Health Benefits of Air Purifiers
Health Benefits of Air Purifiers
There is more air pollution inside homes and businesses than outside of them. In fact, there was a study that discovered that within 52 homes in Arizona, there were 586 individual airborne substances (2). Imagine how many more air particles there are in other homes all over the world.
One of the reasons that the air is more polluted inside is that most buildings do not have much ventilation, at least, not one that compares to an outdoor environment. Areas with little to no ventilation are more capable of trapping pollutants like dust, a particle more commonly found in homes than anywhere else.
Though they may seem like simple irritants, dust poses as a magnet to bacteria, viruses, and dust mites, all of which can lead to allergic reactions to those with reactive airway diseases.
In addition, homes can house dangerous gases, which are created by wood and gas stoves, fireplaces, and kerosene and gas space heaters. When these gases are inhaled too often it can result in serious health issues to those affected.
All of these air pollutants are concerning due to the fact that 90% of our time is spent indoors. However, there is a convenient and effective way to remove these pollutants from a home or business: using an air purifier.
From reducing asthma and allergy triggers to preventing contamination of deadly substances, air purifiers can be beneficial in any commercial and residential environments including schools, hospitals, offices, and businesses. The following are just a few benefits of using an air purifier in your home or work environment
1. Air Purifiers Remove Triggers for Asthma Attacks
You are at a “high priority public health risk” when you are inside you home because that is where the most asthma triggers are found. Such triggers can include dry skin cells, dirt, dust, carbon monoxide, household cleaners, air-freshening sprays, smoke from cooking, paint products, cosmetics, perfumes, and hairsprays.
In addition, there may be mold spores or cockroaches in your work environment, both of which are triggers for an asthma attack. New carpets can also present threats as they release fumes (9)
If not removed from the air, the particles of these substances can be inhaled and cause wheezing amongst other asthma symptoms (8).
Tiny airborne particles can cause the most damage for those with asthma. Due to this, air purifiers that specifically remove microscopic impurities are ideal in treating asthma.
Other ways a person can reduce asthma triggers in their home include using hypoallergenic bedding, having hardwood floors, or dehumidifying the air, which can kill dust mites (2). Increasing air flow and using HEPA air filters will also reduce your indoor air pollution, thus lessening your chances of developing asthma or triggering asthma attacks.
Bottom Line: Due to the high number of asthma triggers that are found inside homes or establishments, air purifiers may be necessary in clearing the air of such triggers. Those that are created to remove small airborne particles are better suited for reducing the chance of an asthma attack.
2. Air Purifiers Eliminate Allergens, Such As Dust and Pet Odor
When you inhale dust, pollen, or pet odor, your body reacts to produce IgE, the allergy antibody. Allergic reactions comes with this response (10).
Air purifiers such as CritterZone can reduce pet odor, which can decrease the chance of you getting allergies (1, 12). The problem with CritterZone is that it can produce ozone, an allergy irritant.
On the other hand, there are other air purifiers available that can remove allergens like tobacco smoke, pollen, dust mites, and dander inside homes and businesses without using ozone.
Bottom Line: Breathing in dust, pollen, pet odor, and tobacco smoke can cause your body to produce IgE, which ignites allergic reactions. To counteract these reactions, it is best to find an air purifier that can remove these allergens without releasing ozone.
3. Air Purifiers Trap Tobacco and Cigarette Smoke, Preventing Lung Disease
Breathing in tobacco smoke can result in the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases as well as heart disease (7). Other side-effects of tobacco or cigarette smoke include ear infections, asthma, pneumonia, and bronchitis.
Secondhand smoke is just as dangerous particularly for children due to the fact that their lungs are still developing and their respiratory rates are higher than an adult’s. Meanwhile, elderly people are at a higher risk of getting dementia if they are exposed to secondhand smoke.
Air purifiers can remove smoke by using a HEPA filter and activated carbon (19).
HEPA filters can remove particles at .3 microns and cigarette smoke can be anywhere from 4 to .01 microns, which means that most cigarette or tobacco smoke can be drawn into a purifier where it will be trapped.
