Golden sands, crystal water, plentiful sunshine – Thailand. Close to a utopian perspective of paradise. A kind of mecca for sun seekers and a pilgrimage for students, it attracted over three million tourists in 2017 alone. Think Pad Thai on a beach, full moon parties – all underwritten by a wonderfully low cost of living.

A terrific holiday – but would you like to live there? Seemingly not, The World Health Organization has produced a metric called the Air Quality Life Index. This offers a numeric visual of the impact that poor air quality has upon longevity. Thailand? It will cost you 3.8 years on your life expectancy – so be prepared to make hay (perhaps literally, Thailand has an agrarian economy) while the sun shines.

The Air Life Quality Index is a weighted score based on air pollution particulates using PPM levels, against prospective health issues. Ambient air contains numerous compounds – primarily oxygen and carbon dioxide, but also smaller pollutants such as VOCs and formaldehyde which are unfortunate by-products of the world in which we live, which has evolved from the industrial revolution.

It is not a placebo effect, nor a psychological trick, that a trip to the unspoiled coast or countryside has a rejuvenating effect upon the body. Higher quality air improves your physical and mental well being, as well as your cognitive ability.

Gartner estimates that the global “wellness” market is the fastest growing economy – with growing disposable income, people are investing in their own health – often paying for shortcuts along the way. The rise of the Acai Berry is an interesting case study, for instance, or vitamin supplements are evidence of a willingness to pay inordinate sums of money in exchange for guarantees of health and wellbeing.

In order to exist and thrive, the human body needs certain fundamentals. Perhaps, in this race for shortcuts, fresh air has been ignored. Why not resolve impurities in ambient air, and drinking water, before turning to external sources of wellness?

What does higher air quality actually mean? A greater concentration of oxygen intake has been proven to relieve stress and anxiety and have a direct impact upon serotonin levels in the body. Serotonin is often referred to as the “happiness hormone”.

The Origin of The Species, written by Charles Darwin, is a seminal text to understanding the foundations of life on earth. Alongside the species, the planet upon which we reside has evolved in parallel. The widespread adoption of machinery, the industrial revolution as it is known, expedited the demise of ambient air quality. The release of vast quantities of smoke and pollutants into the air as this machinery was operated greatly diluted the environmental concentration of oxygen.

The planet has evolved; but have we evolved to deal with this?

1970, Los Angeles. “The smog capital of the world” as it was universally known had a serious pollution problem. It triggered the “Clean Air Act” created by President Nixon as a mechanism for undoing this damage – as a result of this, the average Angeleno now lives an average 1.8 years longer. Cumulatively, since 1970, that equates to a staggering 336Million life years for the population of L.A. This is a stark demonstration of the correlation between clean air and life longevity.

Taking an example closer to home, the Royal College of Physicians has estimated that “The annual mortality burden in the UK from exposure to outdoor air pollution is equivalent to around 40,000 deaths. To this can be added further impacts from exposure to indoor air pollutants such as radon and second-hand smoke.”

At MOF Technologies, we are inspired by innovative solutions to real world problems. We know MOFs can enhance air quality environmentally – but also in commercial and domestic settings. MOFs are known as “miracle materials”, famed for their adsorption capabilities and selectivity. For instance, in a domestic air environment, air is comprised of numerous particulates and molecules – MOFs are proven to reduce and remove impurities including Volatile Organic Compounds  (VOC’s) such as formaldaehyde – which is carcinogenic – to sub ppm (Parts Per Million) levels. We want to make the world a better place by deploying these MOFs to enhance air quality – given Teresa May’s recent announcement of a “Clean Air Strategy”, we can see no better time to collaborate with partners to fix this together.