Photos reveal the hidden world of indoor air quality

Photos reveal the hidden world of indoor air quality

When it comes to indoor air quality, what you can't see can hurt you. These photos highlight the challenges of indoor air pollution and its impact on humans.

"Air pollution is a global challenge that does not stop at country borders nor at front doors,” said Janez Potocnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, which declared 2013 the “Year of Air.”

The declaration inspired IQAir, a Swiss-based clean-air technology expert, to help visualize the invisible world of air pollution. IQAir worked with award winning science photographer Stefan Diller to capture SEM images of microscopic air pollutants and allergens that surround us and are in the nano- and micro-meter range. 

“Improving the air we breathe is incredibly important. Air pollution threatens the healthy development of our children and contributes to serious diseases, including asthma and cancer,” said Frank Hammes, CEO of IQAir. “Our goal for the past 50 years has been to provide practical solutions that supplement the efforts by governmental and non-government organizations to reduce our exposure to air pollutants."

Photos courtesy Stefan Diller/IQAir


Human hair and alder pollen. The diameter of human hair can vary between 17 and 180 micrometers.


Diesel soot on filter fibers of a high-performance IQAir air cleaning system. The tiny soot particles are less than 1/10,000 of a millimeter. They are trapped on the fiber surface by a combination of three different physical effects.


A common mold spore magnified 60,000 times. Mold spores are ubiquitous in the biosphere and are a common component of household and workplace air and dust.


Laser toner particles on IQAir filter fibers. Laser toner particles are typically 8-10 micrometers in size. They can be released during the printing process or when toner cartridges are replaced.


Hazel pollen, mold spores, toner dust and diesel soot caught on an IQAir air filter demonstrating the wide variety of common air pollutants and allergens.

Read more about indoor air quality.

Topics: Indoor Air Quality

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