Paint to Prevent Deaths Due to Air Pollution

November 29, 2008

Pacific Paint (BOYSEN®) Philippines, Inc. recently set the benchmark for environment-friendly coatings with the launch of BOYSEN® KNOxOUT™ (activated by Cristal Nanotechnology) at the Renaissance Hotel in Manila.

“Up to now, the focus of eco-friendly paints has been to minimize paint’s negative effect on human health and the environment, through limiting levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and prohibiting the use of hazardous chemicals,” shared Johnson Ongking, vice president of Pacific Paint (BOYSEN®) Philippines, Inc.

“But the introduction of BOYSEN® KNOxOUT™ changes the whole paradigm. Now, we actually have an ecoactive technology that’s constantly working to clean the air. In effect, it transforms any painted surface into an air purifying device,” he said.

“People used to think that paint fouled up the air, and now we have a paint that actually purifies the air. It turns the whole concept of paint around,” Ongking adds.

The Everyday Killer
A joint report of the World Bank and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) shows that there are nearly 5,000 premature deaths each year in Manila due to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases caused by exposure to poor air quality. Health concerns such as asthma, other lung infections, heart problems, cancers, central nervous system damage and lowered IQs increasingly affect city dwellers.  What’s worse is that no community within the metropolis is immune from the growing threat of Metro Manila’s degraded air quality.

One of the most fatal air pollutants healthwise are nitrogen oxides (NOx). Nitrogen oxide (NOx) is the generic term for a group of highly reactive gasses all of which contain nitrogen and oxygen in varying amounts. As a precursor for fine particulate matter, ozone (SMOG) and acid rain, NOx can contribute to a variety of health problems such as asthma, chronic bronchitis and lung cancer. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that of the 6 principal air pollutants, NOx is the only one that has not decreased since the passage of the Clean Air Act in the US.

In March 1999, the British Medical Journal quoted Dr. Miguel Celdran, a pediatrician at the Makati Medical Center, who said: "About 90 percent of my patients have respiratory illness, and we’re seeing babies as young as two months suffering from asthma. Twenty years ago, this was unheard of."

Solution in a Can
The innovation represented by BOYSEN® KNOxOUT™ can go a long way to bring down NOx levels in the air, reducing the health burden of Manila skies in the process. Activated by Cristal Nanotechnology, BOYSEN® KNOxOUT™ is based on the nano sized titanium dioxide, which acts as a photocatalyst, triggering certain chemical reactions stimulated by light. Through this process, toxic emissions are broken down into harmless substances in an environmentally safe process.

“There’s really not much a person can do at present to protect themselves from the effects of NOx in the air,” says Ongking. “But now KNOxOUT™  will give Filipinos a weapon to fight air pollution. Painting your home with KNOxOUT™  will protect you and your family from the high air pollution levels and health problems that it brings,” he adds.

Fighting Air Pollution
One of the initiatives that Pacific Paint (BOYSEN®) Philippines, Inc. has taken is to launch BOYSEN® KNOxOUT™ in the biggest outdoor depolluting paint trial in the World. “Before, the paint has only been tested in smaller European trials – in school yards, tunnels or parking lots,” shares Steve Forrest, Senior Technical Advisor for Cristal Global. “The Philippine trial is the first time that we’ve tested the product on such a large scale.” The proposed testing site will be at the 3 story Guadalupe MRT station and surrounding embankments,” Forrest says.

The trial will involve testing pollution levels through passive monitors, nitrate boxes and Particulate Monitors to base line existing levels and determine reductions once KNOxOUT™ is deployed. The Manila Observatory, the oldest scientific research institute in the country, is serving as an independent observer and monitor for the trial. “We’re very thankful and appreciative of the extensive support given by the DOTC-MRT3 and the MMDA for this trial. It shows that the DOTC-MRT3 and MMDA are innovative and committed player in improving air quality.”

“Success in this endeavor will mark functional coatings as a viable and innovative way to fight air pollution. At the end of the day, what we really want to do is to give consumers more than just a can of paint – we’re giving them a weapon to fight against air pollution and protect their family,” Ongking concludes.