Home Sweet Home Or An Indoor Air Quality Nightmare?



Here's Everything You Need To Know About Those Silent Little Killers Within: Indoor Air Pollutants


Indoor Air Quality

Do your eyes burn? Do you complain of nose and throat irritations, headaches, dizziness or fatigue? Perhaps the problem is poor indoor air quality. In the last several years a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities. Through the Federal Clean Air Act, we regulate and control emissions from cars and industries. But such initiatives deal only with the outdoor environment where, on the average, we spend only 10 to 20 percent of our time. Research indicates that people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. As a result, indoor air pollution in the home is rapidly becoming recognized as a serious problem.

A growing number of illnesses and deaths are now being attributed directly to indoor air pollution. In addition, damage to the home itself can result when certain air contaminants are not properly controlled.

Sources of Indoor Air Pollution


When we talk about air quality we are referring to various natural and man-made pollutants in the air inside our homes. These pollutants can be chemicals, gases, particles and other substances. Below is a chart with links to information on over 100 common sources of indoor air pollutants in the average home:

Acid Acetone Aerosols Air Freshener Alkalies & Alkalines All-Purpose Cleaners
Aluminum Cleaners Ammonia Ammunition Anti-Bacterial Cleaner Antifreeze Arsenic
Arts & Crafts Asbestos Asphalt & Roofing Tar Automatic Transmission Fluid Batteries - Dry Cell Batteries - Wet Cell
Benzene Bleach (chlorine) Brake Fluid Camphor Car Wax Carbon Monoxide
Carbon Tetrachloride Carburetor Cleaner Carpet Cleaner Chlorofluorocarbons Cresol Detergent
Diesel Fuel Disinfectant Drain Cleaners Dry Cleaning Fluid Dyes Engine Degreaser
Fertilizer Flea Collars Floor Cleaner Foggers Formaldehyde Furniture Cleaner
Furniture Polish Gasoline Glass Cleaner Glues & Adhesives Hair Color Hair Permanent
Hair Spray Hydrofluoroic Acid Hydrogen Peroxide Insecticide Insect Repellent Insect Spray
Isopropyl Alcohol Kerosene Latex Paint Lead Lye Mercury
Methanol Methylene Chloride Mildew Remover Mothballs Motor Oil Nail Polish
Nail Polish Remover Naphthas Naphthalene Nitrobenzene Oil-based Paints Oven Cleane
Paint Paint Thinner Paint & Varnish Remover Paradichlorobenzene Perchloroethylene Pet Supplies
Petroleum Distillates Pharmaceuticals Phenol Photography Chemicals Pigments Pine Oil
Plastics Pool Chemicals Radon Roach Killer Rodent Killer Scouring Powder
Septic Tank Cleaners Shoe Polish Smoke Detector Sodium Carbonate Sodium Hypochlorite Solvent
Spot On" Flea and Tick Spray Spot Remover Starch Sulfur Dioxide Sulfuric Acid Toilet Cleaner
Toluene & Xylene Trichloroethane Trichloroethylene Weed Killer Window Cleaner Windshield Wiper Solution
Wood Preservatives Wood Stains and Finishes

In addition, either very high or very low humidity levels in the home can provide conditions suitable for bacterial or biological organisms such as mold, mildew, fungi, dust mites or viruses. Here's our extensive chart listing many of the bacterial, viral, and fungal componants of bioaerosols commonly found at the top of the list of indoor air pollutants, as well as the sources, particle size, and diseases each cause. Also, you won't want to miss our overview of biological pollutants.

RADON For much more information about Radon Gas visit our extensive Radon Bible

Sources:

Earth and rock beneath home; well water; building materials.

Health Effects:

No immediate symptoms. Estimated to cause as many as 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year. Smokers are at higher risk of developing radon-induced lung cancer.

Levels in Homes:

Estimated national average is 1 ½ picocuries per liter. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limit exposure is 4 picocuries per liter. Levels in homes have been found above 200 picocuries per liter. The higher the average concentration, the faster the corrective action should be taken.

To Reduce Exposure:

Test your home for radon. If levels exceed 4 pCi/L, get professional advice before planning and carrying out radon reduction measures.

Common controls include:

1. sealing cracks and other openings in basement floor. 2. ventilating the crawl space. 3. installing ventilation under the slab or basement floor (sub-slab depressurization), installing heat recovery ventilator (air-to-air heat exchanger).

Treat radon-contaminated well water by aerating or filtering through granulated-activated charcoal.

Detection:

Two types of do-it-yourself radon detectors are most commonly used in homes: charcoal canisters that are exposed for 2 to 7 days; and alpha track detectors that are exposed for 3 to 12 months. The alpha track is generally recommended because it monitors radon during variations of seasons.

FORMALDEHYDE For much more information about Formaldehyde visit our extensive Formaldehyde Bible

Sources:

Pressed wood products (hardwood plywood wall paneling, particle board, fiberboard) and furniture made with these pressed wood products. Urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI). Combustion sources such as heating.

Health Effects:

Eye, nose, and throat irritation; wheezing and coughing; fatigue; skin rash; may trigger severe allergic reactions; suspected of causing cancer. May also cause other effects listed under "organic gases."

Levels in Home:

Average concentrations in older homes without UFFI are generally well below 0.1 ppm (parts per million). In homes with significant amounts of new pressed wood products, levels can be greater than 0.3 ppm. Although no standard has been established for formaldehyde levels in all residences, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has recommended 0.1 ppm as the maximum level for continuous indoor exposure.

To Reduce Exposure:

Use "low fuming" or "exterior grade" pressed wood products (lower-emitting because they contain phenol resins, not urea resins). Use air conditioning and dehumidifiers to maintain a moderate temperature and reduce humidity. Increase ventilation, particularly after bringing new sources of formaldehyde into the home. Seal products and finishes containing formaldehyde using vinyl sheet flooring, paints, shellac, varnishes or lacquer.

Detection:

Do-it-yourself monitors (dosimeters) are available from hardware and industrial hygiene stores. This small measuring device is placed in a room for about a week, and then mailed to a laboratory for analysis.

CARBON MONOXIDE

 

Sources:

Product of incomplete combustion when natural gas, oil, wood, coal, tobacco and other materials are burned. Improperly maintained or faulty woodstoves, gas stoves, oil stoves and furnaces. Unvented kerosene and gas heaters; leaking chimneys and furnaces; down-drafting from wood stoves and fireplaces. Automobile exhaust from attached garages.

Health Effects:

At low concentrations, fatigue in healthy people and chest pain in people with heart disease. At higher concentrations, impaired vision and coordination; headaches; dizziness; confusion; nausea. Can cause flu-like symptoms that clear up after leaving home. Fatal at very high concentrations.

Levels in Homes:

Average levels in homes without gas stoves vary from 0.5 to 5 ppm. Levels near properly adjusted gas stoves are often 5 to 15 ppm and near poorly adjusted stoves may be 30 ppm or higher. No federal standard exists for carbon monoxide in residences. The EPA outdoor standard for carbon monoxide is 9 ppm exposure averaged over 8 hours and 35 ppm for a one-hour average exposure.

To Reduce Exposure:

Keep gas appliances properly adjusted. All gas and kerosene space heaters and furnaces should be vented to the outdoors. If possible provide fresh outside combustion air to fossil fuel heating systems. Install and use exhaust fan vented to outdoors over gas stoves. Use only water-clear 1-K kerosene as a fuel for kerosene space heaters. Open flues when gas fireplaces are in use. Choose properly sized wood stoves that are certified to meet EPA emission standards. Make certain that doors on all wood stoves fit tightly. Have a trained professional inspect, clean, and tune-up central heating system (furnaces, flues, and chimneys) annually. Repair any leaks properly. Do not idle car inside garage.

Detection:

Passive monitors are available for carbon monoxide.

NITROGEN DIOXIDE

Sources:

Kerosene heaters, unvented gas stoves and heaters. Tobacco smoke.

Health Effects:

Eye, nose, and throat irritation; may cause impaired lung function and increased respiratory infections in young children.

Levels in Homes:

Average level in home without combustion appliances is about half that of outdoors. In homes with gas stoves, kerosene heaters, or unvented gas space heaters indoor levels often exceed outdoor levels. No indoor standard has been set for nitrogen dioxide or nitrogen oxide. Healthy people are generally not affected at levels of 1.5 ppm or below, but sensitive individuals can experience respiratory tract irritation at 0.5 ppm. EPA's outdoor standard for maximum nitrogen dioxide is 0.05 ppm.

To Reduce Exposure:

See steps under carbon monoxide.

VOLATILE ORGANIC GASES/COMPOUNDS Acetone and Formaldehyde are two of the most common volatile organic gases likely in your home.

 

Sources:

Household products including: paints, paint strippers, and other solvents; wood preservatives; adhesives; aerosol sprays; cleaners and disinfectants; moth repellents; air fresheners; stored fuels and automotive products; hobby supplies; dry cleaned clothing; synthetic materials in carpeting, wall coverings, linoleum.

Health Effects:

Eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system. Some organics can cause cancer in animals; some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.

Levels in Homes:

Levels of several indoor organics average 2 to 5 times higher indoors than outdoors. During and for several hours immediately after certain activities, such as paint stripping, levels may be 1000 times above outdoor levels.

To Reduce Exposure:

Use household products according to manufacturer's directions or use alternative products. Use products outdoors or in well-ventilated indoor areas. Throw away unused or little-used containers safely; buy in quantities that you will use soon. Store chemicals in a well-ventilated outdoor area.

