The new iPad from Apple adds to the growing selection of eBook readers on the market. Kindle, by Amazon, is probably the most used but the new Nook by Barnes and Noble and the eReader by Sony are catching up. The new iPad is not only a tablet computer but an eBook reader as well. While there are opinions on both side of the isle as to whether the new eBook technology will supplant the common paper book, the eBook does offer some significant health benefits.
Paper books have been around forever and have been the most popular method of providing information, stories, education and business information around the world. Libraries are built to house the books and some of these buildings are massive. There -in lies the problem.
Paper is a cellulose based product that will wear when handled and can deteriorate when e to sunlight over long periods of time. When the pages of the book are turned tiny particles of paper come off and become airborne. As the books age, the paper becomes more brittle and more “paper dust” is generated. In addition, if the paper books get wet or are exposed to high concentrations of moisture you can actually have mold growing on the books. The paper is a great food source for mold spores.
In addition all books are assembled using some type of adhesive. This what keeps the pages from falling out of the book. These glues can off gas over time and again are released into the air. Often when a new book is purchased, especially hard bound books, they produce a distinct smell. It is a “new book” smell so to speak. These are the chemicals in the adhesives and treated paper that you are smelling.
Libraries, both public, private and school have had indoor air quality issues for many years. When you have a large collection of books and large number of people reading and leafing through the book pages at one time, you release a lot of paper dust into the air. People who tend to have respiratory issues ( asthmatics, severe allergies, chemical sensitivities) have a real challenge being in an environment with books.
The paper dust issue is such a problem in libraries that many of them use HEPA based air filtration systems to ensure the capture of the fine, small, airborne paper dust particles.
Companies such as Pure Air Systems, offer small, medium and large HEPA fan powered air filtration systems that can be used either as stand alone units to handle specific areas or as part of the main heating/cooling systems. In either case, the ability to move air throughout the area is essential in keeping the paper dust particles airborne and then pulled into the air filtration systems. Pure Air Systems also incorporates carbon in many of its systems which would be used to remove the chemicals being off gassed from the books themselves.
The process of providing reading material continues to move in the digital direction which at some point will start to reduce the number of paper books in circulation. If you have some allergy issues and are an avid book reader and collector, we might suggest you consider getting one of the new eBook reading devices now available. This could be a healthy choice for you.
For more information regarding the complete line of HEPA and Carbon based filtration systems offered by Pure Air Systems please go to their website at: www.pureairsystems.com