Most studies about reducing indoor smoke have used HEPA air purifiers. Some HEPAs are more efficient than others at removing very small particles (PM2.5) including smoke. Efficiency also depends on how large the volume of the indoor air is and on the rate of outdoor-to-indoor air infiltration (typical houses are quite permeable). HEPAs have been observed to lower PM2.5 concentrations in homes by 26 to 88% relative to outdoor air.
This comment was coordinated with WDOH. For more information see:
Barn et al. Portable air cleaners should be at the forefront of the public health response to landscape fire smoke. Environmental Health (2016) https://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12940-016-0198-9
EPA: Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home, 2nd Edition, Portable Air Cleaners, Furnace and HVAC Filters (July 2018) https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-07/documents/guide_to_air_cleaners_in_the_home_2nd_edition.pdf
Welcome to the Washington Smoke blog, a partnership between state, county, and federal agencies, and Tribes. We coordinate to collectively share info for Washington communities affected by wildfire smoke. If the air monitoring map doesn't display here, links to additional monitoring maps can be found under the 'Monitoring & Forecasting' tab.
Thursday, August 23, 2018
HEPA air purifiers can remove most smoke from indoor air
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Thanks Matt! Early this morning, many monitoring sites were gray dots. Was the computer feed down?ReplyDelete
I noticed that too, so went to purpleair to confirm if I needed to wear my N95 mask.Delete
Thanks for suggestion Matt. I am definetly consider the HEpa option.ReplyDelete
Hi! I have ?s:ReplyDelete
When will this smoke begin to clear? How contained are the fires?
Depends on where you are. Smoke close to fires will likely remain until season-ending rains show up and that wont happen in the next week at least. There are numerous large fires- the above map provides their location. Also see links on "Where's the fire" tab (http://wasmoke.blogspot.com/p/national-interagency-fire-information.html) for fire- specific info.Delete
It appears that the smoke will be revisiting us now and probably again in the future. I am more sensitive to this because of asthma, so I have been using a HEPA air purifier that I bought a while back for that.ReplyDelete
But here in Bellingham it has gotten into the hazardous AQ levels. So I made a DIY HEPA air purifier based upon the YouTube video that our Bellingham Herald website referred me to. Extremely easy and it works great. It cost more than the "only $25" for me because I bought a batch of air filters at a time, but even so $50 is much cheaper than the regular air purifiers $600-$800. If I use this all the time it'll last me a year and if nothing else I have box fan for when the smoke clears.
All of the Home Depot, Lowe's, etc. here were out of the box fans and HEPA furnace filters. But you can get them online.
I bought 2 hepa filters, highly rated, and both smelled like plastic even after running for hours in a spare room with the door closed. Any suggestions? The plastic smell horrible, took over any benefits.ReplyDelete
Response from our toxicologist, Dr. Matt Kadlec:Delete
We don’t know what kind of plastic is responsible without knowing anything else about your HEPA air filtration devices so we can’t give you a precise answer; however, typical HEPA filters are made of many thin layers of very fine glass fibers. They may be bound together by heat or possible with different chemicals, the filter is probably not the source of the smell. The filter edges may be held in place by rubberized plastic that may still be releasing odor chemicals. Another possibility is that the unit housing is made of some type of plastic that is still emitting odors. There are many kinks of plastics. All are polymers, which are molecular chains formed from monomers with the help of catalysts. Some plastics also contain co-polymers and/or modifiers. When plastics are manufactured, the injection molds may be covered with a release agent (a lubricant) some of which remains on the plastic. After manufacturing, one or more of these non-polymer chemical leftovers can evaporate into the air and may produce odors. Such smells decrease over time. Some people claim that washing new plastic with baking soda and water reduces the smell.