Buying an air purifier for rural allergens and pesticides

When we think of air pollution, many of us immediately think of problems commonly associated with urban living: emissions from traffic and industry, smog, and cigarette smoke, to name a few. Those of us who live far from urban environments in more rural areas believe that we are safe from the dangers of air pollution. Unfortunately, this is far from the case. How can rural allergens and pesticides impact our health? Can an air purifier for rural allergens and pesticides help? Read on to learn more.

A view of a rural property

Introduction to rural allergens and pesticides

Common rural allergens

The idea of being surrounded by nature is idyllic for many of us. Of course, rural living often brings its own challenges. Allergens impact countless people living in rural and semi-rural environments. Pollen from grasses, trees, and weeds may all be a source of unpleasant allergic symptoms for those in less populated areas. Dust originating from soil and agricultural practices is also problematic and often clouds the air with harmful particulate matter. A 2011 study in France found that rural areas experience much more significant allergenic pollen exposure than urban environments do1. The study further stated that these results may equally be applied to anywhere in Europe with similar climatic conditions. Managing and mitigating the effects of dust and pollen particle pollution on human health in order to reduce allergic discomfort and triggering of respiratory diseases like asthma is an important consideration.

Allergy symptoms are expected to rise by the year 2050 with one study anticipating that 1 in 2 people will suffer from allergies2. The presence of certain air pollutants also aggravate allergy symptoms, especially ground-level ozone, VOCs, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter (PM). Studies have shown that these molecules are able to alter the gene structure of antioxidant pathways, making it more difficult for humans to fight off allergies3. Mechanised vehicles used for agriculture that are dependent upon fossil fuels emit all of these.

Common rural pesticides

Multiple studies have analysed the effects of widespread pesticide use on human health. Chemical exposure due to pesticide use impacts not only human health (particularly for the farmers applying the pesticides and residents living nearby) but leads to severe environmental issues for soil and water.

Buying an air purifier for rural allergens and pesticides:

  • Filters 99.97% of allergens and pollutants using unique and innovative filtration technologies

  • Real-time air quality data

  • Quiet yet powerful (up to 670 m3/hr)

  • Discreet and elegant design

  • Easy to use (equipped with Automatic mode) and does not require installation or assembly

  • Can be placed anywhere in your space thanks to our 360° technology

  • Can be controlled remotely via smartphone app

  • Smart and customisable devices (smart scheduling, automatic power off/on, etc.)

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Effects of rural pesticides on health

Concerningly, when pesticides are sprayed, around 30 to 50% of pesticide chemicals are dispersed into the air according to a 2023 study. This occurs by drift (wind that disperses aerosols and agricultural dust) and evaporation. A significant number of pesticide groups (including herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides) were detected in the air in countries all around the world including multiple countries in western Europe, the Republic of Korea, China, South Africa, Pakistan, and the United States. Several of these pesticides (especially glyphosate, chlorothalonil, and folpet) were also detected in airborne fine particulate matter (PM2.5)4.

Pesticide exposure may have an extremely varied effect on human health leading to the following health issues:

  • Short-term symptoms: upper airway and nose irritation; itchy eyes; sneezing; headache; dizziness; fatigue; nausea; mild allergic reactions
  • Long-term symptoms: damage to the brain/neurological system (cognitive deficits, behavioural and mental disorders), blood system (increased risk of leukaemia, especially in children), endocrine system (endocrine disrupting effects), immune system (immunotoxic effects), and reproductive system (increased infertility); increased incidence of asthma attacks; carcinogenic5

Long-term pesticide exposure also leads to chronic illness, especially chronic respiratory problems. A 2016 study on children living near a vineyard in France demonstrated that they experienced a higher risk of airborne dithiocarbamates when pesticide aerosols were sprayed in the summer months. Of the children studied, 35% had allergic rhinitis, 22% had experienced wheezing at least once, 15.8% had previously been diagnosed with asthma, and 12% had asthma at the time of the study6.

The following chart provides a helpful visual in showing how consumer, occupational, and environmental pesticides all gain entry into the human body:

Overview of routes of human exposure to pesticides
Source 5


For further insight into the severity of pesticide exposure in our daily lives, a Danish study found that 41% of Danish households exceeded pesticide standards in their drinking water
7.

Environmental effects

In addition to drift and aerosol evaporation, pesticides enter the atmosphere through other methods. Some include pathways such as:

  • Runoff
  • Leaching
  • Pesticide degradation (photolysis, chemical reactions, microbial breakdown)

Pesticide dispersion into the air is heavily dependent on environmental conditions like precipitation (rain and snow), wind speed, humidity, sunlight, and temperature. More severe conditions lead to increased volatilisation and degradation rates. As climate change continues to grip society with rising temperatures and more unpredictable weather patterns, the damages caused by pesticides will continue to place our natural environments in immediate danger4.

