More and more studies have shown that air purifiers can significantly reduce the many harmful contaminants found indoors by filtering them from homes and workplaces. Installing these machines can eliminate pollutants that cause some of the most common upper respiratory illnesses, colds, allergy irritation and asthma.

The ultimate health benefit of air purifiers is the newfound ability to breathe easily without the numerous harmful particles that cause increasing instances of illnesses for greater numbers of people.

Function

By directing air through a filter, air purifying devices catch the potentially harmful airborne pollutants that cause a range of illnesses and are especially threatening to sufferers of allergies and asthma. When indoor air is sent multiple times through a filter, the machine is able to catch particles both large and small, ultimately purifying the air up to 97% and freeing the inhabitant of unsafe contaminants such as dust, pollen, bacteria, spores and viruses.

Potential

A decent air purifier will provide health benefits through removal of most of the airborne particles within a room or building, reducing the chances of allergy symptoms among those who live there. Since it is estimated that indoor air pollutants directly cause or worsen nearly half of all major health problems, removal of these harmful materials can prevent colds, asthma, headaches and allergic irritation of the nose and eyes, among other maladies.

Considerations

While air purifiers can greatly alleviate many common symptoms, it is important to remember that these machines alone have not been proven to prevent allergy symptoms. Air filters are able to block airborne toxins before they are inhaled, but not those potentially harmful particles that are already absorbed by walls or household objects.

Instead of relying solely on air purifiers to prevent particles from circulating, proper ventilation, including occasional airing out of the home or office, is key. Before purchasing an air filter, it is wise to first try and determine what types of airborne pollutants exist in the room or building.

Warning

The potential health benefits of air purifiers can be negated by the unwanted effects of certain types of filters that produce ozone. Generally, this occurs with electrostatic or ionic air purifiers, which electrostatically charge the initial harmful airborne particles but also leak ozone in the process. The result can be illness of the lungs, chest pain and intensified asthma and allergy symptoms.

To avoid ozone-emitting filters and get the most health advantages out of air purifiers, industry experts advise using HEPA filters, as they have been proven highly effective in filtering indoor air without projecting any side products.

Expert Insight

Air filter expert Jim Rosenthal of AllergyClean.com encourages readers to employ a comprehensive approach to allergy-related asthma reduction rather than depending completely on air purifiers to do the job.

This means buying dust mite-proof mattress and pillow coverings, as these particles cause a large share of allergic symptoms in the home. Rosenthal sites the Inner City Asthma Study, which demonstrated the heightened effectiveness of using HEPA air filters in conjunction with mite-resistant bed coverings.