Is there anything bad about air purifiers?

Headaches, sore throats, coughs, asthma attacks, and difficulty breathing are some of the symptoms that some air purifiers can cause. In fact, your air purifier can aggravate many of the health problems you were hoping to solve.

Is there anything bad about air purifiers?

Headaches, sore throats, coughs, asthma attacks, and difficulty breathing are some of the symptoms that some air purifiers can cause. In fact, your air purifier can aggravate many of the health problems you were hoping to solve. Fortunately, all air purifiers don't cause these difficulties, and some work as advertised. But how do you know the difference? Let's see why some types of air purifiers work wonders for health and well-being, while others can be dangerous.

This fact sheet provides information on air purifiers, including the different technologies used, selection and use. The use of air purifiers can be an important strategy to help improve indoor air quality (IAQ). For additional information on air conditioning quality, see the environmental health and safety guide on air conditioning quality. Ozone is a colorless gas that occurs naturally in the Earth's upper atmosphere and protects us from harmful ultraviolet sunlight, although it can also be form at ground level.

It is known to cause the formation of free radicals in biological systems, which damage tissues. One damage mechanism is the result of reactions between ozone and olefins, and another, the reaction of ozone with electron donors (such as glutathione). Inhaling relatively small amounts of ozone can cause coughing, chest pain, throat irritation, and difficulty breathing. Air filters that generate ozone are devices that purposely create ozone to clean the air through chemical interactions that alter the compounds of the pollutants; however, this is also the mechanism by which ozone has harmful effects on health.

In addition, ozone is generally ineffective in controlling indoor air pollution at lower concentrations. In other words, if the ozone concentration in the room is high enough to be effective in cleaning the air, it is also high enough to create an inhalation hazard for people in the room. In addition, ozone can even react with existing chemicals in the air and create harmful by-products (e.g., for these reasons, EH&S does not recommend the use of electronic air purifiers or ozone generators) under no circumstances) .Electronic air purifiers (including ionizers, electrostatic precipitators, hydroxyl generators and ultraviolet light) use electrical voltage to convert oxygen molecules, or other species, into their charged ionic components that inactivate airborne pollutants, in a process called bipolar ionization (BPI). The ionic components of oxygen are reactive radicals that are capable of removing hydrogen from other molecules.

In the case of bipolar ionization, positive and negative ions surround the air particles, destroying the germs and pathogens present, and the added mass helps the air particles to fall to the floor and enter the building's air filter. However, BPI can emit ozone and other species of free radicals as a by-product, and may be less effective than other cleaning technologies, since charged particles in the air sometimes adhere to room surfaces (e.g.Floors and walls) instead of leaking. Filtering air filters pass air through a filter, where polluting particles or gases are sequestered, and return clean air to the room. There is some popular controversy surrounding the extent to which air filters can reduce the presence of larger particles (such as pollen, household dust allergens, mold spores, and animal dander), but most of these large particles settle on home or office surfaces and cannot be removed with an air purifier unless altered and resuspended in the air.

Therefore, regular cleaning is the best way to eliminate larger allergens. Air purification units have air volume limitations that are identified by a “clean air supply rate” (CADR). A CADR is the cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air from which all particles of a given size distribution have been removed. The CADR indicates the volume of filtered air that an air purifier delivers per unit of time, with three different scores for smoke, pollen and dust, representing different particle sizes.

The higher the CADR number for each pollutant, the faster the unit will filter the air for contaminants of a given size range. A carbon filter is the most suitable unit for removing gaseous VOCs from the air, such as when gases are released in new furniture. However, if you notice an odor in a room, first contact EH&S for an evaluation. The best course of action is to eliminate and control the source of the odor, and EH&S can perform an evaluation to do so and develop a remediation plan.

HEPA filters are better at removing particles from the air. The 0.3 micron diameter specification answers the worst-case scenario, or the most penetrating particle size (MPPS). Larger or smaller particles are trapped with even greater efficiency. If the most unfavorable particle size is used, the most unfavorable efficiency rating is obtained (i.e., minimum efficiency reporting values, or MERV, for short) indicate the ability of a filter to capture larger particles between 0.3 and 10 microns (µm).

EH&S recommends HEPA filters for particles and aerosols. All filters need to be replaced regularly as specified by the manufacturer in the product's user manual. If a filter is dirty and overloaded, it won't work well. With proper care and maintenance, the portable air filter will continue to function properly and filter the air.

Consider buying replacement filters with the air filter. Carbon filters can passively absorb VOCs from the air, so make sure they remain sealed until installed in the unit to extend their lifespan. According to the EPA, there is currently no evidence to suggest that a reasonable number of indoor plants are effective at removing significant amounts of indoor air pollutants. Indoor plants should not be overwatered because soil that is too moist can promote the growth of microorganisms that can affect allergic people.

Another problem with these ionizers is that they can produce ozone, “and this is very bad in an indoor environment,” says Dr. James Sublett, former clinical professor and head of allergy and immunology at the University of Louisville. Ozone is a type of oxygen molecule produced by electrostatic reactions. Although it exists naturally in the air we breathe, its concentrations tend to be very low.

At higher concentrations, it can damage lungs and respiratory tissue, Sublett explains. Ozone should be avoided, even in small quantities, and the air purifiers that generate it should not be used. Install this type of filter in your home's central heating and cooling system and remember to change it every three months. That way, you'll be able to largely clean your indoor air of substances that can cause or worsen allergies and asthma, Sublett says.

Another recent study on air ionizers in school classrooms reduced particle concentrations and led to some improvements in the respiratory health of children aged 11 to 14. Ionizers had an adverse effect on heart rate variability (a measure of cardiovascular health), meaning that any benefit to the lungs came at a cost to the heart. The industry uses a term called CADR or clean air supply rate to express the volume capacity of an air purifier. The health impacts of air ionizers are largely unknown, although a small number of recent studies are a cause for concern. To have a real effect on air quality, ozone would have to be present in qualities higher than what most public health standards consider safe. The WYND air purifier is one of the smallest on the market and has been proven to release eight liters of purified air per second.

To help solve everything, I simplified the problem by classifying them into groups based on the technology they use, considering that some air purifiers use several technologies in their design and cross these boundaries. There are also some types of these, including HVAC filters, portable air purifiers, and ceiling mounted air purifiers.

Eloise Grosshans
Eloise Grosshans

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