Activated carbon can also attract cigarette smoke as it becomes porous in high temperatures. When this happens, air pollutants such as chemicals, odors, gases, and smoke can pass through the activated carbon and become absorbed in the porous surface that it creates.
A Rabbit Air Purifier is best suited for eliminating smoke from your household as it features both HEPA filters and a Charcoal Based Activated Carbon filter, which uses charcoal pellets to filtrate common air pollutants.
Bottom Line: When inhaled, tobacco and cigarette smoke can cause serious health issues, such as asthma, bronchitis, and dementia. Children and the elderly are the most affected by tobacco smoke due to their poor respiratory systems. Air purifiers with HEPA filters and activated carbon are ideal in attracting and encasing smoke.
4. Air Purifiers Extract Airborne Asbestos Particles, Reducing Chances of Mesothelioma Development
Asbestos is a mineral that is made up of rich, durable fibers and is heat and chemical resistant. It was used for many everyday products, the most common of which were building materials, but now it has been proven that asbestos can cause mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that deeply affects the lungs, amongst other cancers and illnesses (13).
It can be especially difficult to determine if a product is made with asbestos as it is odorless and tasteless. It may take decades for symptoms of diseases like asbestosis, lung cancer, and pleural mesothelioma to show.
Despite the threat, products can still be made from asbestos if there is no other choice, therefore asbestos may still be around. These products are those that require fireproof and heat resistant materials such as protective clothing, pipe insulations, and brake linings.
Houses that were built before the 1980s and areas in California and Montana may have asbestos. Products that contain the mineral include insulation, cement, drywall, and ceiling and floor tiles. However, none of these products will be hazardous until they are damaged or cut.
Those who have worked or are currently working with asbestos products can be affected by it as well as people who have been in contact with the clothes or skin of those who had. This can include immediate family members.
To rid your home of asbestos materials, it is recommended that you hire an abatement expert who will use government regulations to properly remove the hazardous element. During the time of the removal, asbestos particles will become airborne.
During these cases, it is advised that workers or homeowners use air purifiers or air-purifying respirators so that so that the chances of breathing in asbestos is lessened.
Bottom Line: Asbestos is a mineral that was once popular in building materials, but is now considered deadly, causing lung diseases like mesothelioma. However, asbestos products are still around today for practicality reasons. Removing them requires professional help and air purifiers to prevent inhaling the airborne particle.
5. Air Purifiers Eliminate Radon Gas, Which Can Cause Lung Cancer
Breathing in certain gases can lead to the development of lung cancer (4).
Radon gas, for example, is produced from a natural combination of uranium in soil, rock, and water. It can be found in homes, offices, and schools as it enters through cracks in the floors and walls, construction joints or gaps around service pipes, electrical wires, and sump pits.
Everyone is at risk of being contaminated by radon gas, but if levels of radon gas are too high is an establishment, deathly results can occur. In fact, anywhere from 15,000 to 22,000 lung cancer deaths are linked to radon gas each year.
Recommendations in reducing radon levels include sealing cracks in your floors and walls, increasing ventilation in your pipes and fans by using sub-slab depressurization, or by using air purifiers, which can suck the gas into their units, removing them from your living space.
Bottom Line: Air purifiers can help eliminate radon gas from your home, as well as offices and schools. This can prevent the development of lung cancer.
6. Air Purifiers Remove Outside Fumes and Pollutants in Urban Environments
It was discovered that allergic diseases are more common where there is modern, urban life such as areas in the developed countries of North America and Europe, as opposed to Third World Countries where the amount of people with allergic diseases are few (10).
There are also higher rates of allergy and asthma in cities and near highways. This is because the pollutants near these locations include ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and Diesel exhaust particles, all of which can be hazardous to those with allergies and asthma.
Well-ventilated homes are the best way to battle pollution inside and outside of a home (11). You can best ventilate a home by using air purifiers.
