Get Free Indoor Air Pollution Testing in Beijing

I’ve written a whole series of posts on both indoor and outdoor air pollution, and the current CityWeekend Parents and Kids has an article about indoor pollution as well. I had a lot of fun taking pollution measurements with a particle monitor, and I’m pleased to report that now you can check your indoor pollution levels for free!

Both the IQAir and Blueair air purifier companies offer free testing of your home, office or school. They will drop by with their handheld air monitor and give you the lowdown as to how bad or good your air is.

The Blueair team is run by Chris Buckley, who runs the Torana store (8459.0785; mobile 13910569358); his website is at The IQAir group has a few Beijing stores and a China website; telephone 8447.5800. Thanks to both for this good community service. If anyone else offers such a service, please let me know and I will add it here.

And for full disclosure, I own both a Blueair and an IQAir at home, and I am very happy with both. At work in my small office, I have a Hunter purifier from Sundan and like it a lot as well. I also feel that air purifiers are crucial for Beijing. And don’t forget about indoor plants!

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3 thoughts on “Get Free Indoor Air Pollution Testing in Beijing”

  1. Hi Dr. St. Cyr —

    It is great to be able to check your air with a particle counter — particulates are probably the leading cause for upper respiratory symptoms, shortness of breath, and elevated blood pressure, and with the recent conditions in Beijing, are a key health concern.

    However, I'd urge readers to keep in mind that clean air is more than particulates alone. In the US, a commonly cited statistic is that indoor air is 5-10x more polluted than it is outdoors, and levels of individual pollutants are as much as 100x! These stats refer mostly not to particulates, but to chemical pollutants. This is due to tighter construction methods, less ventilation, and most of all, use of pollutant-emitting sources and human activity indoors.

    In China, this is even more true, and what we see most often is levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are toxic gases released by household chemicals and construction materials.

    In addition to VOCs, there are other common indoor air pollutant risks. The main ones are:

    – Airborne lead (leads to physical and developmental retardation in children)
    – Radon gas (radioactive gas from natural stone & mined materials)
    – Carbon monoxide (from combustion sources)
    – Ozone (formed from electrical discharges like copy machines & faxes that can trigger asthma)

    Clean, healthy air is at levels below standard for these, not just for particulates. If residents treat only particulates, they run the risk of ignoring these other contaminants.

    The problem is that there is no easy, simple way to test for these contaminants. There are some home kits, but these often have false positives and are best used as screening tools to indicate if there may be a very high level of pollution. The best way is to select a professional, certified testing company to test for the contaminants that are relevant to your own health situation or building profile (ie. if you just renovated, testing for VOCs is a priority). Or, if you live above a kitchen, restaurant, or parking garage, testing for carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur dioxide, is a good idea.

    In full disclosure, I run PureLiving China, an indoor environmental services and testing company in Shanghai. But, I'm a firm believer that the more people know about the whole picture of their home or office environment, the more informed they can be to choose the right solutions (and save money!), whether that's an air filter, a gas-removal unit, indoor plants, HVAC filters, source control, etc.

    1. Hi Louie,

      Thanks for the info. Your post is a bit of self-promotion but this time I’ll let it up, as I think your company can provide a useful resource for people.

  2. Hello Dr.

    If your
    water is treated with chlorine or chloramine then when you take a shower you
    can be contributing to indoor air pollution. A whole home water filter is the
    best solution for this problem but an inexpensive shower filter can help also.
    I also have a Blueair filter!   

    Noah Minard

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