Why Low Levels of Air Pollution Actually Cause the Most Harm

Michael Cole

As a nerd passionate about helping the world breathe clean air for nearly a decade, I recently came across something that blew my mind.  Lower levels of air pollution are more harmful than higher levels.  WHAT?! How could this be?   My Intuition About Air Pollution’s Health Effects Join me for a quick thought experiment. Let’s say you could wave a magic wand and reduce PM2.5 pollution by 5 micrograms in either Chicago (where I live) or Beijing (where I often go). Your goal? Save the most lives possible. Where would you put your magic wand to work? Before you decide which...

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Air Changes Per Hour (ACH): What is it & How to Calculate it

Michael Cole

Air changes per hour (ACH) is an important metric to ensure a room has good air quality and proper ventilation. But what is air changes per hour and how do you calculate it? What is Air Changes Per Hour? Air changes per hour is simply the amount of times all of the air in a room is replaced with completely new air, in one hour.  A value of ‘5’ air changes per hour means a room’s entire volume of air is replaced with new air 5 times in one hour. Air purifiers purifiers do not replace the air in a room...

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Air Purifier Guide for Schools: COVID-19 Protection

Michael Cole

The potentially devastating effects of learning loss for millions of students is a serious risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. With this in mind, many schools are looking for strategies to protect students in classrooms and around the school from COVID-19. The Harvard Schools for Health is a useful report that provides practical tips for protecting children in schools and classrooms from COVID-19. It includes a section on portable air purifiers for schools, however it does not go into detail much detail. This “Air Purifiers for Schools” article fills in those gaps, and provides answers on how best to protect students in the classroom, and how...

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How Effective Are Air Purifiers for Virus Protection?

Michael Cole

Peer-reviewed scientific research has shown conclusively that HEPA air purifiers capture over 99% of viruses, even viruses as small as the coronavirus. However, it’s important to remember that air purifiers are not a silver bullet for virus protection.   Things to Look Out For When Using a HEPA Purifier to Protect from COVID Here are the three most important things to keep in mind when using an air purifier for virus protection. #1 Air Purifier Positioning is Important Poorly positioned air purifiers may move air from an infected person towards other people. This has the unwanted potential effect of spreading droplets...

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Can HEPA Filters and Air Purifiers Capture the Coronavirus?

Michael Cole

Data shows face masks can protect you from the coronavirus, but how about air purifiers? How effective are HEPA air filters at capturing the coronavirus?   Can HEPA Filters Capture and Remove The Coronavirus? To answer this question, we need to first answer if HEPA filters can capture particles as small as the coronavirus. The COVID-19 coronavirus measures 0.06 – 0.14 microns in diameter. HEPA filters – the workhorse of any purifier – must remove 99.97% of particles “greater than or equal to” 0.3 microns. But the definition only mentions particles 0.3 microns and above. What about smaller particles like the coronavirus...

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How Do Wildfires Affect Air Quality Levels?

Michael Cole

Pollution from wildfires throughout Australia and California over the years has greatly affected air quality levels.  Pictures like the one above show the large amounts of smoke and pollution produced by these wildfires. But how exactly does the smoke from these wildfires affect air quality levels?  What exactly is in wildfire smoke? What Type of Air Pollution Is In Wildfire Smoke? As it turns out, there are a lot of things in wildfire smoke.  According to the Environmental Protect Agency: Smoke is composed primarily of carbon dioxide, water vapor, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, hydrocarbons and other organic chemicals, nitrogen oxides,...

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