Bottom Line: Air pollution can be drawn into a home, and depending on your home’s location, may irritate those with allergies and asthma. Those near cities are more likely to have high air pollution from outside sources. Homes in urban areas can reduce the flow of outside pollution through ventilation via an air purifier.
7. Air Purifiers Reduce Carbon Dioxide Levels in Your Home
Inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide is our natural carbon cycle, but when confined in a space without the possibility of oxygen circulation such as having plants or opening windows and doors, carbon dioxide is produced too often and oxygen not enough, which can be harmful to our bodies as we breathe in the carbon dioxide by mistake (2).
Consuming too much carbon dioxide can cause shortness of breath, headaches, dizziness, weakness, loss of mental abilities, unconsciousness, nausea, increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, drowsiness, lung diseases, and death (18).
Having a HEPA air purifier can reduce carbon dioxide in the air, preventing side-effects that breathing in carbon dioxide can bring.
Bottom Line: Breathing in carbon dioxide may occur more often in a home that realized since there may be little to no oxygen circulation or recreation in an interior environment. Air purifiers can provide as a decent solution as it cleanses the air of carbon dioxide and circulates the air.
8. Air Purifiers Eliminate Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), Lowering Risk of Developing Leukemia and Lymphoma
VOCs are chemicals that can reach high vapor pressure when at regular room temperature, which can present an irritating aroma and can damage your health since it can lead to cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma.
These chemicals can be found in paints and other coatings for walls and furnishings, as well as clothes from the dry cleaners, air fresheners, aerosol sprays, stored fuels, and auto products (7, 17).
You may be able to tell if there is VOC in your home if you have watering eyes, nausea, and difficulty breathing as you experience a burning or choking sensation in your throat.
The amount of VOC that you bring into your home can be reduced by purchasing “exterior grade” pressed wood products in addition to using air purifiers which can remove the vapors from your environment and storing them in their separate device.
Bottom Line: Volatile organic compounds (VOC) are chemicals found in paints, furniture coatings, and aerosol sprays that have a strong smell and can cause leukemia and lymphoma. VOCs can be reduced when you are using air purifiers.
9. Air Purifiers Remove Potentially Dangerous Insects Such as Mosquitoes, Preventing Malaria Infections
Purifiers can get rid of annoying and hard-to-get insects, any one of which can pass on germs or even diseases (5). This prevents the need for sprays that are effective in killing insects, but may bring toxins into the air.
Even when you use insecticides, it will not guarantee that all insects will be affected by it. Mosquitoes, for instance, do not die from such toxins and are responsible for serious diseases such as malaria infections (16).
However, since air purifiers can eliminate such bugs, insecticides pose as harmful and unnecessary while purifiers seem more helpful and efficient.
Bottom Line: Air purifiers are more effective in killing insects than sprays that can add more air pollution to your home and be damaging to your health. Purifiers can also lessen your chances of contracting malaria infection since it eliminates bugs that pass these viruses on.
10. Air Purifiers Lessen Contamination in Hospitals and Health Clinics
Most doctors’ offices are near freeways or other urban areas where they can draw in a lot more outdoor pollution.
The indoor pollution within these facilities can be even more destructive than anywhere else because people there are in close proximity to airborne viruses, bacteria, and disinfectants that are meant to terminate such bacteria, but leaves toxins in the air as a result (14).
These viruses and bacteria can settle anywhere in these areas and contaminate other patients. Such items on which these germs can settle are on magazines, office brochures, clipboards, doorknobs, and pens.
A solution to this issue is to bring an air purifier into doctors’ offices, which will be able to remove the particles from the air before they can settle and infect others. They can also eliminate toxins from the disinfectants which can possibly be just as dangerous as the viruses themselves.
Air purifiers can be used in examination or operation rooms as well so that they can cleanse the air of contaminants which can affect the doctors or nurses. Likewise, HEPA filters, which are a key part of the most effective of air purifiers, have been worn by doctors when handling patients with diseases like tuberculosis (2).
