Indoor Environmental Assessment with Irv: Portable Air Purifying Machines

In Irv's August blog, our environmental scientist will be discussing the benefits of portable air purifiers on your health

Many people today are considering or buying portable air purifying machines. These are usually small devices that occupy a space in a bedroom, living room or the area of primary concern. The goal is to improve the indoor air quality often due to a chronic illness or sudden on-set respiratory distress.


Most units are similar in their technologies although a few have what they proports to be advanced systems to clear the air of contaminants. Generally, the current Gold Standard is HEPA filtration. HEPA filters are designed to remove airborne particulates down to 0.3 microns in size. While viruses and bacteria are often smaller than0.3 microns the overall removal of indoor particulates is important with many individuals reporting improvement in their health when their air filtration units are operating.


Understanding indoor air pollution is important as the EPA has numerous documents that reflect poor health when particulates at or below 2.5 microns are elevated.


Consider that indoor dust carries bacteria, mold spores, hyphal fragments and viruses in addition to carpet fibers animal dander and skins cells (to name just a few). Such airborne dust (particulate matter) is easily inhaled by occupants with pollutants(contaminants) able to reach the lungs and sinus cavity. If the particulate levels are elevated then occupants can react quickly with respiratory issues as well as other symptoms that often defy traditional medical intervention.

With this in mind many individuals find that having a portable unit in their bedroom or main living areas provides relief as most systems will remove up to 50% of the airborne contaminants within several hours.


With many such units listed on the internet its difficult to decide which one to purchase. Our recommendation is to focus on robust HEPA filtration en lieu of any mysterious new technology.


Finally, in the age of COVID, many studies have demonstrated that the removal of airborne particulates also removes viruses. This suggests that homes and in fact businesses should provide good ventilation and particulate removal

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