PESTICIDES

Sources:

Products used to kill household pests (insecticides and rodenticides). Also, products used on lawns and gardens that drift or are tracked inside the house (herbicides and insecticides).

Health Effects:

Irritation to eyes, nose, and throat; damage to central nervous system and kidney; cancer.

Levels in Homes:

Preliminary research shows widespread presence of pesticide residues in homes.

To Reduce Exposure:

Use strictly according to manufacturer's directions. Mix or dilute outdoors away from water supply. Apply only in recommended quantities. Take plants or pets outside, when possible to spray. Increase ventilation when using indoors. Use non-chemical methods of pest control where possible. If you use a pest control company, select it carefully. Do not store unneeded pesticides inside the home; dispose of unwanted containers safely. Store clothes with moth repellents in separately ventilated areas, if possible. Keep indoor spaces clean and well-ventilated in order to eliminate or minimize use of air fresheners.

LEAD For much more information about Lead visit our extensive Lead Bible

Sources:

Sanding or open-flame burning of lead-based paint (in 2/3 of homes built before 1940, 1/3 of homes built from 1940 to 1960). Activities involving lead solder. Automobile exhaust. Lead in drinking water leached from pipes using lead solder. (Soft and corrosive water can leach lead from pipes and plumbing fixtures.)

Health Effects:

Impaired mental and physical development in fetuses and young children. Decreased coordination and mental abilities; damage to kidneys, nervous system, and red blood cells. May increase high blood pressure.

Levels in Homes:

Lead dust levels 10 to 100 times greater in homes where sanding or open-flame burning of lead-based paints has occurred.

To Reduce Exposure:

If you suspect that paint you are removing may contain lead, have it tested. Unless it is peeling or flaking off, leave lead-based paint undisturbed. Do not sand or burn off. Cover lead-based paint with vinyl wallpaper or other building material (sheetrock). Replace lead-containing moldings and other woodwork or have them removed and chemically treated off-site. Use well-ventilated areas for hobby and house maintenance activities involving lead. Use "non-lead" solder. If lead exposure is suspected, consult your health department about appropriate removal and clean-up procedures and have your blood lead levels tested. Have your drinking water tested for lead.

BIOLOGICAL - more information may be found on our Biological Pollutants page

Sources:

Poorly-maintained humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and air conditioners; dishwashing, showers, baths, cooking, launderings, indoor spa, hot tub and sauna. Moisture-related micro-organisms such as spores, mold, mildew, mites, bacteria and viruses may multiply in high humidity. Here's our extensive chart showing many of the components of this toxic bioaerosol commonly found in most homes. It lists the source, diseases, and particle size of many fungal, bacterial, and viral sources. Many of these may be entering your lungs right now!!!

Health Effects:

Eye, nose, and throat irritation; shortness of breath; dizziness; lethargy; fever; digestive problems. Asthma; humidifier fever; influenza and other infectious diseases.

Levels in Homes:

Indoor levels of pollen and fungi are lower than outdoor levels (except where indoor sources of fungi are present). Indoor levels of mites are higher than outdoor levels.

To Reduce Exposure:

Install and use fans vented to outdoors in kitchens and bathrooms. Vent clothes dryers to outdoors. Clean cool mist and ultrasonic humidifiers daily and use only distilled water in them. Empty water trays in air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and refrigerators frequently. Use basements as living areas only if they are leak-proof and have adequate ventilation. Use dehumidifiers, if necessary to maintain humidity at 30-50 percent. Clean and dry, or remove, water-damaged carpets.

RESPIRABLE SUSPENDED PARTICLES (RSP)

Sources:

Fireplaces, wood stoves, and kerosene heaters. Tobacco smoke. Soap powders, pollen, lint and dust. (Tobacco smoke and asbestos listed separately.)

Health Effects:

Eye, nose, and throat irritation; respiratory infections and bronchitis; lung cancer. (Effects attributable to environmental tobacco smoke are listed elsewhere.)

Levels in Homes:

As of yet no standard for RSP's, although EPA has an outdoor standard for total suspended particulates (TSP) - 75 ug/m3. Particle levels in homes without smoking or other strong particle sources are the same as, or lower than, outdoor levels, 20 ug/m3. In one study with two or more smokers, an average monthly concentration of RSP was measured at 75 ug/m3.

To Reduce Exposure:

Vent all furnaces to outdoors; keep inside doors to the rest of the house open when using unvented space heaters. Choose properly sized wood stoves, certified to meet EPA emission standards; make certain that doors on all wood stoves fit tightly. Have a trained professional inspect, clean, and tune-up central heating system (furnace, flues, and chimneys) annually. Repair any leaks promptly. Change filters on central heating and cooling systems and home air purifiers according to manufacturer's directions.

ASBESTOS - go to our Asbestos page for more specifics about Asbestos

Sources:

Deteriorating or damaged insulation, flooring, pipe wrap fireproofing, exterior siding, acoustical materials, and many other construction materials found in older houses.

Health Effects:

No immediate symptoms. Chest, abdominal and lung cancers and asbestosis. Smokers are at higher risk of developing asbestos-induced lung cancer.

Levels in Homes:

Elevated levels can occur in homes where asbestos-containing materials are damaged or disturbed by cutting, sanding or other remodeling activities.

To Reduce Exposure:

Seek professional advice to identify potential asbestos problems. Do not disturb (cut, rip or sand) materials suspected of containing asbestos. Use trained and qualified contractors for control measures that may disturb asbestos and for cleanup. Follow proper procedures in replacing woodstove door gaskets that may contain asbestos.

TOBACCO SMOKE If you smoke and your home has elevated Radon Gas Levels your risk of Lung Cancer goes way up!

 

Sources:

Cigarette, pipe, and cigar smoking.

Health Effects:

Eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, bronchitis; pneumonia. Increased risk of respiratory and ear infection in children. Can cause lung cancer and may contribute to heart disease. Increased risk to radon and asbestos induced lung cancer.

Levels in Homes:

Particle levels in homes without smokers or other strong particle sources are the same as, or lower than, those outdoors. Homes with one or more smokers may have particle levels several times higher than outdoor levels.

To Reduce Exposures:

Stop smoking and discourage others from smoking. If you do smoke, smoke outdoors. Ventilate home.

AIR QUALITY
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

How do I know if my house has an indoor air quality problem?

If you are concerned about indoor air quality, you can make a common-sense diagnosis by documenting health complaints. Professionals often use the following questions when considering the possibility of indoor air polution:

  • What health complaints have you or your family experienced?
  • Are complaints reported by more than one family member?
  • When were these complaints first noticed?
  • Can you associate these complaints with certain events or activities, like moving to a new house, remodeling, or adding new furnishings, carpeting or draperies?
  • Do the health complaints occur seasonally, at a particular time of the day or when a family member is in a particular part of the house?
  • How often do the complaints occur and how long do they last?
  • Do the complaints or reactions go away when you are away from the house? Do they return when you return home?
  • Do visitors have the same reactions or health complaints?
  • Are the complaints or reactions less severe when you ventilate the house?

Sampling techniques that detect and measure pollutants in your house vary in difficulty and expense. Contaminated indoor air quality testing for some pollutants like organic compounds, carbon dioxide and asbestos, may require a certified industrial hygienist using special equipment. These tests can cost up to several hundred dollars.

You can purchase inexpensive monitors or detectors which measure formaldehyde, radon, nitrogen dioxide, water vapor and other pollutants from hardware and industrial hygiene stores. The devices can be installed and left in your house for a certain period of time. Usually, you must return them to a laboratory for analysis and that cost is often included in the purchase price of the monitor or detector.

One exception is asbestos. A homeowner can send a sample of a suspected asbestos containing material to a lab for "bulk analysis." Ask the laboratory about how to take the sample, and what safety precautions to observe. If you suspect that there may be asbestos fibers circulating throughout your house, a different process is used. A sample for airborne asbestos fibers requires special equipment and the skills of a trained asbestos removal contractor or certified industrial hygienist. You can find these listed in the yellow pages or business section of your telephone directory.

What simple procedures can I use to assess the indoor air quality in my home?

The following checklist can be used to assess the potential for indoor air quality problems in your home. First, carefully answer the following questions.

INDOOR AIR QUALITY ASSESSMENT CHECKLIST*

Do you have any unvented combustion appliances?

Yes

No

Do any household members smoke in your house?

Yes

No

Do any furry pets live indoors?

Yes

No

Do you have any house plants?

Yes

No

Do you use insecticides or other pesticides indoors?

Yes

No

Do you park your cars in an attached garage?

Yes

No

Do household members do: woodworking, gluing, jewelry making, pottery making, painting, soldering, welding, photography or model building?

Yes

No

Do you use pressurized aerosol containers?

Yes

No

Is part of your living area below ground?

Yes

No

Is your house insulated with urea-formaldehyde (installed within the past 2 or 3 years) or asbestos?

Yes

No

Are heating vents corroded or rusted?

Yes

No

Do burner flames on gas heating or cooking appliances appear yellow instead of blue?

Yes

No

Do you have water leakage in your basement?

Yes

No

Strength of Indoor Contaminants

 

 

Are unusual and noticeable odors in your house?

Yes

No

Is the humidity level unusually high or is moisture noticeable on windows or other surfaces?

Yes

No

Does the air seem stale?

Yes

No

Are any of the following symptoms noticeable among residents: headaches, itchy or watery eyes, nose or throat infection or dryness, dizziness, nausea, colds, sinus problems?

