Do air filters make indoor get-togethers safer?
When Phil Collins sings, "I can feel it coming in the air tonight," he isn't warning you to beware of the virus that causes COVID-19 as you join friends, family or colleagues indoors this winter. But it might make you wonder about what you can do to reduce the risks in closed-in environments.
The answer: Use a multifaceted approach. ConsumerLab.com did extensive tests on the virus-filtering abilities of air filters. The bottom line is "portable air cleaners ... cannot protect people when used on their own, but they can be part of a strategy for protecting people indoors when used along with other recommended practices."
Those recommended practices include (temperatures permitting) opening windows, running air conditioners with the outside air vent open, in addition to wearing masks and sitting at least 6 feet apart. As for choosing an air-filtering device, HEPA filters are best. (We'd add, it's smart to have far-UVC light as part of the filtration process).
Fibrous filters, including HEPA filters, are rated as minimum efficiency reporting value 1 to 16. Only those rated MERV 11 or higher are tested for removing particles 0.3 to 1 micron in size. While those size particles are larger than the virus that causes COVID-19, aerosolized droplets containing viruses are up to 5 microns and may be captured by fibrous filters. Most HEPA-designated residential air cleaners perform at levels comparable to MERV 16 -- with an efficiency of 99% or higher.
For info on performance-verified units, check out the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers website at www.ahamdir.com/room-air-cleaners.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.
(c)2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.(c) 2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.