Poor air quality is associated with all manner of health problems. The fires raging in the west of the United States have led to irritating smoke wreaking havoc on the respiratory tracts of many people in affected areas. And as importantly, we are in the midst of a second wave of viral activity in pockets across the country. When we find ourselves in situations where the air is less than optimal, it’s important to mitigate or modify exposures where we can, such as at home using an air filter, so that possible harmful impacts are minimized.
Here is an easy and affordable do-it-yourself home project from Paul Perscu, ND MPH to help clean the air in your home.
It’s economical, home-made, Box Fan Air Filter System (see the instructional video below).
- This fan will decrease particulate matter including many toxins, smoke, and germs.
- This quick, affordable filtration system is made with a box fan and air filter, both inexpensive and readily available at hardware and home stores.
- As an added bonus, viruses often attach to other particles for transmission purposes. A filtration system like this can capture viruses and their carrier molecules.
- Choose a 20-by-20-inch floor fan.
- For the filter, choose one with a MERV rating of 13 (or higher or FPR 10) ,which traps and removes smaller particles. These filters remove dust, lint, pollen, dander, mold spores, bacteria, microscopic allergens, virus carriers, smoke, and smog particles.
- Look at the arrow on the edge of the filter to see which way the filter should be attached. The arrow should point to the back side of the fan.
- With a roll of packing tape, secure the filter on all four sides to the back of the fan. Taping more than one filter will not make this system work better; it will put too much strain on the fan. One filter will suffice.
- Run the fan on low to filter the air in the room it is placed. Use multiple fans across rooms in your house if need be.
IMPORTANT: Keep the fan on only when someone is home and mind the children to keep curious fingers away.
Many pollution exposures are difficult to control, so it is important to modify our exposures whenever possible. In time, as the scientific data is gathered and appreciated, hopefully, we will as a society, across cultures, create better environmental policy and enforcement and find solutions for centuries-old habits that alas, are not leading to optimal health.
For further information on air filters see here.
Questions for EPA about air quality in the house, including portable air filters: https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus/air-cleaners-hvac-filters-and-coronavirus-covid-19
Paul Herscu, ND, MPH, DHANP developed the video for immediate public use at this time. He practices with his wife, Amy Rothenberg, ND, DHANP, at their Naturopathic Health Clinic. When not with patients, Dr. Herscu enjoys working in the field of public health to benefit people everywhere.