Personal Air Purifiers and Safety/Effectiveness

Posted by phoenixrises @phoenixrises, Oct 9, 2020

I have Bronchiectasis and have been having bad winters/springs getting sick with flu, bronchitis/pneumonia, and bronchiectasis flareups. In light of the flu season approaching and COVID, I'm considering purchasing a personal air purifier – specifically AirTamer 315 – that you wear around your neck.

Background: AirTamer electrostatic purification creates a 3-foot sphere of cleaner, healthier air around your head by repelling many negative ion micron-sized pollutants including viruses, bacteria, mold, etc. AirTamer runs on ionic technology that emits negative ions that are reported to be ozone-free. AirTamer was tested to California (CARB) standard for air purifier ozone emission and was given an ozone emission rate of zero. Upon further searching, I found that AirTamer does emit 4 parts per billion ozone levels, however, it's 10 times lower than the EPA’s recommended 50 parts per billion limit on ozone from electronic equipment and FDA's limit for medical devices so it's supposedly considered safe. However, my understanding is that ANY ozone emitted (especially if wearing around your neck) can cause lung irritation and/or further lung issues especially for people with lung conditions (e.g., COPD, bronchiectasis, etc.).

My functional MD doctor is recommending this device for me (and he personally wears this device and his health has improved considerably), but he doesn't have a lung condition.

My questions are: Has anyone with a lung condition – especially bronchiectasis – worn a "personal air purifier" that uses negative ions (no UV)? What has been your experience? Have the negative ions emitted further comprised your lungs OR has it helped prevent you from getting sick? Has your doctor supported your using the personal air purifier with your lung condition?

I'm hoping this could be a positive thing to help protect me when I'm out and about, shopping for food, with other people, and/or on a plane, etc. It's scary out there, especially with the Fall/Winter approaching, but I don't want to (further) damage my lungs. Thanks for your thoughts!

Wow! I never knew there could be negative effects from these air purifiers. I will have to look my model up and see what kind of system it is. I just recently started using mine again due to my daughter moving in with her cat. Since I have started using it at night in my room; my cough, lung congestion, and runny nose has subsided quite a bit. Mine is a stand-alone unit, I think with an ionizing filter, could be hepa. I clean the filter on a regular basis.

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@windwalker

Wow! I never knew there could be negative effects from these air purifiers. I will have to look my model up and see what kind of system it is. I just recently started using mine again due to my daughter moving in with her cat. Since I have started using it at night in my room; my cough, lung congestion, and runny nose has subsided quite a bit. Mine is a stand-alone unit, I think with an ionizing filter, could be hepa. I clean the filter on a regular basis.

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Hi Terri – Mine stand-alone unit has filters which I regularly clean & replace. The ones on the furnace, my husband replaces twice as often as required. Both are charcoal & HEPA – not ionic. Our friends have a HEPA plus ionizing systems, located at the furnace & venting through the furnace outlet – this is supposed to reduce the ozone in the air. But it requires monthly maintenance, which sounds like a pain to me.
My concern with the "personal" purifiers is that you are blowing the ozone right in your face, and even low doses can accumulate. If yours is a room-sized unit situated away from your bed & body, chances that your are receiving much ozone from it is probably pretty small. But worthwhile checking.
Sue

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@nannette

@sueinmn Sue, I agree with all of your practices and your not in the minority with me. I run a business and have to keep it going but I'm diligent about mask wearing and no one can come in my store without one. I truly believe if we can stay masked and keep distances and wash hands we can still function as a society and keep the economy going. Nan

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I agree Nan. Life has to go on in our communities, but must be done with care. I feel fortunate that I am in a position to stay at home for the majority of the time to keep myself safe. I have been a homebody for the last 10 yrs so I am used to, and prefer, to stay in my home and yard. I am actually a little relieved that I no longer have obligatory things to attend outside the home as I have little energy. Sadly, I don't miss family gatherings, happy hours, or parties. It is the lack of energy that made all of these things a chore for me. I hope your business continues to do well, your little store rocks!!

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@sueinmn

Here is an article from Mayo about ionizing air filters – this specifically addresses room-sized filters and a person with asthma, but in my opinion, it would apply to personal filters and to those if us with bronchiectasis as well. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/asthma/expert-answers/asthma/faq-20058187

I personally would not use a personal air purifier – all of them generate ozone. They may be advertised as generating a low level, but here are my concerns:
– How do you know if your personal unit is performing correctly, either while new or as it gets older? As far as I know, there is no simple home test for measuring the ozone level being discharged.
– What is the effect on the body and lungs of inhaling low levels of ozone at very close quarters over extended periods of time? Especially for a person with already compromised lungs this is critical.
– What do scientific, peer reviewed studies show about effectiveness and safety of personal air purifiers? I am not able to find any such studies. Most of what is published is from manufacturers.

We have asthma and allergies as well as bronchiectasis in our family (3 households.) We use a whole-house charcoal plus HEPA air filter systems. In our main home, it is part of our climate system (sorry, I don't know the brand.) In our seasonal home (a tiny house) we use a properly sized portable Honeywell unit. The keys to effectiveness are keeping the doors and windows closed as much as possible and absolutely changing all filters on or ahead of schedule, and buying the right filters for the unit. They have made a huge difference in our symptoms and comfort. My daughter has a portable one for her workplace as well. My son-in-law did a little research and added a UV unit in each bedroom as well because he is very concerned about viruses and their small boys.

As for the Covid recommendation to introduce fresh air to keep virus numbers low, we have the maximum fresh air intake on our ventilation system & rune the fan at low speed at all times. We also open windows whenever wind and air quality measures allow, regardless of low outside temperatures.

I hope this helps in your decision-making.
Sue

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Oh darn! I just took a closer look at my air filter. It is a Honeywell ion air purifier – free standing unit. Wondering if I should get rid of it? So, I just pulled up this article among others. After reading it, it makes sense as to why my ceiling fans and lampshades get dirty so fast. I have decided to get rid of my air purifier. https://molekule.science/air-purifiers-ionic-ionizers-bad-or-good/

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@windwalker

Oh darn! I just took a closer look at my air filter. It is a Honeywell ion air purifier – free standing unit. Wondering if I should get rid of it? So, I just pulled up this article among others. After reading it, it makes sense as to why my ceiling fans and lampshades get dirty so fast. I have decided to get rid of my air purifier. https://molekule.science/air-purifiers-ionic-ionizers-bad-or-good/

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So Terri-
Are you going to replace it with a different type?
We find our house cleaner and standalone units with the charcoal plus HEPA unit – actually reduces the dust in our homes. We change the filters (with mask on) twice as often as recommended just to be sure we don't accumulate mold and bacteria at unsafe levels. My husband cleans the jets in out bathtub every week for the same reason.
Sue

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