Avoiding Black Lung
September 30, 2011 11:02 PM   Subscribe

Ozone-free air purifier for apartment on busy street?

I recently moved to a small apartment above a busy street and am a bit concerned about the air quality for health reasons. I'm considering getting an air purifier, but I'm not sure how well they work to mitigate traffic emissions since most of the information on the internet/packaging only seems to mention their ability to filter out indoor pollutants like tobacco smoke, mold, etc.

I also want to avoid purifiers that produce ozone. In previous Ask Mefis I read that it's better to go with a true HEPA filter since they don't produce ozone, but the true HEPA Honeywell filters say they're within the FDA's limits for ozone emissions, not ozone free.

Does anyone know of an ozone-free air purifier that would help reduce traffic emissions?

Possibly relevant information: I'm a poor student living in Vancouver, BC. I'm also planning on getting some of the plants suggested here.
posted by mia_farrow to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
Best answer: If it has an electric motor in it, it's going to produce some ozone (that's why the bumper cars smell the way they do). The problem is, figuring out if they're producing it on purpose or if it's just a byproduct from their fan motor.

What pollutants do you want to remove? If you're trying to get rid of dust a HEPA filter will do just fine, but it won't do diddly for nitrates, sulfates or unburned hydrocarbons as they're small molecules, not filterable particles. If you're just worried about dust (which is plenty bad for you) you might want to look at some of the DIY solutions that woodworkers have come up with. Basically, they're taking the replacement filters for the somewhat pricy shop recirculating filters (pdf of a Fine Woodworking article) designed to remove very fine particulates and building their own housing and salvaging a fan from somewhere, like an old furnace.

Here's the simplest lowest cost (and probably least effective) version. Here's something more upscale. Here's another.

As an example of what HEPA will and won't do - in our culture lab at work, we were VERY concerned when we could smell it when they were mulching the shrubs outside, but the people in charge of checking such things came up and said everything was fine. So big as a bacterium was filtered out, but big as whatever makes mulch smell like rotting wood chips? Right on through a really expensive industrial biotech grade HEPA filter.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 2:35 AM on October 1, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you for your informative and helpful answer, Kid Charlemagne!
posted by mia_farrow at 11:45 AM on October 2, 2011

I live in the middle of LA, did a lot of research and settled on this:


It's got a multistage filter, including medical grape HEPA and Carbon. I have a smallish 1-bedroom apartment and this thing does a great job of cleaning the air quickly. In addition, the unit is meant to be run 24/7 and the filter only needs replacing once every 5 years or so, making it nearly maintenance-free.
posted by SlagBlip at 5:58 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

« Older Good Sydney Gynecologist?   |   Stinky Shiitakes Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.