SINGAPORE: Singaporeans are using the wrong appliances to improve air quality at home, according to a survey conducted by Philips in collaboration with market research company Rakuten AIP.
According to the findings, which were released on Tuesday (Nov 7), more families owned humidifiers instead of air purifiers (46 per cent and 39 per cent respectively).
The survey involved more than 250 households in Singapore with family members suffering from asthma or other respiratory conditions. It also involved households with babies or pregnant women.
Another key finding was that 70 per cent of the respondents believed that good air quality improved the health of everyone in the household. However, only three in 10 Singaporeans were willing to invest in an air purifier.
One of the main barriers was the lack of understanding on what air purifiers were and what they could do. In some of the survey’s multiple-choice questions, 45 per cent of the respondents said they didn't know enough about air purifiers, 43 per cent found air purifiers expensive and 41 per cent doubted that air purifiers worked.
Dr Chiang Wen Chin, president of the Asthma and Allergy Association, said: “While humidifiers add water into the air, it is not necessary for Singaporeans to humidify their home in this climate, especially since humidity is about 70 to 80 per cent.
“Instead, a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) air purifier can help to remove these allergens from the living environment and reduce airborne allergens such as dust mites, viruses and bacteria that can trigger allergic reactions and asthma."
Another reason humidifiers aren’t necessary in Singapore is that mould spores such as aspergillus grow in humid conditions, and can be a trigger of allergy and asthma, noted Philips in its press release.
Dr Chiang added: “Poor indoor air quality is known to aggravate the symptoms of allergic diseases as long-term exposure to allergens can lead to chronic respiratory conditions like asthma.”
The survey also showed that the average Singaporean falls ill between two and five times a year. However, 31 per cent were unsure if their symptoms were caused by an illness or allergy, and less than half of the respondents visited a specialist for their respiratory concerns. Seven out of 10 respondents rated July to September as the period with the worst air quality.