Yes

No

Is the house unusually warm or cold?

Yes

No

Is there a noticeable lack of air movement?

Yes

No

Is dust on furniture noticeable?

Yes

No

Is dust or dirt staining walls, ceilings, furniture, or draperies?

Yes

No

Have you weatherized your home recently?

Yes

No

Have you replaced an existing furnace with a new, high efficiency furnace?

Yes

No

High-Risk Household Members

 

 

Is any family member less than 4 or more than 60 years old?

Yes

No

Is anyone normally confined to the house more than 12 hours per day?

Yes

No

Does anyone have asthma, bronchitis, allergies, heart problems or hypersensitivity pneumonitis?

Yes

No

Does anyone often wake up in the morning with a headache?

Yes

No

Give yourself one point for each yes: 10 or more yes answers may indicate the potential for poor indoor air quality.

*Adapted from the Home Indoor Air Quality Checklist, American Lung Association, 1988.

What effect does air tightness have on indoor air quality?

The design, construction, and maintenance of a home determine to a large degree the amount of exchange between indoor and outdoor air. A home may keep outside pollutants from entering, retain pollutants, or both, to varying degrees. Since most home pollutants come primarily from indoor sources. So the more air exchanges there are within the home, the more often indoor pollutants are diluted with outdoor air to lower pollution concentrations.

The air exchange rate, a measurement of the amount of outdoor air that replaces indoor air over a specified period of time, is usually given as average air changes per hour or ACH. The more tightly constructed a house is, the lower its air change rate will be. Tightening a home may cause an increased concentration of indoor air pollutants already present in the home.

What if I have an indoor air quality problem?

There are three basic strategies to improve your indoor air quality.

Source control is usually the most effective. Some sources, like unvented kerosene space heaters, can be adjusted or modified to decrease emissions. Sometimes source control can be less expensive than increasing ventilation, which can also increase energy costs.

Improving ventilation may lower the concentration of pollutants in your home. Simply opening windows and doors will usually increase the natural ventilation rate. Turning on bathroom or kitchen exhaust fans which are vented to the outside can remove pollutants from the room. If you have a radon problem, you can keep a window open when using these fans, so that more radon is not drawn through the soil and into the house.

Exhaust fans can cause backdrafting of combustion appliances, if there isn't enough replacement air entering the house. When this happens, combustion exhaust products may spill into the house. If your house is very tight, use a balanced system that includes both exhaust and intake of air.

Larger mechanical ventilation systems can be expensive to install and operate. Whole-house ventilation can be a part of the heating and cooling system, or it can be totally separate. An exhaust-only system draws replacement air through various openings throughout the house. A balanced system adds fresh air intakes to supply the same amount of air that is exhausted from the house. The system should include some type of heat recovery, which uses outgoing warm air to preheat in-coming cold winter air.

If you look into a whole-house ventilation system, be sure that:

  • the system supplies fresh air to bedroom and living areas;
  • that exhaust air is removed from the kitchen and bathroom; and
  • that the distribution system includes all other rooms in the house.

Air cleaners can be effective for removing some pollutants. Home air purifiers are generally designed to remove particles and not gases from the air. However, the best air purifier can remove both with near 100% efficiency! The effectiveness of the home air purifier depends on:

  • how well it collects pollutants from the air (percentage efficiency rate) and,
  • how much air it draws through the cleaning or filtering element (cubic feet per minute).

 

The effectiveness of home air purifiers for reducing radon in the home has not been established and, at present, is not recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

SUMMARY

Whether you live in a new, energy-efficient home or an older, less-tight home, you will probably be exposed to one or more pollutants. Keys to improving the quality of indoor air include good ventilation, restricting the use of pollutant-producing products, controlling the pollutant at its source, and using alternative products.

If you think you have a serious pollution problem, you may wish to contact your county health office or the State Department of Health.

Your county Extension office may also be able to provide additional information about indoor air quality, sources of monitoring devices, and names of local or county health agencies which can provide assistance.

 


TABLE I: Common Indoor Air Pollutants, Sources, Health Impacts, and Controls

Pollutant

Major Sources in the Home

Possible Health Impacts

Controls*

Asbestos more information can be found on our Asbestos page

Insulation on pipes and ducts, wood-stove gaskets, ceiling tiles, resilient flooring and tiles, thermal insulation

Lung cancer, asbestosis, mesothelioma

Do not disturb existing asbestos containing materials; for asbestos containing materials that are friable (flaking or crumbling), coat with a sealant, enclose with airtight structure or have removed by a professional asbestos abatement contractor

Biological Contaminants

Molds, mildews and fungi, bacteria, viruses, dust mites

Allergies, respiratory irritation, infectious diseases

Control relative humidity in house; ventilation and use of outside vented exhaust fans; if humidifiers are used, clean reservoir daily with chorine bleach or disinfectant, or follow manufacturer's instructions for cleaning

Combustion Products
Carbon Dioxide
Carbon Monoxide
Nitrogen Dioxide

Unvented space heaters (natural gas, propane gas, kerosene, fuel oil and charcoal), unvented gas stoves, woodstoves and fireplaces, tobacco smoke, human respiration, outside air

Headaches, drowsiness, dizziness (carbon dioxide) Impairment of vision and brain functioning, irregular heart functioning, nausea, mental confusion, death (carbon monoxide) Respiratory distress and lung damage (nitrogen dioxide).

Supply adequate combustion air for appliances, especially by use of outside air for combustion; have gas or oil furnaces and exhaust systems checked annually; use exhaust fans vented to outside; use catalytic converters on kerosene and woodstove heaters; use multistage kerosene space heaters; home air purifiers

Formaldehyde

Particle board, plywood, paneling, ureaformaldehyde foam insulation, furnishings and finishes on home textiles.

Irritation of skin, eyes and mucous membranes (nose and throat), headaches, nausea, dizziness, coughing

Use building materials with little or no formaldehyde; seal formaldehyde -containing floor and wall surfaces with vinyl flooring, vinyl wallpaper and formaldehyde-absorbent paint; home air purifiers; ventilate area of house where formaldehyde-containing products are in use.

Particulates

Liquid, aerosol or solid particles from combustion processes (unvented space heaters, wood-stoves, fireplaces, unvented gas stoves, tobacco smoke), cleaning and cooking sprays, asbestos, dust, pollen

Allergic reactions, eye and respiratory irritation, respiratory function impairment, cancer, chromosome damage

House ventilation, outside-vented exhaust fans, air filters and cleaners; restrict use of products or equipment; use alternative products.

Radon

Soil and well-water from private supplies

Lung Cancer

House ventilation, sealing, soil ventilation, house pressure control

Volatile Organic Compounds

Household chemicals and products (including pesticides, paints, paint strippers, painting supplies, and other solvents, adhesives, cleaners and waxes, moth crystals, air fresheners, fabric protectors, chlorine bleach), aerosol propellants, dry cleaned products, tobacco smoke and combustion processes

Range of possible effects, ranging from headaches, eye and respiratory irritation to central nervous system disorders, liver/kidney effects, cancer and chromosome damage

Follow use and storage instructions on labels; use outside vented exhausts; increase ventilation in house; use solvents and paint products outside when possible; use alternative products; home air purifiers

* Controls other than those mentioned may be suitable for individual houses; not all controls may be appropriate for individual houses


References:

1. Bower, John. The Healthy House. Carol Communications, New York, New York, 1989.

2. Fisk, W.J. Indoor Air Quality Control Techniques: A Critical Review, Technical Report LBL 16493, Lawrence Berthely Laboratory, March 1984.

3. Issue Backgrounder: Energy Efficient New Houses & Indoor Air Pollutants, DOE/BP-467, Bonneville Power Administration, August 1987.

4. The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality EPA/400/1-88/004. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C., September 1988.

5. Meckler, Milton, Indoor Air Quality Design Guidebook. The Association of Energy Engineers, Atlanta, GA, 1989.

6. DuPont, Peter and Mourill, John, Residential Indoor Air Quality and Energy Efficiency. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Washington, D.C., 1989.

7. Home Energy Air Quality Checklist. American Lung Association, 1985.

8. Lane, Charles and Laura Oatman, Home Indoor Air Quality Assessment. CD-OF-3398, Cold Climate Housing Information Center, University of Minnesota, 1988.

9. Zaslow, Sandra A. Questions About Indoor Air Pollution, H-E-360-1, North Carolina State University, 1989.


Dale Dorman
Extension Housing and Environment Specialist
The
University of Georgia
Cooperative Extension Service

Special appreciation to Michael P. Vogel
Extension Housing Specialist
Montana State University
Extension Service
for the use of their original material.

Reprinted with permission from the University of Georgia.
Dorman, D. (1997). Indoor Air Quality.
Athens, GA: University of Georgia, Cooperative Extension Service.



HOME AIR PURIFIERS
A Summary of Available Information

Introduction

Indoor air pollutants are unwanted, sometimes harmful materials in the air. They range from dusts to chemicals to radon. Home Air Purifiers are devices that attempt to remove such pollutants from the indoor air you breathe.

The typical furnace filter installed in the ductwork of the average home's heating residential air exchanger and/or air-conditioning systems is a simple home air purifier. This basic filtering system may be upgraded by using another filter to trap additional pollutants or by adding additional home air purifier devices. An alternative to upgrading the induct home air cleaning system is using individual room, portable home air purifiers. Home Air Purifiers generally rely on filtration, or the attraction of charged particles to the home air purifier device itself or to surfaces within the home, for the removal of pollutants. The use of "air cleaning" to remove pollutants from the air in residences is in its infancy; this publication presents the current state of knowledge.

