Do Air Purifiers Work?
There has been a huge push since the 1980s to improve air quality. In the 80s, we saw record high levels of carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen oxide, volatile organic compounds, Direct PM10, Direct PM2.5, and Sulfur Dioxide in the air. In response, the United States put the Clean Air Act into place. This legislation restricts emissions. In response, since the 1980s, all of these levels, except PM10 and PM2.5, have decreased.
At first, this sounds amazing! The Clean Air Act is working!
Unfortunately, fine particles, such as PM10 and PM2.5, still pose a serious threat to human health and they are on the rise. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 91% of the world’s population lives in areas where air pollution levels are higher than the recommendations. It is estimated that this suffering air quality contributes to 4.2 million deaths each year.
Basically, we’ve started cleaning up our air… But we’ve got a long way to go.
What Can We Do About Our Indoor Air Quality?
So what can we do about our air quality? Every individual can make independent choices to decrease their carbon footprint, but the reality is the bulk of air pollution comes from the industrial sector. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), emissions of air pollutants from Gross Domestic Products increased by 173% between 1980 and 2020. That is a far larger increase than any other sector – including car miles traveled, another major contributor.
While legislation is starting to address emission outputs in manufacturing, there’s not much we can do about it now. What we can do right now is address the air quality in our homes and workplaces.
Americans spend around 90% of our time indoors. That number should be shocking in and of itself, but Richard Corsi, ph.D., PE, from Portland State University, puts this into startling reality. He says, “Americans spend more time inside buildings than some whale species spend underwater.”
So it’s time we look at our indoor air quality.
Indoor Air Quality Explained
We measure air quality using the Air Quality Index (AQI). The AQI measures air quality on a scale from 0 to 500:
- 0 to 50 is healthy,
- 51 to 100 is considered moderate,
- 101 to 150 is known to be unhealthy for sensitive groups,
- 151 to 200 is unhealthy for everyone,
- 201 to 300 is very unhealthy,
- And anything over 300 is considered hazardous for all groups.
While AQI is easy to find for outdoor areas throughout the world, it is much more difficult to find exact values for indoor air quality. Even though we spend so much of our time indoors, the reality is that the same attention is not paid to indoor air quality as it is to outdoor air quality. What we do know is some pollutant concentrations are 2 to 5 times higher indoors than outdoors.
Why does this happen? In the 1970s, we experienced an energy crisis. To combat this, we started to develop tightly sealed homes. While improving energy efficiency, these tightly sealed homes also sealed in pollutants and contaminants, increasing their concentration. We also do a lot in our homes: working out that increases the carbon dioxide we breathe out, spraying aerosols, lighting candles, using wood heat, etc.
So something we can do to improve our indoor air quality is filter the air in our homes and workspaces with an air purifier.
But do air purifiers really work?
Do Air Purifiers Actually Work?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor filtration is an effective way of reducing air pollutants. The EPA warns, though, that many air purifiers or filters are designed to only filter gasses or particles, but not both.
That is why, to determine if air purifiers really work, we look primarily at one factor: filtration.
Air purifiers should use some sort of fan or vacuum system to pull air in and through a filter before pushing it back out. Assuming the air purifier is causing proper airflow, the filter really matters. Some questions you can ask include:
- Is the filter designed to filter gas or particles?
- Is it long-lasting?
- What is the efficiency of the filter?
- Is it a HEPA filter?
A High Efficiency Particulate Air filter (HEPA) is one that is designed to remove 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. For reference, a human hair is about 70 microns. So 0.3 microns is very, very small!
HEPA filters are used in ultra clean environments – like cleanrooms – which makes them the ultimate filter for air purifiers to use. Thus, for an air purifier to truly work, you want to make sure it is using a top notch filter while creating proper airflow. If an air purifier is using the same filter that is being used in cleanrooms – which are routinely assessed and certified for their cleanliness – it can do a decent job at filtering the air in your home or workspace. While normal buildings are not as controlled as a cleanroom, that level of filtration is still a powerful tool.
The Ultimate Air Purifier
So what does the ultimate air purifier look like? To us, it looks like an air purifier with a HEPA filter, state-of-the-art surface sanitization technology, long-lasting filters, and a completely customizable experience.
The good news is that, for the first time ever, that air purifier is available in the consumer market. Designed by the world’s clean air experts, this air purifier brings cleanroom-grade technology into our offices, coffee shops, gyms, stores, homes, and more. In studies and practical application, the Filtr Revolution proved to drastically improve air quality.
Is the Revolution right for you? Learn more about it today.