Is it safe to be in a room with an air purifier?

Research experts fear that electronic air purifiers (including the last two types of air filters on this list) may produce ozone gas and other pollutants that can be hazardous to health. Therefore, filter air purifiers are considered to be the safest for home use. 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 IAQ, see the EH&S guide to IAQ. Ozone is a colorless gas found naturally in Earth's upper atmosphere and protects us from harmful ultraviolet sunlight, although it can also 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. Ozone-generating air filters 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 exerts 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 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 any circumstances).

Electronic air filters (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. of 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 it can be less effective than other cleaning technologies, since charged particles in the air sometimes adhere to room surfaces (for example, floors and walls) instead of being filtered. 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, which represent 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, contact EH&S first to carry out 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 older. The use of the most unfavorable particle size results in the most unfavorable efficiency rating (i.e., minimum efficiency reporting values, or MERV), indicating the ability of a filter to capture larger particles between 0.3 and 10 microns (µm). EH&S recommends using 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 in removing significant amounts of indoor air pollutants. Indoor plants should not be over-watered because soil that is too moist can promote the growth of microorganisms that can affect allergy sufferers. In general, most air purifiers are perfectly safe when you're around your baby, as long as you take some precautions. Air purifiers with filters eliminate air pollution, so they can help keep your baby healthier.

The best place to place an air purifier is somewhere in the breathing area. The closer the unit is to your head, the shorter the distance clean air will have to travel before it reaches you. In the bedroom, this usually means placing the air purifier on a nightstand or small table near the bed. To address concerns that box fans in home air purifiers may be associated with an increased fire risk, the EPA and Underwriter Laboratories evaluated the use of household air filters and the risk of fire.

Although your first instinct may be to place your air purifier on the floor, in a corner, or somewhere hidden, especially if your unit doesn't fit with your home decor, doing so can prevent it from effectively cleaning the air. That's why everyone should avoid air purifiers that generate ozone, and electronic air purifiers are generally not recommended. When used properly, air purifiers can help reduce airborne contaminants, including viruses, in a home or in confined spaces. Evidence from multiple studies indicates that well-constructed home air purifiers can be comparable to commercial air cleaners in reducing airborne particles (including viral particles).

Placing an air purifier in your bedroom can significantly decrease the presence of pollutants in the air that can affect your sleep at night, especially if you place it on a nightstand near your headboard. This can block air from entering and reduce the rate at which the unit can suck in and clean air in the room. People often choose to place their air purifier in a corner or behind a TV because it can clash with their bedroom decor. As for air flow, ventilation grilles and fans in HVAC can cause horizontal air movement, and changes in temperature can cause a vertical movement of air.

Running the air purifier with old, clogged filters can slow the rate at which air moves through the unit. 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.