This publication describes the types of Home Air Purifiers available to the consumer, provides available information on their general effectiveness in removing indoor air pollutants, discusses some factors to consider in deciding whether to use an air-cleaning unit, and describes existing guidelines that can be used to compare units. It does not discuss the effectiveness of air-cleaning systems installed in the central heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems of large buildings, such as apartment, office, or public buildings.

For an excellant starting point in any search for an effective room air purifier, it is a good idea to consider the best air purifier the industry has to offer in relation to the price. While cheaper home air purifiers are a dime a dozen, it may well take dozens to equal the efficiency of one of the few and far between effective units available today. Of course many of these low quality units (especially those plastered all over the Television - hint: the breeze might make you sneeze and the one sounding like "wreck" might be just that.) would never be able to match the scope of particulate removal of the few excellant units even if you had a thousand of the cheapos. This is because few if any of these "cheap" home air purifiers are able to filter out the smallest particulates which account for 90% of indoor air pollutants. Worse yet these gases and sub 0.3 micron particles are also by far the most damaging to your health. When one considers this fact, it becomes obvious just how much of a poor value most of the "cheap" home air purifiers really are. The best air purifier is one which efficiently filters a wide scope and size of indoor air pollutants. You should look for a room air purifier which filters as near to 100% of ALL TYPES OF INDOOR AIR POLLUTANTS as is possible. However, the marketers have many tricks of the trade they employ to obscure the true efficiency of their low priced units to make it appear as though their home air purifiers are truelly capable of 100% efficiency across the board. Cut through the hype. You want a room air purifier that OVER DELIVERS! The following is a perfect example of what you want in a home air purifer. It's an example of one of the few winners out there. We have determined that this is the best air purifier money can buy, and based on its unmatched performance and quality it's also the best value of all home air purifiers!

What Pollutants are of Concern in Indoor Air?

For the purposes of discussion, we will divide the pollutants into three groups: particles, gaseous pollutants, and radon and its progeny.

Particles are very small solid or liquid substances that are light enough to float suspended in air (e.g., mists, dust, or pollen). They are composed of diverse materials including inorganic and organic compounds and dormant and living organisms. Of primary concern from a health standpoint are: 1) small, invisible respirable-size particles, with a higher probability of penetrating deep into the lungs, where they may stay a long time and may cause acute or chronic effects, and 2) larger particles, such as some molds, pollen, animal dander, and house dust allergens, which do not penetrate as deeply, but may cause an allergic response.

Respirable-size particles include, but are not limited to, those from cigarette smoke; unvented combustion appliances such as gas stoves and kerosene heaters; viruses, bacteria, and some molds; and fragments of materials which, when whole, would be considered larger than respirable size particles. Health effects from exposure to respirable-size particles in the air depend on the types and concentrations of particles present, the frequency and duration of exposure, and individual sensitivity. Health effects can range from irritation of the eyes and/or respiratory tissues to more serious effects, such as cancer and decreased lung function. Biological particles, such as animal and insect allergens, viruses, bacteria, and molds, can cause allergic reactions, infectious diseases, and/or can produce toxic products which may be released into the air. Here's our extensive chart showing many components of this toxic bioaerosol, their sources, particle size, and the diseases they may cause.

Gaseous pollutants include combustion gases and organic chemicals which are not associated with particles. Hundreds of different gaseous pollutants have been detected in indoor air.

Sources of combustion gases (such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide) include combustion appliances, cigarette smoking, and the infiltration of vehicle exhaust gases from attached garages or the outdoors.

Gaseous organic compounds may enter the air from sources such as cigarette smoking, building materials and furnishings, and the use of products such as paints, adhesives, dyes, solvents, caulks, cleaners, deodorizers, personal hygiene products, waxes, hobby and craft materials, and pesticides. In addition, organic compounds may originate outdoors or through cooking of foods and human, plant, and animal metabolic processes.

Health effects from exposure to gaseous pollutants in the air may vary widely depending on the types and concentrations of the chemicals present, the frequency and duration of exposure, and individual sensitivity. Adverse effects may include irritation of the eyes and/or respiratory tissues; allergic reactions; effects on the respiratory, liver, immune, cardiovascular, reproductive, and/or nervous system; and cancer.

Radon and its progeny are radioactive pollutants which originate from natural sources such as rock, soil, groundwater, natural gas, and mineral building materials. These pollutants have the potential to cause lung cancer in humans. The risk of lung cancer increases with the level in the air and the frequency and duration of exposure.

Radon itself is a gas which produces short-lived progeny in the form of particles, some of which become attached to larger particles. Radon progeny may deposit in the lungs and represent the main health hazard from the radon series.

How Does Air Cleaning Compare with Other Strategies for Reducing Pollutant Concentrations in Indoor Air?

The three strategies (in order of effectiveness) for reducing pollutants in indoor air are source control, ventilation, and air cleaning.

Source control eliminates individual sources of pollutants or reduces their emissions, and is generally the most effective strategy. Some sources, like those that contain asbestos, can be sealed or enclosed; others, like combustion appliances, can be adjusted to decrease the amount of emissions. Unfortunately, not all pollutant sources can be identified and practically eliminated or reduced.

Ventilation brings outside air indoors. It can be achieved by opening windows and doors, by turning on local bathroom or kitchen exhaust fans, or, in some situations, by the use of mechanical ventilation systems, with or without heat recovery ventilators (air-to-air heat exchangers). However, there are practical limits to the extent ventilation can be used to reduce airborne pollutants. Costs for heating or cooling incoming air can be significant, and outdoor air itself may contain undesirable levels of contaminants.

Air cleaning may serve as an adjunct to source control and ventilation. However, the use of Home Air Purifier devices alone cannot assure adequate indoor air quality, particularly where significant sources are present and ventilation is inadequate.

What Types of Home Air Purifiers are Available?

Home Air Purifiers are usually classified by the method employed to remove particles of various sizes from the air. There are three general types of Home Air Purifiers on the market: mechanical filters, electronic air purifiers, and ion generators. (Note: Because they may reduce some pollutants present in indoor air through condensation, absorption, and other mechanisms, devices such as air conditioners, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers may technically be considered room air purifiers. However, this publication includes only those devices specifically designed and marketed as Home Air Purifiers.)

Mechanical filters may be installed in ducts in homes with central heating and/or air-conditioning or may be used in portable devices which contain a fan to force air through the filter. Mechanical filters used for air cleaning are of two major types.

Flat or panel filters generally consist either of a low packing density of coarse glass fibers, animal hair, vegetable fibers, or synthetic fibers often coated with a viscous substance (e.g., oil) to act as an adhesive for particulate material, or slit and expanded aluminum. (A flat filter in use in many homes is the typical furnace filter installed in central heating and/or air-conditioning systems.) Flat filters may efficiently collect large particles, but remove only a small percentage of respirable size particles.

Flat filters may also be made of "electret" media, consisting of a permanently-charged plastic film or fiber. Particles in the air are attracted to the charged material.

Pleated or extended surface filters generally attain greater efficiency for capture of respirable size particles than flat filters. Their greater surface area allows the use of smaller fibers and an increase in packing density of the filter without a large drop in air flow rate.

Electronic Room Air Purifiers use an electrical field to trap charged particles. Like mechanical filters, they may be installed in central heating and/or air-conditioning system ducts or may be portable units with fans. Electronic room air purifiers are usually electrostatic precipitators or charged-media filters. In electrostatic precipitators, particles are collected on a series of flat plates. In charged-media filter devices, which are less common, the particles are collected on the fibers in a filter. In most electrostatic precipitators and some charged-media filters, the particles are deliberately ionized (charged) before the collection process, resulting in a higher collection efficiency.

Ion generators also use static charges to remove particles from indoor air. These devices come in portable units only. They act by charging the particles in a room, so they are attracted to walls, floors, table tops, draperies, occupants, etc. In some cases, these devices contain a collector to attract the charged particles back to the unit.

(Note: The latter two types of devices may produce ozone, either as a byproduct of use or intentionally. Concerns about ozone production are discussed in more depth below.) Some air purifiers are designed to intentionally emit extremely dangerous levels of ozone! BEWARE THESE SO CALLED OZONE AIR CLEANERS and OZONE PURIFIERS!

Some newer systems on the market are referred to as "hybrid" devices. They contain two or more of the particle removal devices discussed above. For example, one or more types of mechanical filters may be combined with an electrostatic precipitator or an ion generator.

In addition to particle removal devices, Home Air Purifiers may also contain adsorbents and/or reactive materials to facilitate removal of gaseous materials from indoor air. Home Air Purifiers which do not contain these types of materials will not remove gaseous pollutants. The potential effectiveness of room air purifiers containing these materials in reducing levels of gaseous pollutants in indoor air is discussed later.

How Effective are Home Air Purifiers in Reducing Pollutant Concentrations in Indoor Air?

The effectiveness of Room Air Purifiers in removing pollutants from the air depends on both the efficiency of the device itself (e.g., the percentage of the pollutant removed as it goes through the device) and the amount of air handled by the device. For example, a filter may remove 99% of the pollutant in the air that passes through it, but if the air flow rate is only 10 cubic feet per minute (cfm), it will take a long time to process the air in a typical room of 1000 cubic feet.