Bottom Line: In hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ or dentists’ offices, air purifiers can be used to remove bacteria and disinfectants from the air, which can prevent the spreading and development of diseases. Physicians also use these devices when operating on those with infectious ailments to avoid being contaminated.
11. Air Purifiers Protect Children, the Elderly, and the Chronically Ill from Respiratory Illnesses
The most affected by indoor pollutants are those who spend the most time indoors such as the younger and older generations and the chronically ill, particularly those who have a type of respiratory or cardiovascular disease (6).
Children and babies can be at the highest risk of breathing air pollutants because contaminated air generally sinks closer to the ground due to its density. These are the areas that the younger ones are most likely located (2).
It also does not help that these groups have either poor or developing respiratory systems, which can make air pollutants that much more threatening.
Air purifiers can accommodate to their breathing conditions as they reduce the amount of hazardous elements in the air, thus decreasing the pollutants that is inhaled.
Bottom Line: Since air purifiers are able to remove most particles from the air, children, the elderly, and the chronically ill can breathe in cleaner air, which can prevent the development or worsening of diseases.
12. Air Purifiers Produce Clean Air Which Improves Mood Levels When Inhaled
Due to the clean air that you are breathing with an air purifier, you will become less agitated and maintain a more positive mood and even temper (5).
There are some air purifiers that use ionizers which produce “negative ions”. These ions cause positive moods and lessens depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or a depression that results from a change in the weather (15).
Bottom Line: Clean air can improve moods when inhaled. Air purifiers with ionizers produce better results in terms of increasing mood levels because they generate more “negative ions” which are responsible for boosting happiness and reducing depression.
13. Air Purifiers Removes Pollutants from Air, Which Reduce Stress
It has been proven that those who breathe unpolluted air are less stressed than those who breathe polluted air (16).
When breathing in purified or clean air, your cortisol levels will decrease, which will lessen stress and allows you to relax. This can improve your productivity, which will also reduce your stress (5).
Knowing that your living space, an area where you most likely spend most of your day, is free of polluted air can give you peace of mind. It brings you the knowledge that hazardous air particles are being removed from your home, reducing the likelihood of developing diseases caused by such elements. It gives you one less thing to worry about.
Bottom Line: Having clean air in your home or work space can decrease cortisol levels, which reduces stress, and gives you peace of mind as you do not have to worry about breathing in dangerous particles and developing illnesses from them.
14. Air Purifiers Generates Calm Noise, Which Improves Sleep Quality
Contaminated air disturbs a healthy sleep schedule because the polluted air can make you feel uncomfortable and may even smell (16).
Austin Air Purifiers are ideal for the bedroom since they remove the most toxins and pollution from the air, including chemicals, pet dander, benzene, ammonia, and odors from cooking (17).
Not only does an air purifier cleanse the air, it can also produce a calming sound. Though it is normal for an air purifier to make some noise, there are those that make such a soft and soothing sound that it almost hums you to sleep (5).
The sound that air purifiers can make has been compared to ocean waves or the calming winds on a mountain top, which some people find relaxing enough to fall asleep to (15).
Bottom Line: The clean air that air purifiers produce and the relaxing sounds that they make can ease people to rest and have a good night’s sleep.
15. Air Purifiers Increases Air Circulation, Which Results in the Entrapment of More Pollutants
If you have insulated, sealed, or caulked your home, though you have prevented your home from being chilly in the winter, you have also locked in air pollutants (7). Air purifiers can help circulate the oxygen in your home, and depending on an air purifier’s air delivery rating (ADR), a unit can circulate the air in a room up to 6 times per hours (5).
To improve air circulation without an air purifier, you would have to keep your windows and doors open as often as you can, which is not always plausible, and turn exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom.
Bottom Line: Though there are many ways to circulate the air in your home, the best solution is to use an air purifier which can circulate the air about 6 times a day depending on the model that you have. Circulating the air in your home will free dangerous particles from surfaces, allowing the purifier to trap them in their units.
