When the smoke comes each hot season, many people in Chiang Mai turn on their air purifiers indoors. For a few years, some brands have sold air purifiers with a built-in meter: the screen shows the number that tells you the air quality in the room. The color of the number may be green and ‘low,’ but the air can still damage your health. When you care about the purity of the air, be sure that you agree with the way your cleaner or any other meter measures that quality. Not all methods are equal.
Accurate Air Quality Data
Even if your air purifier uses an outdated method for calculating the air quality, it’s can still valid in one situation: when the number is low, such as zero, five, or ten. Then the air is clean and healthy according to any system of measurement.
However, the best way to be sure is using the internationally approved standard of air quality: the Air Quality Index, AQI in short. This method is sincere: anything below 50 is healthy and shows on display in green. Therefore, you can trust the air quality and safely leave the house without getting your lungs filled with poisonous smoke.
Any number between 50 and 100 is yellow, meaning that the air quality is worse yet dangerous or noticeable by healthy people. That air quality resembles sitting around a fireplace or cooking in the kitchen with a ventilation system. These situations occur every day and, for most people, only temporary. However, this level of air quality may cause health problems if you are in it all day and many days in a row.
During late February, March, and April, the pollution reaches AQI levels from 150. The number shows on the screen in red or purple. This level is unhealthy for everyone, and many people have to visit the hospital because they are sick. Children and seniors with airway illness are at risk the most.
The highest levels of AQI, displayed in purple, are similar to standing inside a burning building. The smoke is so harmful that you should wear a gas mask to protect yourself. Some areas in the countryside around Chiang Mai will reach these levels.
Don’t Be Fooled By False Methods!
To protect yourself from harmful smoke, you need to empower yourself. Only accurate data will tell you whether your health is at risk. Unfortunately, some air purifiers or air quality meters give a number based on an outdated method. For example, AQI is not the same as PM2.5 concentration. Some purifier brands display PM2.5 concentration and are color-coded to the Chinese method. This way of measuring air quality is too lax. The number is displayed in green and appears low, such as 12 or 25. This could give a false impression that the air is safe.
Green values below 50 are only healthy levels when calculated by Air Quality Index, the international standard. Don’t be fooled by false methods! Instead, rely on AQI to tell you the truth about the air you breathe.