Although there is no universally accepted method for comparing Home Air Purifiers, several investigators of portable Room Air Purifier units have expressed their results as a "clean air delivery rate" or CADR. The CADR is the product of the unit efficiency and the air flow rate, and is a measure of the number of cfm of air it cleans of a specific material. For example, if a Home Air Purifier has a CADR of 250 for smoke particles, it may reduce smoke particle levels to the same concentration as would be achieved by adding 250 cubic feet of clean (ventilation) air each minute.

The CADR can be used to compare removal rates between different devices and to estimate the removal rate of materials in larger or smaller rooms than those used in the tests.

Knowledge of both the CADR and the unit efficiency may be helpful in choosing a device for use in removing pollutants from a specific source. For example, a 45 percent efficient unit operating at a flow rate of 100 cfm has the same CADR as a 90 percent efficient unit operating at 50 cfm. Nevertheless, the 90 percent efficient unit placed near a specific source of pollutants would generally provide lower levels of the pollutant in the space away from the source than the 45 percent efficient unit.

In many cases, especially for in-duct systems and gaseous pollutant removal, only device efficiencies are reported, and the total effectiveness of the device would vary based on room size and air flow rate.

A summary of the results of studies on the effectiveness of Home Air Purifiers in removing particles, gaseous pollutants, and radon and its progeny follows.

Particle Removal

The performance of Room Air Purifiers in removing particles from indoor air depends not only on the air flow rate through the cleaner and the efficiency of its particle capture mechanism, but also on factors such as:

  • The mass of the particles entering the device.
  • The characteristics of the particles (e.g., their size).
  • The degradation rate of the efficiency of the capture mechanism caused by loading.
  • Whether some of the air entering the unit bypasses the internal capture mechanism.
  • How well the air leaving the device is mixed with air in the room before reentering the device.

In-duct Systems

Only limited information is available on the performance of wholehouse in-duct Home Air Purifier systems in removing particles. Their efficiency for particle removal can be assessed by three standard methods: the weight arrestance test, the atmospheric dust spot test, and the DOP method in Military Standard 282.

The weight arrestance test, described in the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 52-76l, is generally used to evaluate low efficiency filters designed to remove the largest and heaviest particles; these filters are commonly used in residential furnaces and/or air-conditioning systems or as upstream filters for other Room Air Purifiers. For the test, a standard synthetic dust is fed into the home air purifier and the proportion (by weight) of the dust trapped on the filter is determined. Because the particles in the standard dust are relatively large, the weight arrestance test is of limited value in assessing the removal of smaller, respirable-size particles from indoor air.

The atmospheric dust spot test, also described in ASHRAE Standard 52-76, is usually used to rate medium efficiency home air purifiers (both filters and electronic room air cleaners). The removal rate is based on the cleaner's ability to reduce soiling of a clean paper target, an ability dependent on the cleaner removing very fine particles from the air. Exhibit 1 shows typical applications and limitations of filters rated using the ASHRAE Standard 52-76 atmospheric dust spot test2.

Military Standard 2823 [i.e., the percentage removal of 0.3 micrometer (µm) particles of dioctylphthalate (DOP)] is used to rate high efficiency air filters, those with efficiencies above about 98 percent. [The term "HEPA" (high efficiency particulate air) filter is commonly encountered in the marketplace. These filters are a subset of high efficiency filters and are typically rated using the DOP method. One standard-setting organization defines a HEPA filter as having a minimum particle collection efficiency of 99.97 percent by this testing method4.]

Although the above standard tests yield information on the expected efficiency of rated home air purification devices in removing particles from the air flowing through them, few studies have been conducted to obtain actual effective removal rates in houses in which the devices were installed. The efficiency of in-duct devices may vary based on the air flow rate and the particulate matter load. Effectiveness may also be decreased if air exiting the heating and/or air-conditioning system is not well mixed with room air before reentering the system. This can happen if air return and intake vents are too closely spaced within the home. In addition, the type of device chosen should depend not only on its efficiency but also on its dust-holding capacity and its resistance to air flow, two additional factors assessed by ASHRAE Standard 52-76.

Finally, it should be noted that ASHRAE Standard 52-76 addresses the overall efficiency of removal of a complex mixture of dust. However, removal efficiencies for different size particles may vary widely. Recent studies by EPA, comparing ASHRAE ratings to filter efficiencies for particles by size, have shown that efficiencies for particles in the size range of 0.1 to 1 µm are much lower than the ASHRAE rating5. A filter with an ASHRAE dust spot rating of 95 percent only removed 50-60 percent of particles in the 0.1 to 1 µm size range. Many of the respirable-size particles in indoor air (e.g., cigarette smoke) appear to be in this size range.

In contrast to the ASHRAE Standard 52-76 ratings, efficiencies derived by the DOP method in Military Standard 282 are expected to be more representative of capture efficiencies for respirable-size particles.

Exhibit 1. Filter Applications for In-duct Systems Based on ASHRAE Atmospheric Dust Spot Test

Room Air Purifier Efficiency Ratings

10%

20%

40%

60%

80%

90%

Used in window air conditioners and heating systems

Useful on lint.

Somewhat useful on ragweed pollen.

Not very useful on smoke and staining particles.

Used in air conditioners, domestic heating, and central air systems.

Fairly useful on ragweed pollen.

Not very useful on smoke and staining particles.

Used in heating and air conditioning systems, and as pre-filters to high efficiency cleaners.

Useful on finer airborne dust and pollen.

Reduce smudge and stain materially.

Slightly useful on non-tobacco smoke particles.

Not very useful on tobacco smoke particles.

Use same as 40%, but better protection.

Useful on all pollens, the majority of particles causing smudge and stain, and coal and oil smoke particles.

Partially useful on tobacco smoke particles.

Generally used in hospitals and controlled areas.

Very useful on particles causing smudge and stain, and coal and oil smoke particles.

Quite useful on tobacco smoke particles.

Use same as 80%, but better protection.

Excellent protection against all smoke particles.

1. Efficiency rating by ASHRAE Standard 52-76 atmospheric dust spot test.

Adapted from Reference #2.

Portable Units

Studies have been performed on portable home air purifiers assessing particle removal from the air in room-size test chambers or extensively weatherized or unventilated rooms. All of the tests addressed removal of cigarette smoke particles6-14; some limited testing with larger particles (fine automotive test dust, airborne cat allergen, and pollen) was also performed9,l2,l4. The test methods used by each group of investigators varied.

The studies show varying degrees of effectiveness of portable air cleaners in removing particles from indoor air. In general, units containing either electrostatic precipitators, negative ion generators, or pleated filters, and hybrid units containing combinations of these mechanisms, are more effective than flat filter units in removing cigarette smoke particles. Effectiveness within these classes varies widely, however.

Again, important factors, in addition to the efficiency of the device itself are the air flow rate; the particle characteristics; the degradation of efficiency with particulate loading; the bypass of air around the collection mechanisms used; and the size of the room.

In addition, for negative ion generators, the placement of the device and the air circulation in the room affect performance. For removal of larger dust particles, negative ion generators, without additional particle capture mechanisms (e.g., filters), may perform poorly.

The general trend in the market over the past few years has been toward larger, more powerful console-sized models. In recent testsl2, the CADRs for 6 tabletop units ranged from about 50 to 100 cfm for smoke particles, whereas the CADRs for the 21 console units ranged from about 50 to 250 cfm. (However, as discussed later, reemission of chemicals from particles trapped by these devices is of concern.)

In general, placement of any portable device may affect its performance. If there is a specific, identifiable source of pollutants, the unit should be placed so that its intake is near that source. If there is no specific source, the Home Air Purifier should be placed to force cleaned air into occupied areas. In addition, the air cleaner should be located where the inlet and outlet are not blocked by walls, furniture, or other obstructions.

Effectiveness of a unit may also be decreased if air exiting the Home Air Purifier outlet is not adequately mixed with room air before reentering the device.

The use of a single portable unit would not be expected to be effective in large buildings (e.g., apartments or office buildings) with central heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. Portable units are designed to filter the air in a limited area (e.g., up to several connected rooms without obstructions to air flow). Air circulated within central HVAC systems may have large effective volumes (e.g., several floors of a building). To clean air in these situations requires the use of either multiple portable units or induct systems designed for the building by HVAC engineers.

Removal of Gaseous Pollutants

Some Home Air Purifiers are designed to remove gaseous pollutants as well as particles. However, studies on the effectiveness of portable or residential induct Home Air Purifiers in removing gaseous pollutants are limited.

Sorption on solid sorbents is the most frequently used process for removing such contaminants from indoor air. The performance of solid sorbents is dependent on several factors, including:

  • The air flow rate through the sorbent.
  • The concentration of the pollutants.
  • The presence of other gases or vapors (e.g., humidity).
  • The physical and chemical characteristics of both the pollutants and the sorbent (e.g., weight, polarity, size, and shape).
  • The configuration of the sorbent in the device.
  • The quantity of sorbent used and the sorbent bed depth.

Because the rate of sorption (i.e., the efficiency) decreases with the amount of pollutant captured, gaseous pollutant Home Air Purifiers are generally rated in terms of the sorption capacity (i.e., the total amount of the chemical that can be captured) and penetration time (i.e., the amount of time before capacity is reached)l5.

Activated Carbon

Activated carbon will adsorb some pollutants even in humid environmentsl5-l6 such as those found indoors. However, it does not efficiently adsorb certain pollutants such as volatile, low molecular weight gasesl6,l7.

