An examination of the different chemicals and pollutants that can threaten Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and how the correct air purifier can be selected to remove the contaminants from the air.
Riverdale, Nov. 28, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In today’s eco-conscious atmosphere, it is hard to find someone who isn’t up-to-date on the dangers of breathing polluted air, whether it is chemical-laced smog from a manufacturing plant, wildfire smoke, car exhaust, or airborne fibrous material from a nearby construction site. Everybody knows that polluted air is bad; that’s why air filters exist in homes, businesses, hospitals, and indoor gathering places.
But according to new research from Washington State University, some of the most harmful forms of air pollution are not coming from the places that most of us might think. While there is no question that outdoor air quality plays a significant role in our overall health, a real threat to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is likely coming from items that are already inside.
“What the WSU researchers found,” explains Mark Davidson Manager of Marketing and Technical Materials at Camfil USA, “Were surprisingly high levels of pollutants, including highly toxic ones like mercury and formaldehyde, inside average American homes and facilities where these chemicals would not otherwise be expected.”
For clean-air experts like Camfil USA, as well as for the broader American public, the findings reveal a startling truth about the importance of air filtration and IAQ in general.
WSU Research Supports Relationship Between Outside Temperature and Inside Air Quality
The researchers set out to look at the way that formaldehyde emissions either increased or decreased over the course of the day, using a selection of real American homes to secure the data. Their most immediate finding was that emission levels increased as the interior home temperatures increased, in some cases by as much as five parts per billion per single degree of temperature increase (C).
“As the day went on, the homes got hotter, and chemical emissions rose.” Davidson continued. “ What the researcher’s work suggests is that while modern HVAC systems are capable of maintaining comfort, the temperature still increases and the air filtration components of those systems may not be configured to handle the kind of chemical emissions that are coming out of new homes.”
How Gypsum Wallboard Can Threaten Indoor Air Quality
One of the most surprising findings of the WSU research was the possible correlation between the presence of gypsum wallboard in the home and high emission levels of formaldehyde and mercury. While this began as nothing more than a hunch, the researchers took a wallboard sample from the house and heated it up in a laboratory, and found the warmer the wallboard became, the more formaldehyde emissions were detected.
The implication here is that warm days might be enough to raise the chemical emission levels of materials and furnishings, not to mention things like radiant and in-floor heating.
The Most Effective Indoor Air Pollution Solutions
One solution that is gaining popularity around the world is portable room air purifiers. These compact particulate and molecular air filtration units are designed to go where they are needed, providing effective IAQ reduction independent of air filters in the central HVAC systems.
The City M Air Purifier is a prime example of a portable room air purifier that is capable of not only pulling dust and particulate out of the air (keeping the indoors cleaner in the process) but also providing much needed relief from the symptoms that could be caused by the presence of certain chemicals in the air supply of the home or facility.
Why Cheap Air Purifiers Are Not as Effective as They Need To Be
Because airborne chemicals and neurotoxic exposure have been directly linked to cognitive impairment, such as the reduced ability to think and learn, it is imperative that home buyers, building operators, or builders alike take the time to research the types of materials that are going into new construction projects. This is especially true when children are likely to live in the facility.
Not all air purifiers are designed to remove both particles and chemicals from the air. It requires two different style air filters; one specifically dedicated to removing particles, typically a HEPA filter, and the other is what’s known as a molecular filter, sometimes referred to as a carbon air filter.
The HEPA filter should be tested and certified to show it removes at least 99.995% of particles greater than 0.3 microns. Many air filters are labeled as HEPA or advertised as a True HEPA, but unless the manufacturer is able to provide a full test report demonstrating a filtration efficiency on 0.3 micron particles, the air filter should NOT be considered a HEPA. If the air purifier contains a molecular or carbon air filter, it should be validated per ISO 10121 or ASHRAE 145.2.
Spending money on an air purifier unable to prove performance that’s equal to these basic performance standards could mean essentially what was purchased is not much more than a very expensive fan that moves the air, but doesn’t clean the air.
Air Filter Replacement: How Often Should I Replace My Air Filter?
Asking how often air filters should be replaced is like asking how often the lawn should be cut; it depends on the rain, the weather, and the time of the year. With HEPA air filters, it depends on the actual real-world efficiency of the air filter (99.995%), the volume of media within the filter, and the dirt load. Generally speaking, a HEPA air filter in an air purifier should last at least 18 months. Air purifiers that guarantee a service life of 5 or 10 years should be carefully evaluated as that is questionable in a typical environment.
Camfil USA has emerged as a reputable expert in clean air technology. Their online product finder is a good place to start for anyone who is seeking new solutions for achieving quality indoor air.
Camfil USA Air Filters