There’s been a lot of news headlines about the COVID-19 coronavirus and the need for high standards of hygiene and the implementation of quarantine to prevent its transmission. However, very little has been written so far about air purifiers and their role in preventing the spread of respiratory infection and illness, while also limiting the incidence of allergies and asthma.
The CDC recommends that healthcare workers wear surgical N95 masks to protect them from exposure to the coronavirus COVID-19. These masks provide 95% particle filtration to 0.3 micron (a micron is 1/1,000th of a millimetre). However, according to NASA, High-Efficiency Particulate Arresting (HEPA) filter media filters nanoparticles which are approximately 0.015 micron.2 This suggests that HEPA air filters may be useful in residential and professional settings where there is exposure to biologics such as viruses and bacteria.
Coronavirus 19 is a variant of SARS. The diameter of this virus is about 0.05 to 0.1 micron. The virus can become airborne with a cough or sneeze. It travels from the carrier into the air in water droplets or mucous.
HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) media is the highest standard of particle filtration. This standard was set by the Atomic Energy Commission during World War II. During that time, the standard was 97% particle removal up to 0.1 micron and 99.97% removal of particles up to 0.3 micron.
According to more recent NASA research, HEPA media filters nanoparticles (0.015 micron). Viral particles, which are 0.05 to 0.1 micron, are larger than the nanoparticles tested by NASA. This suggests that HEPA media is capable of filtering viral particles, such as a Coronavirus.
NASA also advocates for the combination of HEPA material with granular activated carbon for optimal particle absorption. In NASA’s tests the HEPA media filter in combination with packed beds of granular activated carbon have efficacy in removing nanoparticle contaminants within a spacecraft cabin.
High Efficiency Gas Arresting (HEGA) material is an activated carbon cloth that has been recognized for its antiviral properties. This was proven by the antiviral research done by the UK Health Protection Agency. HEGA technology was originally developed by the military to protect against a wide variety of chemical, biological and nuclear agents.
Military Grade HEGA Carbon Cloth, provides an extremely large surface area for adsorption of chemicals, gases, viruses and bacteria. This HEGA material is one of the most absorptive materials known to man. HEGA is the activated Carbon Cloth that is used in the Austin AirAllergy Machine HM405 and TheBedroom Machine HM402.
TheAllergy Machine features a four stage filter that includes both 60 sq. ft. of HEPA as well as HEGA media that is used in hospitals and clean rooms. HEPA delivers comprehensive particulate removal. HEGA removes VOC’s and offers protection against viruses.
TheBedroom Machine has a five stage filter that features the same HEPA and HEGA found in the Allergy Machine with the addition of a granular activated carbon (fifth) stage.
TheHealthMate HM400 andHealthMate Plus HM450 feature both the 60 square feet of HEPA media and packed beds of granular carbon (15 lbs.) found in the cabin filters of the NASA spacecraft. The HEPA filters used in all Austin filters is true medical-grade HEPA with a MERV rating of MERV-17; the highest available.
Submicron and Nanoparticulate Matter Removal by HEPA-Rated Media Filters and Packed Beds of Granular Materials. Accessed April 1, 2020. Available at: https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20170005166.pdf
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