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It’s in the air



CAPT. Nikos Gitsis and Vinny Lobdell.

Have you ever sneezed uncontrollably in the morning? That uncomfortable fit that becomes an unwelcome greeting right after you open your eyes from a good night’s sleep? Or perhaps you’ve never had a good night’s sleep because it seems the air around you is a lot thicker and heavier than you’re used to?

You might have developed an allergy you’ve never had. Such an allergy has become prevalent in modern times.

It’s no secret that the Philippines is among the countries with the most polluted air. It is so severely polluted that the World Health Organization (WHO) listed our country as third with the most number of deaths due to air pollution in 2018.

While outdoor air pollution is a national concern that ought to be addressed by the government and its corresponding agencies, there’s another kind that hits closer to home.

A study by Hirohisa Takano and Ken-ichiro Inoue titled “Environmental pollution and allergies,” published in the Journal of Toxicology Pathology and can be retrieved at, sought to find the relation between environmental pollution and the immune system. It said the “cause of the rapid increase in allergies and other common diseases in recent years is generally changes in environmental factors rather than genetic factors.”

Among the factors it listed were the changes in the residential environment. It named allergens that can proliferate at home: mites, molds, pets and pollen-related allergens. These allergens thrive in specific temperatures and conditions but the study suggests that they often thrive in modern homes.

Pediatrician and Allergy, Immunology and Asthma Specialist Dr. Lou Manzon-Reyes shares the repercussions of indoor air pollutants.

“Indoor air pollutants have actually bad effects on cardiovascular diseases, reproductive disorders, immunologic disorders and even cancer development,” said Dr. Manzon-Reyes who herself suffers from nasal congestion every day.

She explains how allergy is developed and how its nature has drastically changed over the years.

“Basically, a person’s risk of developing allergy is predetermined by family history. However, studies now show that even without history of allergy in the family, there’s already a five to 15 percent chance for a person to develop allergies. Why? Because of our environmental exposures in the form of volatile organic compounds, allergens, air pollutants. These actually cause genetic changes, and these changes can lead to immunization causing a previously non-allergic person to become allergic and these bad genes can be subsequently passed on to the next generations,” she explained.

She added that the WHO has declared air pollutants as one of the most preventable risk factors for global disease burden.

Germ warfare

How does one prevent the increase of allergen presence in one’s home?

Cleanliness has always been preached as the number one step to eliminating germs. Regularly cleaning and dusting off fixtures, furniture and decorative elements in the house helps. Sweeping the floor and changing sheets regularly are also no-brainers.

However, aside from the visible particles, there are ultrafine particles that can be pollutants. These are not visible to the eyes, so just when you thought you had cleaned every nook and corner of your home, think again.

That’s where you need extra help. Air purifiers have been around for some time. A new brand was recently made available in the Philippines and it says it is even better than those which are already here.

Capt. Nikos Gitsis, the co-founder of SEAir and president of the Clark-based Aircraft Maintenance and Repair Organization, Dornier Technology, brought in the brand.

“It bothered me 25 years ago and as it got progressively worse, it truly disturbed me once I had children, knowing this was the air they were breathing. We bought air purifiers from abroad when we couldn’t find good ones here, but even in the United States, what was primarily available were HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) purifiers which were supposedly working, but I didn’t feel any noticeable difference,” related Gitsis, who moved to the Philippines in 1995.

Gitsis found many air purification products that were lacking in performance. After a long search, he found Intellipure, a New York-based company that has been providing indoor air quality solutions worldwide for more than 30 years.

“I was very impressed with the first machine I had and became even more so when I was able to visit their factory and offices in the US,” Gitsis shared. “I had learned a lot about air quality metrics and the technologies in the market that are offered to treat poor air like we have in Manila, and after seeing and experiencing their product line and solutions, I knew this was something very different from what you can pick up in any department store in the US or in the Philippines.”

His business sense kicked in, and he decided to bring Intellipure air purifiers to the Philippine market with Air Intellipure Inc.

“Intellipure’s secret is their patented DFS technology, developed through a United States military grant combating germ warfare. The Intellipure machines capture and destroy 99.99 percent of all particles down to 0.007 micron in size! This includes viruses, molds and bacteria,” he enthused.

Intellipure’s secret is its patented DFS technology, developed through a United States military grant combating germ warfare.

Intellipure is a B-to-C brand that makes individually certified air cleaning systems. One of its co-founders Vinny Lobdell, was in town to explain further about the revolutionary brand.

“Our philosophy is to control the environment that you’re in by filtering the air as much as possible, getting a high level of turnover and that’s really what’s important about the DFS technology is that it is 40 times more efficient than any medical-grade HEPA in the market. We’re not only capturing a hundred-percent everything but we’re destroying the mold, virus, bacteria and fungi inside our patented DFS technology,” Lobdell enthused.

Lobdell has been in the air quality business rising through the ranks of the family’s air cleaning systems business, Healthway. The company also built customized air cleaning systems for major hospitals, hotels and commercial office buildings.

Gitsis’ Air Intellipure also brought in Healthway’s sister brand, Pure Wellness. It is a program based on a patented surface and air purification technology that removes indoor pollutants from any indoor space and maintains a high sanitary state with regular service. Accordingly, eliminates and protects against 98 to 100 percent of viruses, bacteria and other irritants to create an environment that is beneficial for all people seeking healthy indoor spaces.

“The Belo Clinics will be the first Certified Pure Wellness clinics in Asia with the first location slated to open in BGC in November, raising the standard of indoor hygiene and client comfort and peace of mind to a whole new level,” announced Gitsis.

Dr. Hayden Kho, COO of Belo Medical Group, confirmed this and even talked about how breathing clean air contributes to being and looking beautiful.

“Vicki (Belo) was quoted saying, ‘You are what you eat.’ But we rephrased it with, ‘You are the air that you breathe.’ We only say that because we only eat three times a day but we breathe 20 times a minute. And so we installed these in our clinics because we want our patients to breathe in beauty. We are in the business of beauty, I think when we breathe polluted air, we get rashes, allergic reactions. Even our cortisol level, which is a stress hormone, goes up. Why? Because the moment we have stresses in our body, you have cortisol and you get bloated. So, breathing pure air is really important in our business. And we want to be holistic in our approach,” he enthused.