Indeed, the agency noted that depending on the level of exposure, the cancer risk of air pollution is similar to that of second-hand tobacco smoke.

In announcing the designation, IARC cited data showing that nearly a quarter of a million lung cancer deaths in 2010 could be attributed to air pollution. It also noted that there was convincing evidence that pollution increases the risk of bladder cancer.

The perils of air pollution aren’t limited to outdoor exposure, however. By seeping into the indoor environment, pollution can raise health concerns—and risks—in homes, schools, and workplaces, as well. This is a particularly troubling danger, as individuals spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors. It also demonstrates the need for optimal indoor air filtration.

“It is now officially recognized that outdoor air pollution contains cancer-causing substances, which sends a clear signal to policymakers around the world to improve the quality of the air we breathe,” says Magnus Yngen, President and CEO of the Camfil Group — the world’s leading provider of clean air solutions. “However, improving indoor air quality is just as important. To protect occupants in polluted cities, a three-pronged strategy is needed for urban buildings: effective particle and molecular gas filters in air handling units; elimination or control of indoor pollution; and when necessary, supplementary air cleaning with standalone filtration units to deal with special air-quality problems at the source.”

Without a comprehensive filtration approach, Camfil’s Yngen notes, unclean outdoor air can mix with indoor sources and become up to 50 times more polluted. High-efficiency air filters, on the other hand, can literally stop pollutants at the door.

Camfil—which operates a half dozen research sites across the globe, including its state-of-the-art Tech Center in Trosa, Sweden—has made ‘keeping the city out’ a priority. The company has introduced an array of products designed expressly to maintain high indoor air quality in buildings situated along streets and roads with heavy traffic (much outdoor air pollution is due to particles from automobile exhaust). These include innovative air filters such as Camfil’s City-Flo XL, CityCarb, City-Flo, and CitySorb models. All of these filters can be installed in existing air handling units without requiring modifications to the AHUs.

The IARC designation is also important as the WHO is currently revising its guidelines on air quality, which were last updated in 2005. Air quality experts say that it is now known that air pollution increases the risk of lung cancer at particulate matter levels even lower than those recommended by the European Union. This finding, along with the new official designation of air pollution as a carcinogen, may well spur tougher guidelines, helping to keep the world’s air cleaner — and its citizens healthier.

The world leader in air filtration systems, Camfil provides clean air solutions for hospitals, hotels, office buildings, educational institutions, and pharmaceutical and biotech companies. We provide the tools to achieve sustainability, maintain high air quality, and reduce airborne infections — all while lowering total cost of ownership. Camfil customers go green without ever sacrificing performance. For more information, visit us online at http://airfilters.camfilfarr.us, or call us toll-free at 888.599.6620.

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