Considerations When Choosing the Right Air Purifier
It may be intimidating to search for the right air purifier for your needs at a reasonable price, especially since there are more than 14 air-purifying techniques and multiple purifiers that are associated with each technique, but by learning more about what is available, you may be able to narrow down your search. The following are some factors to consider when choosing your purifier.
1. Know What You Need or Want Before You Search for the Best Price
Air purifiers can come in different variations, and thus, at different costs. To find the most suitable air purifier for your needs, it is recommended that you determine what exactly your needs are.
Do you want something that removes harmful particles or to get rid of odors? Do you wish to get rid of mold, dust for allergies, or pet stenches?
You must then consider the size, weight, and color of the appliance as well as the noise control.
Once you establish your requirements for an air purifier, you can then narrow down your choices for one. Ideally, an air purifier that has all of your requirements at a reasonable or cheap price would be the right purifier for you (2).
Be sure to research how much it may cost to replace a filter for your purifier and the price of each filter. A purifier may seem cheap at first, but it may be more expensive to maintain it as you continue to use it (3).
The best option for an air purifier is one that is meant for one room. These purifiers generally cost around $300. However, whole house purifiers can cost thousands of dollars as they require a lot of installation and electricity.
Bottom Line: It is recommended that you determine what you want out of your purifier before you go out and purchase one. Prices of purifiers may vary depending on their purposes. However, the average price of a decent air purifier for one room is usually $300, whereas whole house purifiers can cost thousands.
2. The Best Air Purifiers have HEPA (High-efficiency Particulate Air) Filters
HEPA filters trap particles which are highly effective in purifying air (1). These filters can remove nearly 100% of air pollutants including pollen, mold, spores, pet dander, and dust mites.
They can remove particles as small as .3 microns in diameter, a significant advantage since air pollutants of this size can cause respiratory diseases as serious as asbestos.
Air purifiers with HEPA filters use fans to draw them into their filters, trapping them into the machine. This process is better for the environment because it does not produce any ozone. These devices are mainly preferred for this reason in addition to it serving its purpose quickly and quietly, an ideal appliance in a home.
However, air purifiers with HEPA filters generally require a lot of energy, are hardly useful in removing tobacco smoke or household odors, and require a replacement of their filters every few years, though some filters are washable (2).
Bottom Line: Air purifiers with HEPA filters are customer favorites because they remove a great majority of pollutants from the air in a quiet and efficient manner, but they are not very effective in extracting tobacco smoke or smells from an environment.
3. Avoid Air Purifiers that Use Electronic Technology Rather Than HEPA Filters
In comparison to air purifiers with HEPA filters, units that do not use HEPA filters will not produce less satisfying results (1).
Instead, they will use electronic technology to reverse the change of particles so that they would get stuck on your furniture, floors, and clothing, not in the machine itself. This may not be very effective as the particles can return to the air if not dusted or vacuumed quickly enough.
Bottom Line: Unless you dust and vacuum your home often, air purifiers that use electronic technology, not HEPA filters, are not recommended because they cause airborne particles to settle on furniture instead of being trapped in the purifier, leaving them to return to the air later.
4. Your Air Purifier Should have the Capacity to Purify the Size of Your Room
Though you may purchase as many air purifiers as you want, if you only want one, you most likely will be using it where you or your entire family will be throughout most of the day. This area is usually the living room (1).
A good air purifier should eliminate a large amount of particles from the air, and the best way to find a device that does this is to search for an air purifier that is recommended for the room that you intend to place your purifier in, such as the living room. These purifiers vary based on the square footage of a room.
Therefore, you should measure the square footage of your room and then find an air purifier that is able to filter the air in a room of that size.
Bottom Line: It is recommended that you find an air purifier that has the capacity to purify the size of your room. Since more people use air purifier in their living rooms, it is suggested that your living room is the one you should measure and find a suitable purifier for.
5. Your Air Purifier Should be Small Enough to Move or Has the Ability to Latch onto Something Sturdy
You must consider where you are planning on placing your air purifier, should you obtain one.
