Governments, businesses, scientists, and individuals have a lot to say about outdoor air pollution and how it can be controlled. However, there is not much talk about indoor pollution and with the rates of asthma rising rapidly, especially among infants and children, it is time to give the issue some serious thought.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1990 labeled indoor air pollution as a high priority risk for the public and has made several suggestions for how to address the problem. The EPA has recommended limiting indoor air pollution by making sure the home has adequate ventilation, keeping control of sources of indoor pollution, such as heating equipment, paints and thinners, new electronics or carpeting, upholstered furniture, and cleaning products, and using indoor air cleaners, such as the Blueair 203 Air Purification System. It is always a good idea for allergy and asthma sufferers to speak to their doctors before purchasing air cleaner products or making changes in the home.
While air purifiers are certainly worth considering, eliminating the sources of indoor air pollution should be the first line of attack. Make sure countertops, rugs, furniture, and other surfaces are kept clean. Do not let people smoke in the house. If there are smokers in the family, strongly encourage them to quit. Aside from being an irritant to people with asthma and allergies, the U.S. Surgeon General has warned that secondhand smoke can cause lung cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illness.
While there are no federal standards in the U.S. for air cleaner performance, the Food and Drug Administration has ranked some portable air cleaners as Class II medical devices, which means the manufacturer has shown the device is safe and that it has a medical benefit. Keep in mind that rating systems used to compare filters are for manufacturing purposes and have no bearing on performance.
There are five basic types of single-room air filters available for purchase:
- Mechanical Air Cleaners like the fan-driven HEPA filters, force air through a special mesh that traps allergen and irritant particles in the air. Real HEPA, or high efficiency particulate air filters, must be able to trap 99.97 percent of all particles 0.3 microns or larger that enter them.
- Electronic Air Cleaners, such as ion-type cleaners, use electronic charges to attract and trap particles. Both of these cleaners produce ozone byproducts, most of which fall below the acceptable limit of 50 parts per billion set in the Code of Federal Regulations. Ask for proof from the manufacturer that a device falls below the limit.
- Hybrid Air Cleaners combine elements of the mechanical and electronic purifiers.
- Gas Phase Air Cleaners do not draw allergen particles from the air, but are used to remove odors cause by cooking gas, perfume, paint, and other non-particulate pollution.
- Ozone Generators produce ozone molecules as a direct product. While the ozone technically does clear the air of some particles, these machines are not generally recommended because of the high ozone levels they produce.
Another option for homes that have heat and air conditioning blown through ducts is to have filters built into the air handling system.
People looking to buy a portable indoor air cleaner should consider the size of their room, the types of substances it will or will not clean from the air, whether it meets the HEPA standard, how much noise it makes, how easy it is to change the filter, and the costs involved.
Visit AllergyAsthmaTech.com to see a great selection of home HEPA air purifiers, auto air purifiers, travel air purifiers, UV air purifiers, and replacement filters.