Can Air Purifiers Help to Keep You Safe from COVID-19 Indoors? Experts Share the Facts.
Air filtration experts share how air purifiers work to keep people safe from COVID-19 inside their homes.
The threat of COVID-19 is far from over. As reopening measures continue with varying degrees of success, a greater emphasis is being placed on strategies that offer a higher level of protection.
Experts from Camfil, a leader in air filtration solutions with applications ranging from commercial buildings and industrial applications such as the food and beverage industry to highly sensitive biosafety labs, share their advice in a new video. Camfil’s Martin Gravel has worked with a wide range of air filtration applications throughout the last fourteen years, specializing in helping facilities find the right solutions for their needs and to do more with less, particularly using absolute HEPA filters some of which can t remove 99.99999% of harmful particles effectively.
“The air filtration industry is clearly a defensive one,” says Mark Davidson, Manager of Marketing and Technical Materials at Camfil USA, “Our goal is to put up a defense against the enemy, so to speak, droplets carrying the COVID-19 virus.”
There are two enemies' to target: large respiratory droplets, and droplet nuclei. When we simply breathe regularly, we release about 50 droplets per second, and more when we talk, cough, sneeze or sing.
How Can We Defend Ourselves Against Respiratory Droplets?
Even though they’re invisible to the naked eye, respiratory droplets are large in the world of particulate matter — specifically, larger than five microns in diameter — meaning that they don’t stay airborne for very long. Respiratory droplets are primarily encountered in close contact with other people, or after they settle on surfaces. Many of the existing measures are designed to protect us from this form of transmission, including:
- Maintaining 6-foot social distancing.
- Limiting excessive contact with strangers, or exposure to public places.
- Wearing masks in public places or at gatherings with people outside of our households.
- Frequently and thoroughly sanitizing surfaces.
How Can We Defend Ourselves Against Aerosols?
Droplet nuclei — sometimes referred to as aerosols, are smaller than five microns in diameter. Because of their light weight, they can remain suspended in the air for longer periods of time. There is a growing suspicion that airborne droplet nuclei and aerosols may contribute to an increase in transmission rates far greater than originally believed. For example, researchers have shown that airflow in a restaurant in Guangzhou, China, contributed significantly to spreading the virus from one man to nine other people. (Asymptomatic cases are not included in this figure, so the actual number may have been higher.)
This is where the benefit of room air purifiers comes in. In addition to other mitigation techniques, various forms of air filtration can help minimize the risks of droplet nuclei or aerosol transmission. “We can’t afford to just put a bandaid solution on something that’s much graver than that,” says Mr. Gravel.
Although the existing HVAC systems in many commercial and public buildings do not have the capacity to handle filters rated MERV-13A or higher, as recommended and mandated by certain jurisdictions, in-room air purifying units with true-HEPA filters can provide additional protection. “Remember that a filter is only as good as the mechanism that supports it,” Mr. Gravel advises. For more information about choosing an in-room air purification unit, see Camfil’s full video, and contact a HVAC and air filtration expert to determine the best solution for your unique needs.
About Camfil Clean Air Solutions
For more than half a century, Camfil worldwide has been helping people breathe cleaner air. As a leading manufacturer of premium clean air solutions, we provide commercial and industrial systems for air filtration and air pollution control that improve worker and equipment productivity, minimize energy use, and benefit human health and the environment. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Camfil has been applying their decades of experience in biosafety containment, healthcare, and other sectors of the air filtration industry to provide technological solutions for the public as well as in hospitals and healthcare facilities.
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