Sometimes, relatively small quantities of activated carbon will reduce odors in a residence to imperceptible levels. However, because many chemicals produce health effects at levels below those where odors are perceived, removal of odors alone is not an indicator of a healthful environment.

Tests of gaseous pollutant removal by activated carbon have generally been performed using only high concentrations of pollutants, so little information is available on the effectiveness of carbon in removing chemicals present at the low (part per billion, or ppb) concentrations normally found in indoor air. Recent tests performed at EPA measured the adsorption isotherms for three volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in the 100 to 200 ppb concentration range using three samples of activated carbon. Estimates of the bed depth needed to remove the compounds were made assuming a 150 ppb concentration in the air, an exit concentration of 50 ppb, and a flow rate of 100 cfm across a 2' X 2' filter. The results of the study suggest that these chemicals would quickly penetrate the 6 inch deep carbon filters currently marketed for odor control in induct systemsl8. Therefore, the useful lifetime of these filters in removing many indoor air pollutants may be short.

The ability of carbon to reemit pollutants it has trapped from indoor air is also of concern. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), formerly the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), is currently developing a standard method to be used in evaluating the effectiveness of media used for gaseous pollutant removal19. They have reported the results of a study using activated carbon, in which the concentration of toluene in the air flowing into the carbon was varied during the test (from 150 to 0 to 340 to 26 to 0 ppm). The experiment simulates the variations in pollutant levels which would be expected in indoor air situations. They found that toluene initially adsorbed by the media was slowly reemitted each time the pollutant level entering the media dropped. The amount of toluene emitted by the media during the 45-hour experiment was approximately equal to that adsorbed.

Special Sorbents

Special sorbents have been developed to remove specific gaseous pollutants such as formaldehydel5,20. Many of these are chemisorbents, impregnated with chemically active materials, such as potassium permanganate or copper oxide, which will react with one or a limited number of different reactive gaseous pollutants.

Several studies have focused on the removal of formaldehyde in homes using such chemisorbents. These data suggest that large quantities of sorbent and high air flow rates may be required to effectively reduce formaldehyde levels20.

In addition, because chemisorbents are specific for one or a limited number of reactive pollutants, they should not be expected to efficiently reduce pollutants for which they are not specifically designed.

Tests of Portable Units

Testing has been performed recently on gaseous pollutant removal by several portable Home Air Purifiers containing activated carbon and/or additional specialized sorbentsl0,ll,l3,21. The CADRs calculated for "hydrocarbons" or individual VOCs (excluding formaldehyde) in these studies were generally low, ranging from 0 to 30 cfm. None of four units tested for the removal of dichloromethane removed any of this compound. Lower molecular weight gases, including nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide, and ammonia, were generally removed at greater rates than the higher molecular weight organic compounds. Nitrogen dioxide removal for eight units where CADR values were reported ranged from 3 to about 94 cfm11,13,21. CADRs were available for only two units for each of the remaining lower molecular weight gases; the highest CADRs reported were for nitrous oxide and formaldehyde (approximately 120 cfm in one unit).

In general, units containing specialized sorbents performed better in the removal of gaseous pollutants than those containing activated carbon alone. However, as suggested by the above results, removal rates varied widely between units. In addition, widely differing removal rates were found for the pollutants tested in the same unit; some models that removed larger quantities of one pollutant did not remove much of another.

Several factors were not assessed in the tests of the portable units, making evaluations of the effectiveness of these devices in indoor air environments incomplete. For example, because these tests did not determine the sorption capacity or penetration rates for the Home Air Purifiers, it is not known how long the filters would remain effective. Preliminary tests were performed on one Home Air Purifier to assess long-term efficiency in removing NO2 (260 ppb) and six VOCs. The VOCs chosen were representative of six classes of VOCs found in indoor air, and the concentrations and relative proportions of the six VOCs were selected to reflect those reported for their respective classes in indoor air. Following testing in a test chamber to determine the initial removal efficiencies for these compounds, the Home Air Purifier was operated intermittently in a home over a two-and-a-half-month period. Followup testing in the test chamber showed a decrease in efficiency of 50 percent or more for each chemical after 160 hours of use (i.e., 15 percent of the manufacturer's recommended filter lifetime)2l.

Another factor that was not assessed was the effect of additional chemicals in the air (e.g., water) during the removal process. Since indoor air is a complex mixture of chemicals, tests on one or a mixture of several pollutants may not adequately represent removal rates in indoor environments.

In summary, data are too limited at present to assess the overall effectiveness of air-cleaning devices in removing gaseous pollutant mixtures. Although some of the devices which are designed to remove gaseous pollutants may be effective in removing specific pollutants from indoor air, none are expected to adequately remove all of the gaseous pollutants present in the typical indoor air environment. In addition, information is limited on the useful lifetime of these systems.

Removal of Radon and its Progeny

Air cleaning is generally not the preferred approach to reducing health risks associated with radon. When source control techniques are not possible, or do not result in acceptable radon levels, air-cleaning techniques are available to reduce levels of radon gas and its progeny. Studies on the effectiveness of Home Air Purifiers in removing these pollutants have focused on either removing radon gas itself or removing the short-lived progeny produced by radon. For more details about Radon testing, Radon mitigations, and Radon removal visit our Radon Gas Bible

Some limited research on the effectiveness of carbon in removing radon gas itself from indoor air suggests that extremely large quantities of carbon would be required. However, some radon removal units which are specifically designed to regenerate the carbon media that they contain can increase the range of situations (area and radon concentration to be treated) where this technique is applicable.

Since the health hazard from radon is associated with the radon progeny, rather than radon gas itself, the effectiveness of Home Air Purifiers in removing radon progeny has also been assessed. Although some radon progeny are removed by filtration or electrostatic precipitation, the types of radon progeny not removed from the air may be of relatively greater concern from a health standpoint. In addition, radon gas concentrations are unaffected, and can continue to be a source of radon progeny in areas of the structure that are not effectively treated by the Home Air Purifier. Because uncertainty exists concerning the effectiveness of Home Air Purifiers in reducing the health risks associated with radon, EPA neither currently endorses nor discourages their use as a method of reducing radon progeny in indoor air22.

Will Air Cleaning Reduce Health Effects from Indoor Air Pollutants?

As previously discussed, no air-cleaning system is available that will effectively remove all pollutants from indoor air. As such, the use of Home Air Purifiers should only be considered when the use of other methods to reduce indoor air pollutants (e.g., controlling specific sources of pollutants or increasing the supply of outdoor air) are not successful in reducing pollutants to acceptable levels.

Under the right conditions, some air-cleaning systems can effectively remove certain particles, although the particles must be suspended in the air as discussed later. Some of the air cleaners containing sorbents may also remove a portion of the gaseous pollutants in indoor air, and may help eliminate some of the hazards from these pollutants, at least on a temporary basis. However, air-cleaning systems are not expected to totally eliminate all of the hazards from gaseous pollutants. In addition, gaseous pollutant removal systems may have a limited lifetime before replacement of the sorbent is necessary. It should also be noted that although some air-cleaning devices may be effective at reducing tobacco smoke particles, many of the gaseous pollutants from tobacco smoke are not expected to be effectively eliminated. In addition, gases may be reemitted from tobacco smoke particles trapped by the Home Air Purifierl7.

The typical Home Air Purifier which does not contain a specialized carbon regenerating device would appear to be ineffective in removing radon gas and, because many questions exist concerning the relative health risks of radon decay products, there are insufficient data to quantify the impact of air cleaning on reducing the risks of lung cancer caused by radon progeny.

There is currently some controversy about how effectively Home Air Purifiers alleviate allergic reactions produced by larger particles such as pollen, house dust allergens, some molds, and animal dander. In February 1987, an ad hoc committee convened at the request of the Food and Drug Administration and several manufacturers of air-cleaning devices met to determine whether standards could be recommended for portable Home Air Purifiers and concluded that "the data presently available are inadequate to establish the utility of these devices in the prevention and treatment of allergic respiratory disease."23

Pollen and house dust allergens settle out rapidly from the air if not disturbed and suspended in the air again. Because only a small proportion of these allergens is generally suspended in the air, Home Air Purifiers may be relatively ineffective in their removal.

Although other allergen particles, such as animal dander, do not settle as rapidly as pollen and house dust allergens, the amount of allergen associated with surfaces either due to direct deposition or to settling will generally far exceed that in air. However, because larger quantities of these allergens may remain in air, air cleaning may be more effective in reducing these particles under some circumstances23. On the other hand, use of an Home Air Purifier may disturb allergen which has settled on surfaces, resulting in a decrease in overall allergen removal from the airl4.

Published reports reviewed by the ad hoc committee were limited in scope, but indicated that the exposure to allergens originating outdoors during the warm months (i.e., pollen and some molds) can best be prevented by the use of an air conditioner, with only minimal additional benefit from an Home Air Purifier. The effectiveness of air conditioning in reducing these pollutants was related to the exclusion of outdoor air (often 10 percent of the output of chilled air) and, in the case of molds, also to a reduction in humidity.

With subjects sensitive to house dust allergen, the use of impermeable coverings on the mattresses appeared to be as effective as the use of a laminar flow air-cleaning system above the bed. Based on these results, the committee felt that "air-cleaning devices should be considered only if symptoms remain severe despite other avoidance measures and there is reason to believe that a significant load of airborne allergens is present."23

What Additional Factors Should Be Considered in Deciding Whether to Use a Home Air Purifier?

