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What the EPA’s Relaxed Mileage Standards Mean for the Air Purifier Industry

By November 2, 2018 May 4th, 2020 No Comments
8 minutes to read

The air purifier industry has an opportunity to increase profits, and it’s handed to them by no less than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The agency is considering a rollback of vehicle emissions and fuel economy standards implemented under the Obama Administration, which placed the recommended fuel economy at 54.5 miles per gallon until 2025, thereby reducing carbon emissions that contribute to air pollution and climate change.

The move is reportedly part of a greater effort by the Trump administration to ease the regulatory burden on automakers, who have protested the strict regulation for years. It will also allow them to manufacture more affordable trucks, vans, and SUVs.

The planned rollback, however, could put the federal government on a collision course with states like California, which has a special waiver that allows the state government to impose stricter air pollution standards. According to California officials, the rollback could exacerbate the already severe air pollution in major metropolitan areas, increasing the risk of diseases like asthma, emphysema, and cancer.

Air Pollution and the Need for Air Purification Systems

Should the rollback push through, concerns over increased levels of air pollution are expected to boost demand for air purification systems.

Long term exposure to ultrafine particles can induce respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. It increases the mortality rates for people living in highly polluted urban areas, points out Camfil USA’s Charlie Seyffer, Manager of Marketing & Technical Materials for commercial air filters and 37-year ASHRAE member and active committee participant. “Particles below PM2.5, are more harmful because they penetrate deeper into the lung’s alveoli. They can cross blood vessel walls, diffuse into the blood circulation, and affect the function of major organs such as the heart, liver, brain and endocrine system.”

These health issues are why some of the world’s most heavily polluted cities are turning to air purifiers to reduce pollution levels indoors and outdoors. Delhi, for example, is mulling the installation of large-scale purifiers to reduce air pollution levels in the city.

Can Using an Air Purifier Protect You Against Air Pollution?

The problem with outdoor air pollution, whether it’s from automobiles or industrial processes, is that once it makes its way inside a home or building, it can combine with dust, ultra-fine particles, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) among others to create an environment with poor indoor air quality. To protect against these pollutants, it’s a good idea to install an air purifier for home or office use or an HVAC level  commercial air filter for offices, factories, and commercial facilities.

High efficiency air filters, for example, are a commonly used air quality solution used in residential and commercial buildings. For ultra-critical situations, a HEPA filter should be considered.

How Does an HEPA Air Purifier Work?

A true HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) purifier is specifically designed and certified to remove contaminants in the air down to 0.3 microns in size at an efficiency rate of at least 99.97 percent.

For high efficiency air filters, MERV, short for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, is a measure of an air filter’s ability to remove particulate matter.

    • For example, an air filter with a MERV of 1 to 4 rating will remove large particles, hence why they are often used to protect equipment and living spaces from dust. Filters with these values typically capture contaminants roughly 3 to 10 microns in size at an efficiency rate of 20 percent.
    • In contrast, an air filter with a MERV of 11 to 14 is designed to capture fumes and particulate matter in automotive paint shops, laboratories, large office spaces, hospitals and clinics, as well as pharmaceutical facilities at an efficiency rate of at least 99 percent.

In other words, the higher the MERV of an air purifier or filter, the more powerful and effective it will be at removing pollutants in the air. Tobacco smoke, for example, typically has particles averaging from 0.2 to 0.5 microns in size, which means they can only be removed by a true HEPA filter.

What Is the Best Air Purifier?

Ultimately, there is no such thing as the best air purifier. The choice of air filtration solution depends entirely on the building’s air pollution needs, its indoor quality problems, and the kind of contaminants its occupants are exposed to on a daily basis.

A Final Note on HEPA Air Filters

The best way for people to surround themselves with clean air is to spend as much time indoors as possible, in a sealed building with filtered air made possible by the installation of HEPA air filters. This only works, however, if people make the conscious effort to close their windows and use a filtered air-conditioner or purifier.

Ultimately, HEPA filters are merely a stopgap measure to treat the symptoms of a deeper problem. Unless automakers are compelled to make cleaner, more efficient vehicles, air pollution will only continue to be a fact of life. In the meantime, you can learn about air filtration systems by Camfil USA, please click here.

Lynne Laake

Camfil USA Air Filters

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