A Passion & Mission for Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)


While the world frets over climate change and greenhouse gases, irrefutable evidence shows that the air quality in homes poses significant and immediate health risks. According to a report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the air within homes and other buildings can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air. The EPA also estimated that people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, including the schoolroom, the workplace, and home. Fortunately, the air quality can be improved in our homes today.

Indoor air is not just a health risk but a looming crisis! This topic is near-and-dear to my lungs, as I’ve had allergy-induced asthma since I was a teen. In researching for this blog, I reached out to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), which is a not-for-profit organization that was founded 50 years ago. AAFA’s mission is dedicated to saving lives and reducing the burden of disease for people with asthma and allergies through support, advocacy, education, and research.

“Indoor air quality (IAQ) is so huge now,” says Michele Ann Cassalia, Director of Marketing at AAFA. “The fact that we use IAQ and everybody knows what it stands for — it’s huge.” This has become such an issue that October is National Indoor Air Quality Month. “You never would’ve heard of that 10 years ago,” says Cassalia.

Start Breathing Easier Today

I took this opportunity to share the embarrassing fact with Michele Ann Cassalia that I purchased a Sharp Plasmacluster Air Purifier for my bedroom a couple of months ago. I informed her that I hadn’t taken the time to open the manual to figure out how to use it or where to place it, but assured her that I have encased my mattress and pillows and keep the room as dust-free as possible. I then asked for some advice.

“One-third of your time is spent in the bedroom,” says Cassalia. “Everyone’s concerned about the bedding, but it also makes sense to place an air purifier at the bottom of the bed or somewhere that is focused toward the center of the bedroom.” As with any product, Cassalia encourages consumers to do their homework. “We have the Asthma and Allergy Friendly certification program so they can trust that it’s been certified through rigorous scientific standards by a third party.”

Choosing an air purifier depends on the size and the ventilation in the room, notes Cassalia. “A little ventilation is okay.” Some air purifiers help eliminate odors from cooking, pets, smoke, furniture, and other unpleasant odors and potential allergy triggers. “When you’re cooking, you want to make sure that the exhaust fan is on and open the window a little bit to get the fresh air in,” she says. “When showering, make sure your fan is on because you don’t want mold to grow in the bathroom, which can trigger some people’s asthma.”

Manufacturers offer various sizes of in-room air purifiers that cover from small rooms to large areas, such as a living room or even an open-plan space. “For me, we have one upstairs in the hallway for my children, my husband and me,” says Cassalia. “I know that it’s hitting at least a certain amount of feet in the upstairs area.”

An Air Purifier in Every Home and Every School

Cassalia is passionate about educating people on the importance of indoor air quality. “My dream-wish would be if every school, every classroom had an air purifier in it,” she says. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is a non-profit organization that also works with the underserved. AAFA worked on a project with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and community workers to visit an area in southwest Philadelphia that still has oil refinery factories. “Seventy percent of the children in that area have asthma,” says Cassalia. “We worked with the certification in getting air purifiers out to the homes.”

AAFA is doing this kind of outreach across America. “With programs of community workers going into the home and saying, ‘Okay, this is mold. Okay, this is cockroaches. These are triggers to your children that are flaring up their asthma,’” says Cassalia. Asthma in children often doesn’t get diagnosed until they go into the ER with an asthma attack.

“It’s a big thing, as far as getting out there and getting product [air purifier] and educating people in the underserved communities,” adds Cassalia. “It’s not like you and me — we can just go and buy one.” With that in mind, Cassalia’s parting advice was, “This weekend, get that air purifier you bought plugged in and working for you!” I took her advice and set up the Sharp Plasmacluster Air Purifier I had purchased a few months earlier.

Featured in this Article

Sharp HEPA Air Purifier with Plasmacluster® Ion Technology for Medium Rooms (FPK50UW)

A breath of fresh air in any medium-sized room, the Sharp FPK50UW Plasmacluster Ion Air Purifier with True HEPA Filtration effectively reduces pollen, dust, pet dander, smoke, germs, bacteria, viruses, odors, mold, and fungus in your living space. There is a three-stage filter system including an activated carbon filter and long-life True HEPA filter, which captures 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns from the air that passes through it. The micro screen pre-filter for larger particles is washable and helps to extend the life of your filters.

Patented Plasmacluster Ion Technology disperses positively and negatively charged ions throughout the room to safely break down microorganisms and odors (even those trapped in fabric, carpeting, and drapery!) The FPK50UW air purifier is an ideal solution for allergy sufferers, asthmatics, pet owners, and smokers, and best used in a bedroom, living room, study, or exercise room.

“Plasmacluster Express Clean” gives you sixty minutes of high-density Plasmacluster Ion production and high-fan speed for an extra boost of clean when you need it, and a hands-free return to the prior mode when complete. The unit has LibraryQuiet™ operation (as quiet as 22 decibels, or the sound of rustling leaves) and is ENERGY STAR® rated, so you can run the unit continuously while saving money and energy.

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The Sharp KC-850U Plasmacluster Ion Air Purifier with True HEPA Filtration and Humidification offers a unique combination of air treatment technologies and a one-touch automatic air quality control system to make you and your family more comfortable all year round. The automatic air quality control system of this medium-sized room humidifying air purifier uses sensors to constantly monitor the air quality in your room, adjusting for air purity and optimum humidity level, and will also indicate when filters should be cleaned.

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About Sharp Home Electronics Company of America (SHCA)

SHCA is the U.S. Consumer Products Group of Sharp Electronics Corporation, the U.S. sales subsidiary of Sharp Corporation, a worldwide developer and manufacturer of one-of-a-kind premium technology products. SHCA includes the manufacturing of certain Home Appliances in Memphis, TN, together with the sales & marketing and servicing of Home Electronics in the United States.  Leading products include Sharp Carousel(R), Microwave DrawerTM, SuperSteam+TM ovens, and Plasmacluster(R) Ion air purifiers. Sharp Corporation was named one of the 20 Most Loved Companies globally, received a 2018 Thomson Reuters TOP 100 Global Technology Leader Award, and appears on the Forbes America’s Best Employers 2017 list.1

Sharp, Carousel, Microwave Drawer, SuperSteam+, Plasmacluster, Healsio, and all related trademarks are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sharp Corporation and/or its affiliated companies. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

1 Sources: Buyology Inc., 2012; APCO Worldwide, 2013; Forbes, 2017; thomsonreuters.com

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