Elevated pesticide concentrations in our environment have effects on nearly all types of life (plant and animal alike). Its residues have been found in crops, wild plants, soils, agricultural dust, and water all across the European continent. This has led to severe biodiversity loss in insects (who are impacted by pesticides more than any other group), birds, bats, fish and amphibians, pollinators, and earthworms, to name a few, many of which we are reliant upon for food growth and agriculture. A German study performed over the course of 27 years found a seasonal and mid-summer decline of 76% and 82%, respectively, of flying insects8. Pesticides were identified as one of the main drivers. Another similar study in 2019 found that pesticides and fertilisers have negatively affected 80% of butterfly species throughout Europe. As a result of widespread pesticide use, dramatic declines have been observed in the world’s insect populations with 40% of the world’s insect species expected to go extinct over the next few decades9.

Two bees pollinating a flower

Measures for combatting rural allergens and pesticides

Exposure to high concentrations of rural allergens and pesticides outdoors may feel out of our control. How do you protect yourself from potential health impacts? The following list provides some steps to improve your indoor air quality:

Tips for improving and controlling indoor air quality

  • Reduce individual use of pesticides in your home: try non-chemical options that do not contain VOCs
    • No-VOC and low-VOC options are usually available depending upon where you live
  • If you must use chemical pesticide products, dilute before using
  • Always ventilate during and after use by opening doors and windows
  • During high pollen seasons or when agricultural pesticides are being sprayed, keep your windows closed
  • Keep your home clean by hoovering regularly and wiping down surfaces (remember that pesticides and allergens like pollen and dust may all be easily tracked into your home on your shoes, clothes, and pets); also be sure to address any mould growth
  • Protect your health in your indoor spaces by keeping an airborne chemical- and pesticide-free home with a high-quality air purifier (read more below)

If you are experiencing allergic reactions, respiratory issues, or other unusual symptoms, consult a healthcare professional or an indoor air quality specialist for assistance.

Speak up in your community

  • Use your voice to demand less pesticide use from your local governments
  • Support organic agriculture wherever possible

Choosing the right air purifier for rural allergens and pesticides

Key features to look for

When choosing an air purifier for rural allergens and pesticides, certain important factors must be considered.

Type of filter

Not all air purifiers are designed to be effective against rural allergens and pesticides. To control these substances, seek out a HEPA filter (High Efficiency Particulate Air). These are filters that have been tested by third parties for their proven efficiency in removing 99.97% of all pollutants down to a size of 0.3 microns. Eoleaf devices take it just a step further: they capture 99.97% of fine particles down to a size of 0.01 microns in a single pass. Do keep in mind that HEPA filters have their limitations, however. They are unable to capture chemical pollution like VOCs.

This is why our devices contain 7 additional air filtration technologies. These complementary technologies guarantee the purification of all types of air pollutants including chemical pollution (toxic gases like VOCs, ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide), fine particulate matter (PM10, PM2.5, and PM0.1), and biological pollution (allergens like pollen and dust, mould spores, germs like viruses and bacteria).

Size of the air purifier

Be sure to purchase an air cleaner that is properly sized relative to the room in which you plan to install it. Air purifiers are designed to filter the air in rooms of a maximum size, so proper sizing is essential in order to ensure proper purification of all of the air in that room. CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) is a great way to determine if your device will filter all of the air in your room (read more about CADR in our Buying Guide). For example, Eoleaf offers air purifiers of three different sizes:

  • AEROPRO 40: for rooms from 0 to 40 m² (450 ft²) with a CADR of 430 m3/hr
  • AEROPRO 100: for rooms from 0 to 80 m² (850 ft²) with a CADR of 570 m3/hr
  • AEROPRO 150: for rooms from 0 to 120 m² (1300 ft²) with a CADR of 670 m3/hr

Additional features like smart capabilities

Other features are practical when aiming for the filtration of indoor air pollution. It is ideal for a device to contain either handles or wheels for easy movement, allowing you to place your device in another room to treat the air there as well. All of Eoleaf’s devices contain either handles or wheels. Smart features are also extremely practical. Some more modern devices, like Eoleaf’s, come equipped with Wi-Fi capabilities and air quality monitoring in real-time right from your smartphone. Other smart features like gesture control, voice control, and smart scheduling also facilitate controlling your device: you can do so directly from your smartphone, and you don’t even need to be in the same room as your air purifier!

For any questions you may have regarding purchasing an air purifier for rural allergens and pesticides, do not hesitate to reach out to our team of air purification experts here at Eoleaf. You may also refer to our in-depth Buying Guide to read more information about which model would be perfect for your needs.

Eoleaf's AEROPRO 150 in a living room

Frequently asked questions

What are the most common rural allergens that air purifiers can help with?

High-quality air purifiers, like those on offer at Eoleaf, can help with most types of rural allergens including pollen, dust, and particulate matter (PM) released through agricultural activities. Eoleaf’s devices also come equipped with an activated carbon filter, allowing them to effectively remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that may be generated from pesticides from the air

How do air purifiers work to remove rural allergens from the air?

