A no-brainer: Interior air filtration

I see these advertisements for air fresheners. Never used one nor do I ever intend to.

But, by their very being, it is suggestive that the air within interior spaces, particularly in automobiles and trucks, can get a bit stale and/or musty-smelling.

Though relatively inexpensive, the question is: Do air fresheners go far enough, meaning, are air fresheners everything that they can be? Even the ones that require being plugged into a wall outlet?

By “everything that they can be,” what is meant is: Are they effective at eliminating or removing interior air pollutants? Well, I’m guessing that would depend on exactly the type of pollutants being addressed, targeted for removal.

A new danger

It is a well-established fact that there is now a third wave of coronavirus infections spreading across parts of Europe. Considering the likelihood that virus variants are to blame, a key question is if this third wave of coronavirus infections there will be contained. Early indications are that availability of COVID-19 vaccines do not meet the need in order to suppress the current level of spread in those parts of Europe most affected.

Disclosure: It is not my intent here to raise alarm nor cause increased or added fear, but the reality is such that we’ve already experienced two waves of coronavirus infections the world over and we’re now seeing a third wave in at least one region.

So, one may wonder in lieu of getting a coronavirus vaccine (and there are different reasons a person may not be able to get the vaccine or for not wanting to get the vaccine providing the availability is there – talking about that goes beyond the scope of this particular discussion) if there are other effective measures, means available outside of face coverings and physical distancing to help stem coronavirus-disease spread.

And this brings up the topic of air filtration in interior spaces.

Effective virus particle-removing

So, way back on Feb. 3rd, I posted on the “Air Quality Matters” blog “ the post: “Air cleaning and COVID-19.”

In that post in the second paragraph it is written: “Even after the vaccines are administered, it is my understanding that face protection and physical distancing will still be required. What will also help in buildings like schools, libraries, etc., where people gather, such things as adequate air filtration and ventilation will be demanded, if not by everyone, then by the majority, presumably.”

A few paragraphs later, I also explained, “[A]nd provided advertised product … is … effective in neutralizing the coronavirus disease, variants included, here again, this will help in the grand cleaning … scheme.”

Okay, so a real concern about this topic area, is regarding how soon conditions will be able to return to normal. Included in that is a resumption in on-site schooling, attending entertainment and sporting events, traveling, and on and on the list goes.

Well, relating to schools once again being in session and covered by the news media, is this notion of adequate air filtration and ventilation.

So, there are various types of air filtration. These include electrostatic discharge, ultraviolet (UV) radiation, ionization, high-efficiency particle air (HEPA) and ozone filtration.

On the Wikipedia site, the reference here being HEPA and contained in the “Applications” category within, is the sub-heading “Pandemic of COVID-19.”

Within sub-head text, indicated is that HEPA can, it is presumed, guard against COVID-19, though this is not stated in those exact words, but the inference is, based on the way I interpreted what I read, that it does. Apparently, HEPA filtration, depending on type and efficacy, can effectively filter out of interior air virus particles in the range of 0.02 to 0.3 micrometers  (microns) in size. The coronavirus, according to information in this entry, is about 0.125 microns in size. It should be noted that related to this aspect, only on corresponding citation was referenced, provided.

From another source, in this case pubmed.gov, the size of coronavirus particles are stated specifically. The size cited puts it in the neighborhood of being one-thousand times smaller, and according to information in the “Abstract,” is classified as a “nano-aerosol”.*

As to the other types of filtering I could find no information related to effectiveness in terms of trapping COVID-19.

Oh, and as far as air filtration in general goes, there is something in the vehicle world known as high-efficiency cabin air (HECA) filtration.

For more on this, see: “HECA: Taking school-bus-interior air-cleaning to whole new level.”

Notes

* Leung WWF, Sun Q, Electrostatic charged nanofiber filter for filtering airborne novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and nano-aerosols. Sep Purif Technology. 2020 Nov 1; 250:116886. doi:10:1016/j.seppur.2020.116886. Epub 2020 Apr 22. PMID: 32322159; PMCID: PMC7175919.

– Alan Kandel

All material copyright 2021.

2 thoughts on “A no-brainer: Interior air filtration”

  1. Thank you for sharing this helpful information, Alan! I agree that the efficacy of the interior air filters regarding COVID-19 pathogens is questionable. But, they might still protect those indoors by getting rid of harmful air pollutants.

    Reply
    • Kody, you’re welcome! Thank you for taking time to read the post above and for providing helpful feedback and input to that!

      Reply

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