Several factors other than the ability of air-cleaning devices to reduce airborne pollutant concentrations should be considered when making decisions about using Home Air Purifiers. These include:

Installation. Use, and Need for Maintenance

The air-cleaning unit may have certain installation requirements that must be met, such as an adequate and accessible power supply or the need for access during use, repairs, or maintenance.

After installation, operating and maintenance procedures specified by the manufacturer need to be followed to assure adequate performance from the Home Air Purifier. Filters and sorbents must be cleaned or replaced and plates or charged media of electronic air cleaners must be cleaned, sometimes frequently. To avoid electrical and mechanical hazards, the purchaser should ascertain that the unit is listed with Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or another recognized independent safety testing laboratory.

In addition, during cleaning an effort needs to be made to ensure pollutants do not get reemitted back into the air. For example, when filters are removed, excessive movements or air currents should be avoided to prevent redistribution of particles into the air.

Cost

Cost may also be a consideration. Major costs include the initial purchase of the unit, maintenance costs (i.e., cleaning and/or replacement of filters and other parts), and operating costs (e.g., costs for electricity).

In general, the most effective units (e.g., those with high air flow rates and efficient particle capture systems) are also the most costly. Maintenance costs vary depending on the device, and should be considered before choosing a particular unit. In comparison to purchase and maintenance costs, operating costs for portable units (e.g., costs for electricity) are negligiblel2.

Production or Redispersal of Pollutants

Another consideration is whether some units will produce new pollutants or redisperse old ones. The potential for ion generators and electronic Home Air Purifiers to produce ozone, a lung irritant, may be of concern, particularly if electronic Home Air Purifiers are not properly installed and maintained7,l5,l6. This requires further study. Several manufacturers of portable units advertise that their products produce ozone to facilitate removal of harmful gases, but the levels produced by these devices are not known. Measurable levels of ozone were produced by one portable and two induct electrostatic precipitators in tests by EPA5, and the Agency is conducting research to determine if the concentrations produced by the induct or residential air exchanger Home Air Purifiers are potentially harmful. On our page about HOME AIR PURIFIERS MARKETED AS OZONE PURIFIERS, OZONE AIR CLEANERS, OZONE MACHINES, OZONE HOME AIR PURIFIERS, AND NEGATIVE ION OZONE GENERATORS may be found accurate information regarding the use of ozone-generating devices in indoor occupied spaces. This information is based on the most credible scientific evidence currently available.

The production of fine particulate material by electronic Home Air Purifiers has also been reported8,ll,24. Also, home air purifier filters and other particulate control devices may remove particles from air and then may re-emit gases and odors from the collected particlesl7, and materials used in the construction of Home Air Purifiers may themselves emit chemicals to indoor air (e.g., formaldehyde may be emitted if particleboard is used in the air cleaner housing. Plastics and other synthetics used in room air purifier seals and housing have also been know to off-gas Volatile Organic Chemicals into the indoor air environment. 2l).

Inability to Remove Some Odors

A number of Home Air Purifiers tested were found to reduce the levels of cigarette smoke particles in the air. However, the odor of cigarette smoke remained because many of the devices do not contain effective systems to remove the gaseous products of cigarette smoke and because the gaseous products may be adsorbed and later reemitted by articles in the home8,9. To overcome this, some devices scent the air to mask odors, which may lead the occupants of the home to believe that the odor-causing pollutants have been removed.

Possible Effects of Particle Charging

Another factor with respect to ion generators, particularly those that do not trap some of the charged particles, is the effect of particle charging on deposition in the respiratory tract. Experiments have shown a linear increase in particle deposition with charge; therefore, the use of ion generators may not reduce the dose of particles to the lung8.

Soiling of Walls and Other Surfaces

Ion generators are generally designed not to remove particles from the air but to deposit them on surfaces around the room. This results in soiling of walls and other surfaces, especially if the particles charged by the so called room air purifier are not collected on home air purifier filters9.

Noise

Noise may be a problem with Home Air Purifiers containing a fan7,9,l2. Some portable units operating at high speed can produce noise equivalent to a small vacuum cleaner9 or that made by light traffic at 100 ft7. Even at low speed, some models produce an annoying hum or whinel2.

What Guidelines are Available to Compare Home Air Purifiers?

With the exception of the DOP method in Military Standard 2823, used only to rate particle reduction by high efficiency filters, the federal government has not published any guidelines or standards for use in determining how well a home air purifier works in removing pollutants from indoor air. However, standards for rating particle removal by induct or portable Home Air Purifiers have been published by two private standard-setting trade associationsl,25. These estimate the efficiency or effectiveness of an air-cleaning device in removing particles from indoor air, and can be used for comparisons among different devices.

Standards for Home Air Purifiers now focus only on particle removal. No guidelines or standards are available for use in assessing the comparative ability of Home Air Purifiers to remove gaseous pollutants or radon and its progeny, and research is currently inadequate to draw firm conclusions regarding the relative effectiveness of air-cleaning devices in removing such pollutants.

Standards for In-Duct Devices

ASHRAE Standard 52-761 and the DOP method in Military Standard 2823 may be used to estimate the efficiency of induct devices in removing particles. Using the ratings of the ASHRAE Standard 52-76 atmospheric dust spot test, Exhibit 1 can give a general indication of the types of particles which should be removed by a specific air cleaner. These standards can generally be used to compare the performance characteristics of one device with another, but cannot by themselves predict the actual effectiveness of a given unit in use in a residence or its useful lifetime. In addition, as discussed previously, the efficiency of these Home Air Purifiers may vary by air flow rate and particle load, and removal of some small respirable size particles may actually be lower than assessed by the ASHRAE atmospheric dust spot test.

(Note: In examining information on ASHRAE ratings, be aware of differences in results from the weight arrestance test and the atmospheric dust spot test. For example, a filter with a weight arrestance of 90 percent may have an atmospheric dust spot efficiency below 40 percent. The ASHRAE weight arrestance test is of limited value in assessing the removal of respirable size particles from indoor air.)

Because higher efficiency pleated filters are much thicker than filters generally used in standard home heating and/or air-conditioning systems, their use results in substantial air resistance, so they cannot be directly incorporated into the standard residential system. Instead, a system must be specially designed with a fan of sufficient power to create the necessary air pressure and with one or more efficient pre-filters Costs for installation of the system, replacement of pre-filters and filters, and system operation should be considered before deciding whether to purchase higher efficiency filters. Again, the purchaser should be aware of the difference between high "arrestance" and high "efficiency," as provided by the standard tests.

Further information on standards for induct Home Air Purifiers can be obtained through a local heating/air-conditioning contractor or from:

Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Institute (ARI)
4301 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 425
Arlington, VA 22203
(703) 524-8800
(703) 528-3816 (fax)

Standard for Portable Home Air Purifiers

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) has developed an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-approved standard for portable Home Air Purifiers (ANSI/AHAM Standard AC-1-1988)25. This standard may be useful in estimating the effectiveness of portable Home Air Purifiers. Under this standard, room air cleaner effectiveness is rated by a clean air delivery rate (CADR) for each of three particle types in indoor air: tobacco smoke, dust, and pollen.

Only a limited number of Home Air Purifiers have been certified under this program at the present time. A complete listing of all current AHAM-certified room Home Air Purifiers and their CADRs can be obtained from CADR .

Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM)
20 North Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606

Exhibit 2 shows the percentage of particles removed from indoor air in rooms of various size by rated CADR, as estimated by AHAM. Because CADR values on Home Air Purifiers in the market will vary from the five in the exhibit, the figures are to be used only as a guide to a model's performance. The exhibit provides estimates of the percent of particles removed by the Home Air Purifier and the total removal by both the Home Air Purifier and by natural settling.

There are other factors to consider in using the ANSI/AHAM ratings. The CADR values reported are based on reducing particle levels from sources which emit the particles intermittently rather than continually. If the source is continual, the devices would not be expected to be as effective as suggested by Exhibit 2. In addition, the values represent performance that can be expected during the first 72 hours of use. Subsequent performance may vary depending on conditions of use. Use and care directions should be followed routinely to get adequate performance from the Home Air Purifier.

Estimated Percentage of Particle Removal for Portable Units by CADR and by Room Size

 

Percentage of Particles Removed

Room Size

CADR

Smoke
(20 min.)

Dust
(20 min.)

Pollen
(10 min.)

AC

T

AC

T

AC

T

5 x 6

10
40
80

49%
89%
95%

68%
97%
100%

49%
88%
95%

70%
98%
100%

-
57%
75%

-
93%
99%

9 x 12

40
80
150

53%
76%
89%

71%
89%
98%

52%
75%
89%

72%
89%
98%

24%
40%
58%

78%
86%
94%

12 x 18


80
150
300
350
450

53%
74%
89%
-
-

71%
87%
97%
-
-

52%
73%
-
91%
-

72%
88%
-
99%
-

24%
38%
-
-
69%

78%
85%
-
-
97%

18 x 24

150
300
350
450

51%
73%
-
-

70%
87%
-
-

50%
-
77%
-

71%
-
91%
-

23%
-
-
50%

78%
-
-
91%

20 x 30

300
350
450

63%
-
-

79%
-
-

-
67%
-

-
84%
-

-
-
40%

-
-
86%

AC=Removal by the air-cleaning device
T= Removal by the air-cleaning device plus natural settling
Note: Estimates ignore the effect of incoming air. For smoke and, to a lesser extent, dust, the more drafty the room, the smaller the CADR required. For pollen, which enters from outdoors, a higher CADR is needed in a drafty room.
Source: Reference
26.

