Air Purifier Guide for MCS
If you have Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, this guide is for you.With all the airborne chemicals, molds, pollens, and other substances that might trigger a reaction, a whole house air purifier can be your best friend.It can help you create a space that is free from all types of air pollutants, both toxic exposures from products and pollutants from the natural world that you can’t otherwise remove.But you need to choose the right air filter.
COMMON HOUSEHOLD AIR POLLUTANTS
Indoor air pollutants are categorized into three major groups:
- volatile gases—solvents, formaldehyde, plastics, paints, perfumes, and pesticides
- particulates—bits of pollen, dust, molds, animal dander, and radioactive particles
- microorganisms—bacteria and viruses
The most important thing about choosing an air purifier is to get the right purifier for the type of pollutant you need to remove.
As someone with MCS, the most important type of filter to get is one that removes volatile gasses from the air. This will remove any toxic exposures from consumer products, including perfume, paint fumes, pesticides, emissions from wall-to-wall carpets, fire retardants, plastic vapors and other toxic substances.
In addition, you’ll want to make sure that the unit also removes particulates. Even if you don’t react to dust, pollen, and animal dander, molds can cause or worsen MCS. Also, a certain class of volatile chemicals called semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) move through the air by riding piggyback on particulates. Remove the particulate and you are also removing a toxic volatile gas.
And finally, with MCS you should have a room air purifier that removes micro-organisms. With your compromised immune system, you will want to protect yourself from contagious diseases in your environment that you could catch more easily.
Some common pollutants, such as tobacco smoke and household odors may be made up of several types of pollutants. So the more pollutants a purifier removes, the better.
TYPES OF AIR PURIFIERS
There are many types of air purifiers that use different technologies to remove various pollutants.Here are the most common;
Activated Carbon Filters
Activated carbon filters have been used for decades by people with MCS to remove volatile gasses.Activated carbon is so called because the carbon is “activated” by treatment with oxygen. This causes millions of pores to open up, giving a huge surface area to the carbon. Just one pound of activated carbon has up to 150 acres of surface area.It works by adsorption, a process by which pollutant gasses are attracted by and stick to the carbon. The carbon has many holes, like a sponge, which trap the pollutants as they go by.
But there are some problems with activated carbon.First of all, many people with MCS cannot tolerate the carbon itself. Carbon is often treated with chemical additives in an attempt to improve the efficiency, which can end up in the filtered air.And when all the pores in the carbon are full, it can dump air pollutants back into the air.Activated carbon does collect pollutants from the air in your home environment, but then they are stored within the carbon that then needs to be disposed of somewhere. It usually goes to a landfill, putting toxic chemicals from your home environment into the larger ecosystem of Earth.Since activated carbon will only remove volatile gasses, it is often paired with an HEPA filter in a single unit.
HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance)
High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance (HEPA) is the most effective technology for trapping particles. Developed by the Atomic Energy Commission during World War II to remove radioactive dust from industrial exhausts, HEPA has an efficiency rate of 99.99 percent for particles .3 microns in size (dust, pollen, and plant and mold spores).HEPA filters are paper-like filters that trap particles as the air passes through. They are made of randomly positioned fibers that create narrow passages with many twists and turns. As particles are trapped, they clog the spaces between fibers, making the grid smaller and smaller. This enables the filter to become even more efficient with ongoing use.
Charged Media Filters
Charged media filters utilize “electrostatic” technology, which utilizes static electricity to attract and capture pollutants. Just like synthetic clothing can stick to your body when you put them on after taking them out of the dryer, electrostatic filters primarily attract micron or sub-micron particulate pollutants in the same way.Charged media filters utilize electrostatic energy by charging synthetic fibers during the manufacturing process. The charge is retained during use, attracting airborne particles and giving them an electrostatic charge before trapping them within the fibers of a conventional filter.Charged media filters are extremely efficient at the beginning of use, but become less efficient as pollutants are collected. Charged media filters must be changed regularly to maintain efficiency.
Negative Ion Generators
An ion generator is a device that uses high voltage to electrically charge air molecules.Airborne particles are attracted to the generator in an effect similar to static electricity. They are then released to nearby surfaces, such as walls and ceilings, turning them black with particles.Negative ion generators remove only particles from the air, but compared to HEPA filters, their usefulness is limited.
