China’s air quality index
April 30, 2013 – According to China’s air quality index today in Shanghai, the air quality is 151, putting the air color in the red zone. The website, aqicn.com, explains the red zone as “Everyone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.”
The particulate matters are measured by the U.S. Consulate Shanghai air quality monitor and converted into EPA (U.S.) standards.
The particulate matter, over the last two days in Shanghai, climbed into the purple zone, anywhere from 200-300. The purple zone is explained as, “Health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected.”
In a press release by Business Wire, a Berkshire Hathaway company, “BYDs “Insta-Pure” cabin filtering technology help protect drivers and passengers from dangerous city PM2.5 issues (Particulate Matter up to 2.5 micrometers in size), by quickly rotating cabin air, scrubbing and filtering it, all in less than 3-5 minutes. The first production vehicles launching with this advanced cabin purification system are the new BYD S6 Premier models “debuting at this year’s show (the 2013 Shanghai auto show). This level-4 purification technology is integrated into the vehicle’s air conditioning system and detects the inside and outside particulate matter levels, triggering auto-air-filtering equipment, sterilizing, deodorizing and purifying all PM2.5 levels to below 12. This technology not only gives consumer families a cleaner driving sphere but also provides a feasible scheme for improving all urban environments.”
At the unveiling of the Qin (pronounced Ching, as in Ching dynasty) at the Auto Show, BYD founder and CEO, Chairman Chuan Fu Wang, addressed the air quality issue in China. “Recently, the PM2.5 index has become a serious issue for some Chinese cities. The newly developed Green Purification technology will become the key to solving this problem and it will be embedded inside the S7.”
“BYDs Purification Technology is integrated into the car’s air conditioning system. It displays the PM2.5 levels inside and outside the car, and it can filtrate, sterilize, deodorize, and purify the air inside the car. By this level-4 purification system, the PM2.5 Index of the cleaned air in the car will be lower than 12.”
Wang finished by saying, “for example, if the PM2.5 in Beijing is over 700, the BYD Green Purification technology can lower it to less than 12 within only 4 minutes time. Although we cannot change the poor air quality in Beijing, you can live safely driving a BYD car with Green Purification technology.”
According to the U.S. EPA website, “Particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5) are referred to as “fine” particles and are believed to pose the greatest health risks. Because of their small size (approximately 1/30th the average width of a human hair), fine particles can lodge deeply into the lungs.”
Micheal Austin, Vice President, BYD of America, and some of his colleagues that were on a conference call with me, believe “this is the first Chinese car that we know of, that can clean the air to PM2.5.”
In an email from BYD-China, Austin got confirmation, “Insta-pure includes two systems full of technology. First, the part is the PM2.5 monitoring application and modules, the 2nd is part is the actual PM2.5 purification system. We (BYD) are the first in the world to apply the PM2.5 monitor system in the vehicle. As for the PM2.5 purification technology, we are the first only in China, we believe that some other companies come close to the filtering levels we achieve, but maybe not as fast.”
Dead Skunk in the middle of the road
“Dead Skunk in the middle of the road” is an American song that describes the pungent smell people experience when passing a dead skunk. Most of the PR people I talked to in the U.S. car companies said their vehicles have electrostatically charged filters or charcoal activated filters to clean the cabin air. These filtration systems are effective when the air is .3 microns or larger and can block the smell of a dead skunk and many pollens that could lodge deep in your lungs.
South Korea got bouts of yellow dust storms from China’s air blowing into Korea usually during the Spring months and the air quality there can get pretty bad. South Korea would be happy to see China take some steps to improve this situation.
In the meantime, Hyundai has a CleanAir Ionizer in the United States that automatically cleans the air when the heater or air conditioner is running. Michael Choo, Kia’s Global Public Relations person explained Kia’s Cluster Ionizer as, “This advanced filtering system features cluster ions that purify the air and deodorize harmful gases. The HVAC unit discharges ions that break up harmful materials at the molecular level, removing odors from the air. Many of our cars in Korea and some overseas markets with air quality issues have this system including the Quoris, Cadenza (K7), Sorento, Cerato (K3/Forte).”
Taylor & Francis’s website quotes the World Health Organizations (WHO) Global Burden of Disease Comparative Risk Assessment, “in terms of fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5), (that) causes about 3% of mortality from cardiopulmonary disease, about 5% of mortality from cancer of the trachea, bronchus, and lung, and about 1% of mortality from acute respiratory infections in children under 5 yr, worldwide. This amounts to about 0.8 million (1.2%) premature deaths and 6.4 million (0.5%) years of life lost (YLL). This burden occurs predominantly in developing countries; 65% in Asia alone. These estimates consider only the impact of air pollution on mortality (i.e., years of life lost) and not morbidity (i.e., years lived with disability), due to limitations in the epidemiologic database.”