SUMMARY

Three strategies (in order of effectiveness) that may be used to reduce indoor air pollutants are source control, ventilation, and air cleaning. Air cleaning may achieve an additional reduction in the levels of certain pollutants when source control and ventilation do not result in acceptable pollutant concentrations. However, air cleaning alone cannot be expected to adequately remove all of the pollutants present in the typical indoor air environment.

Home Air Purifiers are usually classified by the method employed for removing particles of various sizes from the air. There are three general types of Home Air Purifiers on the market: mechanical filters, electronic Home Air Purifiers, and ion generators. Hybrid units, using two or more of these removal methods, are also available. Home Air Purifiers may be in-duct units (installed in the central heating and/or air-conditioning system) or stand-alone portable units.

The effectiveness of Home Air Purifiers in removing pollutants from the air is a function of both the efficiency of the device itself (e.g., the percentage of the pollutant removed as it goes through the device) and the amount of air handled by the device. A product of these two factors (for a given pollutant) is expressed as the unit's dean air delivery rate (CADR).

Portable Home Air Purifiers vary in size and effectiveness in pollutant reduction capabilities. They range from relatively ineffective table-top units to larger, more powerful console units. In general, units containing either electrostatic precipitators, negative ion generators, or pleated filters, and hybrid units containing combinations of these mechanisms, are more effective than flat filter units in removing tobacco smoke particles. Effectiveness within these classes varies widely, however. For removal of larger dust particles, negative ion generators, without additional particle capture mechanisms (e.g., filters), may perform poorly.

Pollutants in indoor air may be divided, for convenience, into three groups: particles, gaseous pollutants, and radon and its progeny. Some Home Air Purifiers, under the right conditions, can effectively remove small particles which are suspended in air. However, controversy exists as to the efficacy of Home Air Purifiers in removing larger particles such as pollen and house dust allergens, which rapidly settle from indoor air. In assessing the potential efficacy of a Home Air Purifier in removing allergens, one should consider the relative contribution of airborne to surface concentrations of the allergens, particularly in the case of pollen and house dust allergens where natural settling may be so rapid that Home Air Purifiers contribute little additional effect. Animal dander may settle more slowly although, again, the surface reservoir far exceeds the amount in the air. Furthermore, control of the sources of allergens and, where allergens do not originate outdoors, ventilation should be stressed as the primary means of reducing allergic reactions

Some of the Home Air Purifiers containing sorbents may also remove some of the gaseous pollutants in indoor air. However, no air-cleaning systems are expected to totally eliminate all hazards from gaseous pollutants and these systems may have a limited lifetime before replacement is necessary. In addition, air cleaning may not be effective in reducing the risks of lung cancer due to radon.

In choosing a Home Air Purifier, the below factors should be considered. Based on its vastly superior EN-1822 air purifier HEPA filter efficiency test scores and considering how all the below guidelines and more have been far exceeded, we have determined this unit to be the best air purifier on the market today.

  • The potential effectiveness of the device under the conditions it will be used.
  • The need for routine maintenance, including cleaning and replacement of filters and sorbents.
  • The estimated capital and maintenance cost.
  • The installation requirements (e.g., power, access).
  • The manufacturer's recommended operating procedures.
  • The possible production or redispersal of pollutants, such as ozone, particles, formaldehyde, and trapped gaseous pollutants.
  • The inability of Home Air Purifiers designed for particle removal to control gases and some odors, such as those from tobacco smoke.
  • Possible health effects from charged particles produced by ion generators.
  • Possible soiling of surfaces by charged particles produced by ion generators.
  • The noise level at the air flow rates that will be used.

Finally, one Federal standard, addressing only high efficiency home air purifier filters, and two standards provided by independent standard-setting trade associations outside the Federal government may be useful as guidelines in choosing a air cleaner for reduction of particles in indoor air. For induct systems, the atmospheric dust spot test of ASHRAE Standard 52-76 and the DOP method in Military Standard 282 may be used, respectively, to estimate the performance of medium and high efficiency air cleaners. For portable air cleaning systems, ANSI/AHAM AC-1-1988 may be useful in estimating the effectiveness of the units. Similar standards are not currently available to compare the performance of Home Air Purifiers in removing gaseous pollutants or radon and its progeny.


REFERENCES

  1. ASHRAE. 1976. ASHRAE standard 5276. Method of testing air-cleaning devices used in general ventilation for removing particulate matter. New York, NY: American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-conditioning Engineers Inc.
  2. ASHRAE. 1979. Air Cleaners. In: ASHRAE handbook and product directory. 1979 equipment. Atlanta, GA: American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-conditioning Engineers, Inc. As cited in reference 16.
  3. U.S. DOD. 1956. MILSTD282. Military Standard. Filter units, protective clothing, gasmask components and related products: Performance test methods. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Defense.
  4. Institute of Environmental Sciences. 1986. Recommended practice for HEPA filters. IES RP-CC-001-86. Mt. Prospect, IL: Institute of Environmental Sciences.
  5. Ensor DS, Viner AS, Hanley JT, Lawless PA, Ramanathan K, Owen MK, Yamamoto T, Sparks LE. 1988. Air cleaner technologies for indoor air polution. In: Engineering solutions to indoor air problems. Proceedings of the ASHRAE conference IAQ'88, April 11-13, 1988, Atlanta, GA. Atlanta, GA: American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers, Inc. pp.111-129.
  6. Repace JL, Seba DB, Lowrey AH, Gregory TW. 1983. Effect of negative ion generators on ambient tobacco smoke. Journal of Clinical Ecology 2(2): 90-94.
  7. New Shelter. 1983. A test of small air cleaners. In: Home products report. Emmaus PA Rodale Press.
  8. Offermann FJ, Sextro RG, Fisk WJ, Grimsrud DT, Nazaroff WW, Nero AV, Rezvan KL, Yater J. 1985. Control of respirable particles in indoor air with portable air cleaners. Atmospheric Environment 19(11): 1761-1771.
  9. Consumers Union. 1985. Air cleaners. Consumer Reports 50(1): 7-11.
  10. Canine C. 1986. Clearing the air. Rodale's New Shelter, January 1986, p. 64-67.
  11. Olander L, Johansson J, Johansson R. 1987. Air cleaners for tobacco smoke. In: Seifert B, et al., eds. Indoor air '87. Proceedings of the 4th Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate, West Berlin, August 17-21, 1987. Vol. 2. Berlin: Institute for Water, Soil and Air Hygiene. pp. 39-43.
  12. Consumers Union. 1989. Air purifiers. Consumer Reports, February 1989, p. 88-93.
  13. Humphreys MP. 1987. Performance testing of residential indoor air cleaning devices. Presented at the 1987 EPA/APCA Symposium on Measurement of Toxic and Related Air Pollutants, Research Triangle Park, NC, May 3-6, 1987.
  14. Luczynska CM, Li Y, Chapman MD, Platts-Mills TAE. 1988. Airborne concentrations and particle size distribution of allergen derived from domestic cats (Felis domesticus): Measurements using cascade impactor, liquid impinger and a two site monoclonal antibody assay for Fel d I. Presented to the American Academy of Allergy Meeting, Los Angeles, March 4, 1988.
  15. National Academy of Sciences. 1981. Indoor pollutants. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
  16. Wadden RA, Scheff PA. 1983. Indoor air pollution. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
  17. Electric Power Research Institute. 1984. Manual on indoor air quality. Prepared by Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Berkeley, CA for the Energy Management and Utilization Division, Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA. EPRI EM-3469.
  18. Ramanathan K, Debler VL, Kosusko M, Sparks LE. 1988. Evaluation of control strategies for volatile organic compounds in indoor air. Environmental Progress 7(4): 230-235.
  19. Mahajan BM. 1989. A method for measuring the effectiveness of gaseous contaminant removal filters. Gaithersburg, MD. National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce. NBSIR 89-4119.
  20. Fisk WJ, Spencer RK, Grimsrud DT, Offermann FJ, Pedersen B, Sextro R. 1987. Indoor air quality control techniques. Radon, formaldehyde, combustion products. Park Ridge, NJ: Noyes Data Corporation.
  21. Daisey JM, Hodgson AT. 1989. Initial efficiencies of air cleaners for the removal of nitrogen dioxide and volatile organic compounds. Atmospheric Environment 23(9): 1885-1892.
  22. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1989. Radon reduction methods. A homeowner's guide (Third edition). Washington, DC: Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  23. Nelson HS, Hirsch SR, Ohman JL, PlattsMills TAE, Reed CE, Solomon WR. 1988. Recommendations for the use of residential air-cleaning devices in the treatment of allergic respiratory diseases. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 82(4): 661-669.
  24. Rajala M, Janka K, Graeffe G, Kulmala V. 1984. Laboratory measurements of the influence of air treatment devices on radon daughters. In: Berglund B, Lindvall T, Sundell J, eds. Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate, Stockholm, August 20-24, 1984. Vol. 5. Stockholm: Swedish Council for Building Research. pp. 117-122.
  25. Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. 1988. American national standard method for measuring performance of portable household electric cord-connected room air cleaners. ANSI/AHAM AC-1-1988. Chicago, IL: Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.
  26. Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. 1989. Comparing home air purifiers. An AHAM buying guide. Chicago, IL: Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Office of Air and Radiation (OAR)
Washington, DC 20460


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