The Dirt on "Eco-Friendly" Air Purifiers

November 29, 2011 One comment View all articles in Home

Here at ChasingGreen, we mention VOCs and other indoor air pollutants a lot. Biological air pollutants that you've probably heard of include particles like dust, dust mites, mold, mildew, pollen, and animal dander and are likely to cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems. There are also man-made air pollutants that can't be tackled by simply changing your sheets or dusting the windowsills. Common endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) found in the home include phthalates, pesticides, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). In addition to affecting the endocrine system, these compounds can complicate reproductive functions, lead to certain cancers, and can cause lasting damage to the nervous and respiratory systems.

It only makes sense that, being an eco-conscious consumer, you'd want to remove these biological, chemical, and gas/combustion by-products from your home, but did you know your ionizing or ozone air purifier is actually bad for your health? Ozone is desirable in the upper atmosphere, but it can have harmful health effects at ground level, causing lung damage and asthma aggravation. Because air purification isn't as simple as merely plugging in any old electric air purifier, we've compiled a few tips for you.


  • Look for the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) certification rating on an air purifier to find the best one. The CADR rating system compares how many cubic feet of air per minute will be cleansed of small particulate matter by a given air purifier at its highest setting. A worthwhile purifier is supposed to have a rating of at least 350, according to Consumer Reports .
  • To get the greatest results from any air purifier, be sure to clean your home regularly. Vacuum, dust, and avoid the use of harmful gases or toxins while cleaning to reduce the amount of irritating particles in your home.
  • Room purifiers appear to be more effective than built-in filters in forced-air heating and cooling systems because the built-in filters only work when the air is being blown, and indoor pollutants can build up when the system isn't used as frequently. With single-room units, you can continuously filter the air in your home.
  • If you already have a central filter installed in your air-handling system, replace the existing filter in the air duct with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) or pleated media filter. Then, remember to wash or replace the filter on a regular basis to prevent clogging, which can worsen air conditions in your home.
  • HEPA filters are the most effective in trapping smaller particles, as they remove approximately 99.97 percent of them. These filters are made of a paper-like material and are pleated in order to increase the surface area. The great thing about HEPA filters is that they don't emit ozone and they're particularly effective against mold.
  • For better air quality in your home, recommends placing two to three plants in each room, or about 15 plants for 1500 square feet.


Angela S on Dec. 2, 2011 at 8:43 p.m.

The plants are essential for air cleaning. I know that this not replace an air purifier but having both will be more efficient.

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