Advanced carpet technology could reduce MENA's $2.5bn asthma bill
- United Arab Emirates: Sunday, February 24 - 2013 at 15:20
- PRESS RELEASE
A revolutionary carpet that ensures cleaner air in hospitals and offices could provide relief for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region's asthma sufferers, which may help to lower healthcare costs and benefit the wider economy by reducing absenteeism from work and lost production.
Contrary to general opinion, soft carpet ensures cleaner air compared to a hard floor surface, commonplace in buildings throughout the region.
DESSO AirMaster, developed and patented by European carpet manufacturer Desso, is able to capture and retain potentially harmful fine dust, lowering the concentration of fine dust particles in the indoor air by as much as eight times, compared with hard floors, and four times lower than with standard carpet.
(Based on tests performed by the German Test Institute (GUI), with DESSO AirMaster versus standard PVC hard floor and versus standard structured loop pile carpet.)
"The air that we breathe has a crucial effect on our health and wellbeing. Since we spend on average more than 90% of our time indoors, the indoor air quality is of the utmost importance. The presence and size of particulate matter or fine dust is a determining factor in air quality and can be directly linked to potential health problems," said Andre Dulka, Regional Director, Middle East, Africa & India, Desso.
"These particles can contribute to the spread of bacteria and microbial contaminants, such as mould, pollen and allergens," he added.
The WOA reported that the prevalence of asthma within the GCC is thought to be relatively high, particularly among children, with recent studies in the UAE showing that 20% already suffer from the disease.
According to a global asthma prevalence study part of a World Health Survey (WHS) designed and implemented by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2012, in Kuwait, 17% of the population is afflicted. In Saudi Arabia, numbers vary from region to region, ranging from 15% to 25% and in the UAE, 12% of adults also suffer from asthma.
Although genetics do play a role, rapid urbanisation and the dry dusty climate of the MENA region are significant contributory factors. WAO also comments that in some parts of Asia, urbanisation is blamed for almost doubling the incidence of allergic diseases over the past decade. Indeed compounding the situation is the fact that many buildings in the region use hard flooring materials such as marble, stone and ceramics.
"According to a study performed by the German Allergy and Asthma Association, it is proven that the burden from fine dust is dramatically reduced when using carpet, as opposed to hard flooring," said Dulka.
The Desso engineered product has a unique and patented structure, ensuring dust is easily released during vacuum cleaning.
The ribbed structure and the open spaces between the thick and fine yarns allow optimal air circulation. Tests performed by BOND Textile Research, using AirMaster versus standard structured loop pile carpet, indicate that during vacuum cleaning, the airspeed at the core of the carpet structure is 55% higher compared to standard carpet, resulting in an improved dust release.
The average employee spends as much as 1880 hours per year (over 21% of their time) in the office environment. It is therefore obvious that the indoor air quality at work has a major effect on the health and wellness of employees.
According to studies by William J. Fisk and Arthur H. Rosenfeld of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley in California, United States, the financial benefits of improving office climates, e.g. less absence due to illness, can be eight to 17 times greater than the cost of making those improvements.
"The benefits of carpet in a healthcare environment have been substantiated by several studies and are increasingly acknowledged by key decision makers. Carpet contributes to a higher standard of comfort, making patients feel at home in a quiet and pleasant environment, which is likely to result in a better night's rest and a shorter recovery period," said Dulka.
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