There are commercial grade purifiers which can be small and unobtrusive as they stand alone and can be relocated as you see fit, or there are larger ones available that can be attached to an AHU (air handler unit) or an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) unit, which can be found in most businesses such as industrial, medical, and commercial residences (3).
Once you found a good air purifier, ensure that it’s filters, if it has some, are easy to operate, clean, and replace. Otherwise, you may be putting in more work and effort into it than necessary or than you would like.
Bottom Line: If you are looking for an air purifier for you home, you may want to look into air purifiers that are small, unobtrusive, and easy to move. However, if you are searching for device for your business, you may want a purifier that can attach to your AHU or HVAC unit.
6. UVGI Air Purifiers are Ineffective in Eliminating Many Irritants Including Smells and Allergens
Some air purifiers, such as UVGI (ultraviolet germicidal irradiation) purifiers, use fans to suck in air and then shoot invisible ultraviolet rays at nearby particles which will kill or render dangerous airborne organisms inactive (2).
These purifiers are not always effective because larger particles need to be shot at by the ultraviolet rays multiple times for them to be destroyed completely.
The bulbs that the purifier uses loses its influence over time, which means that the consumer must replace the bulbs regularly which can be irritating. Buyers may also be annoyed with the fact that UVGI purifiers do not work against smoke, odors, allergens, or chemicals (3).
Bottom Line: Consumers may not be completely satisfied with UVGI air purifiers because it has a harder time destroying large particles, which leaves pollutants like smoke, odors, allergens, and chemicals in the air, and the bulbs to be replaced frequently.
7. Ionizing Purifiers can Clean and Circulate Air Quickly, but Produce a Lot of Noise
Ionizing purifiers go through a corona discharge process. In this process, neutral atoms will pass the purifier’s electric field and become either a positive ion or a negative one as an electron is either eliminated or added onto the atom. These ions will then be attracted to a magnet within the device, which means that they are removed from the air.
These types of purifiers can cause particles to settle on furnishings like the wall beside your purifier, which may not be pleasant for consumers. They also do not work on odors or kill germs and produce a lot of noise as they clean and circulate your air (2, 3).
To find a purifier that produces little noise, search for units that are around 35 decibels or are “whisper quiet”.
Bottom Line: Through a corona discharge process, ionizing purifiers transform neutral atoms into either a positive or negative ion which can be attracted to both the magnet of the purifier and to your furnishings. These purifiers can produce much noise, but quieter purifiers are available at around 35 decibels.
8. Search for Air Purifiers that are Certified by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) and Recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency
Purifiers that have been certified by AHAM have been proven to be suitable products (1, 3).
You will be able to tell which air purifiers have been certified by AHAM by their logo on the product packaging (20). These products will show the suggested room size of the model, if it has gone through energy testing, if they have met the ENERGY STAR criteria, and shows which pollutants it is responsible for reducing.
If a product has met ENERGY STAR criteria, it means that it is energy-efficient (21).
Some purifiers may not be good for everyday use as they hold significant purposes. For example, ozone generators are specifically directed towards eliminating bacteria such as those involved in mold and decay.
Though this can be beneficial, a side-effect is permanent odor and sterilized air instead of clean oxygen which can be more hazardous to one’s health than average air pollutants. The Environmental Protection Agency warns consumers against these products for the sake of your health.
Bottom Line: Air purifiers have been proven more effective by customers when the products were certified by AHAM and verified by the Environmental Protection Agency. These purifiers are ensured to work as they should, use appropriate energy levels, and are good for the environment and your health.
If you are interested in cleansing the air in your living spaces, but do not want to invest in an air purifier, you can keep your windows and doors open, which can circulate the air, but may not be good for all types of weather and can let bugs and outdoor pollutants in.
You should also dust and vacuum frequently, smoke outside, keep you and your pets clean, and keep your home at a reasonable temperature.
These methods sound simple enough, but, for some, are hard to perform regularly. Therefore, the best and most convenient way to keep air pollutants in your home or business at a minimum is to use an air purifier.
- 23 Mar, 2022