What is NO2 and How Does it Impact Health?

NO2 is nitrous dioxide. It’s a chemical compound that’s mainly formed in the combustion of fossil fuels, and during certain industrial processes.

In this post we’ll discuss the health impact of NO2, and explore some ways you can improve the air quality in your hospital or healthcare setting.

What Are The Health Risks of NO2 Exposure?

In the short-term, exposure to NO2 can cause inflammation of the airways. This can increase a person’s susceptibility to respiratory infections and allergens. For patients suffering from lung and heart conditions, exposure to NO2 can make existing symptoms worse.

NO2 can also react with oxygen in the atmosphere to form ozone. Ozone gas can trigger asthma attacks, respiratory conditions, and inflammation of the eyes, nose and throat.

Long-term Exposure to NO2 Risks

Long-term exposure to NO2 can cause edema, a build-up of fluid in the lungs, leading to bronchitis or pneumonia. Exposure to large amounts of NO2 can be fatal.

Where Does NO2 Come From?

Along with PM2.5, PM10 and other harmful pollutants, NO2 is largely the product of road traffic.

But though NO2 is primarily created by external activity, there are still exposure risks even for people who spend the majority of their time indoors. A 2011 study suggested that improvements to building insulation can result in a greater retention of indoor pollutants such as NO2.

NO2 as an Issue for Hospitals and Healthcare Settings

Most hospitals are located near busy roads, and some are situated close to major industrial areas. As a result, one study found that 25% of hospitals are located in areas with dangerously high air pollution levels.

Due to improvements to car engines and certain other measures, atmospheric NO2 levels have fallen significantly both in the long-term and in recent years. Hospitals can further reduce the levels in their local area through enforcing strict onsite traffic calming measures.

But as we’ve seen, even a small amount of exposure to NO2 can carry a serious health risk, particularly for patients with heart and lung conditions. So hospitals and other healthcare settings should act to improve their indoor air quality.

Improving The Air Quality in Hospitals and Healthcare Settings

An air quality consultation can help hospitals identify the exposure risks to harmful and hazardous air pollutants such as NO2 for staff and patients alike. Following the consultation, hospitals will have a better idea of the measures they can take to manage the risks.

A hospital grade air purifier can help you quickly and thoroughly improve the air quality in your hospital or healthcare setting.

Our Blueair HealthProtectTM air purifiers are fitted with advanced HEPASilent technology. This is capable of catching 99.97% of particles down to 0.1 microns, which includes NO2 gas molecules. Even a small air purifier can completely cycle the air in a room once every 12.5 minutes.

But at the same time, they’ll capture many other hazardous and toxic air pollutants, including particulate matter, microplastics, smoke, dust, and VOCs. And crucially for a hospital, they can also capture and kill 99% of viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms.

Take a look at our specialist air purification systems for hospitals.