Ozone generators remove chemicals and odors from indoor air by oxidation. Normal oxygen has two molecules of oxygen and ozone has three. When ozone comes in contact with a pollutant, it breaks apart and combines one molecule of oxygen with the pollutant, leaving the two molecules that make up pure oxygen.Many people with MCS have used ozone generators as air purifiers, but there are many warnings about the danger of breathing ozone.
Pre filters are used in mechanical air handling systems, fans, and air movers to remove large bulk particulate debris. These filters are typically used to prevent damage to the equipment and to not clog up finer particulate filters such as HEPA or gas phase filtration. Often used in combination with other technologies.
AIR EXCHANGES PER HOUR
Beyond choosing the right filter to remove your pollutants of concern, the next most important thing to consider is the air exchanged per hour (ACH).This is simply how many times an air purifier will purify all of the air in a given room over the course of one hour. An ACH of 2, for example, means that the air purifier will purify all of the air in a given room twice over the course of an hour.The more air changes per hour, the more effective the purifier is at removing pollutants from your indoor air and keeping it clean.For comparison’s sake, a minimum ACH rating of four is recommended by The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) for patient rooms in hospitals. They recommend a minimum ACH of six for intensive care units and a minimum ACH of 25 for operating rooms. An ACH of four should be fine for your home.
To calculate how much air you need to move to achieve a given air exchange rate, calculate the room’s square footage and multiply times the average ceiling height in the room, this is the number of cubic feet you need to treat. Take that number and multiply times 4 as this is how much volume of air you need to treat in order to achieve 4 air exchanges per hour (Value A). You then want to compare that value (A) to the amount of air your processor can treat. Typically air units express treatment volume in cubic feet per minute (CFM), so we need to convert that to treatment volume in an hour by multiplying times 60 to give you Value B. Compare Value A to Value B and if A < B, your unit is achieving at least 4 air exchanges per hour
PROPER PLACEMENT OF AN AIR PURIFIER
Where you place your air purifier can make a difference in how effectively it works.
Here are some tips for best placement:
- Place the air purifier closest to the source of the pollution. If you need to purify the air in a bedroom, place it in the bedroom, not In the living room.
- Don’t put it in a corner. Place your purifier where air can come in-and-out from all sides.
- Keep doors and windows closed. Air purifiers work best in an enclosed space, with no inflows or outflows of air.
- Move it from room to room. Move your purifier as needed, rather than expecting it to purify a room on the other side of the house. Or purchase multiple purifiers as needed for the amount of space that needs to be purified.
Also, remember to place it in a spot where you or others will not trip over the electric cord.
AIR PURIFIERS BENEFITS FOR THOSE WITH MCS
If you have MCS, the biggest benefit of having an air purifier is that you can clear the air of toxic pollutants any time. If someone walks in the room with perfume or cigarette smoke on their clothes, just turn on your air filter.And if you are still putting together your safe, toxic free room or home, an air purifier can make your space safe while you are working to remove sources of pollutants.
AIR PURIFIERS BENEFITS FOR THOSE WITH ALLERGIES
If you sneeze and wheeze throughout the year, and air purifier can help relieve your symptoms.While you should always do whatever you can to eliminate the source triggers of your allergies or asthma, with inhalant allergies that’s not always possible. An air purifier can remove the pollens, molds, dust, dander, and other triggers within minutes, and prevent attacks from occurring in the first place.
EnviroKlenz Mobile Air System
The EnviroKlenz Mobile Air System is an innovative, portable processor for eliminating indoor environmental sensitivity triggers. Once an EnviroKlenz HEPA air purifier is installed with its patented air cartridge technology, it immediately begins to mitigate a broad spectrum of indoor environmental sensitivity triggers.
The system improves personal environment air quality by removing and neutralizing chemical odors, fragrances, VOCs, particulates, and allergens all at once. The patented EnviroKlenz technology neutralizes chemicals, pollutants, and fragrances while the HEPA filter removes harmful dust, particulate, allergens, pet dander, and more at 99.99% efficiency. The system is portable so it can easily be moved around your home and office bringing relief where you need it most.
The product uses safe earth minerals as the cartridge media. More specifically they are metal oxides, which are known to be safe, and the patented manufacturing process converts them into an active form while retaining all the safety benefits. This enables them to be effective against a broad array of chemical pollutants and chemical classes.
EnviroKlenz is very attractive when you look at various product options on the market because it puts nothing into the atmosphere. It draws pollutants into the cartridge where it is destroyed and not released.