An air purifier works by using a powerful fan to pull in polluted air, removing contaminants inside the device using one or more air filtration technologies, then using its fan once again to recirculate the purified air back into the room.

What type of air purifier filter is best for combating rural allergens?

The best air purifier filter for removing fine particles, like rural allergens, is a Filtre HEPA. These filters are designed to capture 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns. Eoleaf’s HEPA filters remove 99.97% of particles down to 0.01 microns in a single pass. It is also ideal to invest in an air purifier with multiple air purification technologies, especially activated carbon filtration, to ensure removal of VOCs.

Can air purifiers completely eliminate the presence of allergens in rural homes?

A high-quality air purifier containing a HEPA-certified filter is able to remove 99.97% of air pollutants down to a size of 0.3 microns. However, HEPA filters do have their limitations. They are unable to capture volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This is why it is important for an air purifier to contain complementary air filtration technologies, especially activated carbon filtration, in order to completely eliminate the presence of allergens. Eoleaf’s devices contain 8 air filtration technologies, more than most air purifiers on the market!

How often should air purifier filters be replaced to maintain efficiency against rural allergens?

Requirements for filter changes vary from model to model, but one thing remains consistent: all air purifiers require filter changes. It is important to respect your manufacturer’s recommendations regarding filter changes in order to keep your air purifier in working order and to respect your manufacturer’s warranty terms. Lower-quality filters usually require more frequent filter changes. Eoleaf’s devices, which use high-quality filters, only require filter replacements once per year.

What is the ideal placement for an air purifier in a rural home to combat allergens effectively?

When installing an air purifier in your home, it is always best to place it in an area where it will not be obstructed by furniture, shelving, or room corners. Ideally, it should be placed in an area with optimal air flow. Find our list of placement recommendations here.

Can air purifiers help with outdoor rural allergens that enter the home?

Absolutely. Eoleaf air purifiers come equipped with an Automatic mode which detects any new pollutants and captures them, changing the fan speed depending upon pollution concentration. Any new pollutants that enter the home are immediately removed.

What additional steps can be taken alongside using an air purifier to reduce rural allergens indoors?

Some tips to reduce rural allergen indoors are to keep a clean home (hoover and wipe down surfaces regularly), take off your shoes before entering the home, wipe down your pets with a towel before allowing them to enter indoors, and keep your windows and doors closed on days with high pollution or when agricultural pesticide spraying is occurring.


Resources

1 Bosch-Cano, F., Bernard, N., Sudre, B., Gillet, F., Thibaudon, M., Richard, H., Badot, P.-M., & Ruffaldi, P. (2011). Human exposure to allergenic pollens: A comparison between urban and rural areas. Environmental Research, 111(5), 619–625. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2011.04.001

2 Pollution allergy – know diseases caused by Air Pollution. Allergy Free India. (2020). Retrieved January 13, 2023, from https://www.allergyfree.co.in/en-gb/know-your-allergy/outdoor-allergies/pollution 

3 Takizawa H. Impact of air pollution on allergic diseases. Korean J Intern Med. 2011 Sep;26(3):262-73. doi: 10.3904/kjim.2011.26.3.262. Epub 2011 Sep 13. PMID: 22016586; PMCID: PMC3192198.

4 Boonupara T, Udomkun P, Khan E, Kajitvichyanukul P. Airborne Pesticides from Agricultural Practices: A Critical Review of Pathways, Influencing Factors, and Human Health Implications. Toxics. 2023 Oct 13;11(10):858. doi: 10.3390/toxics11100858. PMID: 37888709; PMCID: PMC10611335.

5 How pesticides impact human health and ecosystems in Europe. European Environment Agency. (2023, April 26). https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/how-pesticides-impact-human-health 

6 Raherison C, Baldi I, Pouquet M, Berteaud E, Moesch C, Bouvier G, Canal-Raffin M. Pesticides Exposure by Air in Vineyard Rural Area and Respiratory Health in Children: A pilot study. Environ Res. 2019 Feb;169:189-195. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.11.002. Epub 2018 Nov 10. PMID: 30466012.

7 Skaarup C, Wodschow K, Voutchkova DD, Schullehner J, Raaschou-Nielsen O, Andersen HR, Hansen B, Ersbøll AK. Geographical Distribution and Pattern of Pesticides in Danish Drinking Water 2002-2018: Reducing Data Complexity. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Jan 12;19(2):823. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19020823. PMID: 35055647; PMCID: PMC8775924.

8 Hallmann, C. A., Sorg, M., Jongejans, E., Siepel, H., Hofland, N., Schwan, H., Stenmans, W., Müller, A., Sumser, H., Hörren, T., Goulson, D., & de Kroon, H. (2017). More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas. PLOS ONE, 12(10). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0185809

9 Sánchez-Bayo, F., & Wyckhuys, K. A. G. (2019). Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers. Biological Conservation, 232, 8–27.

La gamme de purificateurs d'air Eoleaf

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