The AQM: time to map your indoor air quality!

Atmosafe developed the AQM (Air Quality Monitor), a measuring device that simultaneously monitors ten parameters: carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, VOC, humidity, temperature and 3 forms of fine dust. By monitoring all these parameters, we obtain an accurate overall picture of the indoor air quality. Below you can find some more information about these parameters. Click on the bars to find out why we monitor these parameters, how they are formed, what the possible symptoms are and what their influence is on the risk of contamination by viruses.
AQM
The Air Quality Monitor (AQM) is a small but high-quality measuring device that monitors air quality in real time. The device is 300 mm wide, 140 mm deep and 54 mm high, making it easy to install on a cabinet or table. All you need besides the AQM itself is a power outlet.

Temperature
Function parameter:
We track this parameter because it provides an indication of the environmental conditions that may promote the spread and growth of microorganisms.
Source emissions:
The temperature of the indoor air is usually regulated by an air conditioning system.
Symptoms:
Too hot or too cold temperatures can increase discomfort. In addition, temperature also has a direct impact on humidity which can cause various symptoms. High temperature produces higher VOC concentrations and has also been linked to Sick Building Syndrome.
COVID relationship:
The impact of temperature on covid, beyond its link to humidity, has not yet been scientifically determined.
Relative air humidity
Function parameter:
We track this parameter because it provides an indication of the environmental conditions that may promote the spread and growth of microorganisms.
Source emissions:
Humidity is usually directly related to temperature. Some air conditioning systems also control the humidity of the indoor air.
Symptoms:
Too dry air gives rise to dry lips, dry throat and coughing. Too humid air can give rise to harmful microorganisms in the air that damage the airways and cause infections. In addition, air humidity also has an impact on the formation of ozone and particulate matter concentrations.
COVID relationship:
Air that is too dry has a drying effect on mucous membranes, reducing resistance and increasing susceptibility to infection. Too humid air increases the likelihood of aerosols that can transmit viral particles.
CO2 (Carbon dioxide)
Function parameter:
The concentration of carbon dioxide gives a good idea of the degree of ventilation in relation to the number of people present in that room.
Source emissions:
Humans and animals exhale CO2. Combustion of carbonaceous substances produces CO2.
Symptoms:
As a function of increasing CO2 concentration: decreased concentration (from 900 ppm); headache, lethargic, "too-little-oxygen" feeling.
COVID relationship:
Poorly ventilated rooms increase the risk of virus transmission because of the accumulation of virus-carrying particles in the air. Also, as CO2 concentration increases, the respiratory rate increases, causing more virus-carrying particles to enter the body, thus increasing the likelihood of potential infection.
CO (Carbon Monoxide)
Function parameter:
Carbon monoxide is a harmful gas that can even cause fatalities.
Source emissions:
Incomplete combustion of carbonaceous substances produces CO.
Symptoms:
Known symptoms are lethargy, headache, dizziness and nausea. These symptoms are related to the formation of carboxyhemoglobin. The symptoms related to the effect of CO on the nervous system are less well known. For example, chronic exposure to lower concentrations of CO can lead to impaired vision. The direct influence of CO on the nervous system is complex and negative influences on behavior and mental status have not been ruled out.
COVID relationship:
Whether carbon monoxide has an effect on the immune system is not known, but not impossible given the wide range of physiological effects of CO in the body.
NO2 (nitrogen dioxide)
Function parameter:
We monitor this parameter because of its harmful nature and negative effect on the immune system. This substance is highly soluble in water, forming nitric acid (acid rain). The gas is a strong oxidizer and reacts violently with other substances. We also call this parameter a "traffic parameter" because it can often be linked to the quality of the outside air at that location.
Source emissions:
Nitrogen dioxide is emitted by industry and road transport, but also formed in electrical discharges.
Symptoms:
Nitrogen dioxide damages mucous membranes by forming nitric acid. Nitrogen dioxide can cause lung diseases such as asthma. The symptoms are coughing and shortness of breath. In addition, it reduces the defense against respiratory infections.
COVID relationship:
Irritation of the mucous membranes by nitrogen dioxide greatly reduces the defense mechanism against infections that happen through the air.
O3 (Ozone)
Function parameter:
We monitor the ozone concentration because of its harmful nature and negative effect on the lungs. This parameter can often be linked to the quality of the outside air at that location.
Source emissions:
Ozone is created mainly under the influence of electrical discharges. This occurs more during low humidity conditions. Ozone is also formed during hot days by the action of sunlight on air pollutants. Thus, ozone is not directly emitted by road transport and industry, but is formed secondarily as a result of air pollution.
Symptoms:
Ozone is a reactive molecule that damages the alveoli of the lungs, negatively affecting oxygen exchange: 20% reduced lung capacity in healthy individuals. The effect is much stronger in persons with sensitive respiratory systems such as asthma patients. The symptoms are coughing and shortness of breath. In addition, ozone reduces the defense against respiratory infections and can also cause lung diseases. The mortality rate increases by 0.3% per 5 ppb ozone increase.
COVID relationship:
Irritation of the alveoli greatly reduces the defense mechanism against infections that happen through the air.
Particulate matter (PM 1; PM 2.5; PM 10)
Function parameter:
Particulate matter is very harmful to our health. It is classified based on size, origin and chemical composition. All these parameters determine how harmful the particulate matter is. The general measurement method for determining particulate matter relies solely on the size of the particles, 1 µm; 2.5 µm and 10 µm, respectively. This is because the size determines whether or not they can penetrate into the lungs, where they can cause damage. The smaller the particulate matter, the more harmful it is.
Source emissions:
Fine dust can come from a variety of sources such as traffic, industry, ...
Symptoms:
Particulate matter accumulates in the alveoli of the lungs, gradually (and irreparably) reducing lung function. This can result in cardiovascular disease, among other things. There are also certain types of fine dust that are chemically reactive and can cause (auto)immune responses.
COVID relationship:
Fine dust disrupts the immune system at the level of the alveoli and increases the risk of infections. In addition, the fine dust particles can transmit the virus. Differences of just one microgram per cubic meter are already measurable in susceptibility to covid infection. Aerosols (which are a component of measured particulate matter) are also important vectors for the transmission of covid-19.
VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Function parameter:
We follow this parameter because of the possible harmful nature of VOC. VOC (volatile organic compounds) is the collective name for a group of hydrocarbons that evaporate easily. The degree of harmfulness is strongly dependent on the nature of the VOC measured. Benzene, for example, is more harmful than ethanol.
Source emissions:
During the production process of e.g. furniture, electronics, household appliances, clothing, toys, ... products that spontaneously emit VOC are often used. As a result, the final product can also emit VOC long after production.
Symptoms:
The broad family of VOC cause a range of diseases: organ damage, nerve damage, brain damage, cancer, ... Symptoms of chronic exposure (hearing loss, character change, impaired memory) are usually not noticed until much later.
COVID relationship:
Exposure to certain VOC reduces the function of the immune system. Some VOC may even cause (auto)immune responses.

VOC analysis
VOC are often harmful but the degree of harmfulness is highly dependent on the nature of the VOC measured. For example, benzene is more harmful than ethanol. Therefore, we always provide a free VOC sampling. If VOC are present, an additional analysis in our laboratory can determine the toxicity of the VOC mixture.
Cloud storage
The AQM stores all results but also pushes them via wifi or 4G to the AQM cloud. This way the results can also be monitored live via the app or website.
Data processing & reporting
After the analysis we process all measurement data and summarize everything in a clear report. We'll discuss this report together with you. This way we can help with any questions you might have.

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