Air pollution is a problem in almost every city, some more than others. Smog (a term created by combining the words ‘smoke and fog’) frequently contains many harmful chemical waste products from various industrial and commercial automobile exhaust and ozone–and this complex blend of air pollution often mixes with the air that goes into our air conditio air pollution ners and comes right into our homes.
These pollutants may only cause throat and nose irritation and either cause or make asthma symptoms worse in the short term, the EPA is saying that in the medium to long term, many of the chemicals contained in smog have carcinogenic effects, leading to lung, throat and other types of cancer. Add ozone, another harmful compound and a big component in smog, and you’ve got a real health hazard. Smog and related air pollution also easily floats in the air for miles, so even those of us in suburban areas aren’t really safe, either.
And if you think your air conditioner filter removes any of these pollutants, unfortunately you’re mistaken. Air conditioner filters, at best, only remove larger particles and even the filters that are black on one side with a little carbon only remove a very small percentage of chemical or gas pollutants-which means that well over 95% of all that smog, gas, ozone and other outdoor pollutants are still coming into your home for you, your family, babies and loved ones to breathe.
What is really alarming is that there are many people recommending that on high smog days to stay indoors. While this may reduce exposure a little, unless you’re using a carbon air filtration system to remove the pollution that is coming in through your air conditioner 24/7, you’re still getting close to the same exposure-and now you’re adding whatever other pollutants that are in your home’s air to the mix, as well.
This is a very important point for the elderly or those with respiratory issues: if you’re going to stay indoors to avoid an increase in outdoor air-caused allergy, asthma or respiratory symptoms, make sure that the air inside is as clean as posibble, and certainly cleaner than outdoors. This is one reason why we recommend activated carbon or charcoal filters for use in homes and offices so much, because if you do that, your home or office will be the one place where the air is actually clean and you’ll actually get a break from the pollutants. Stongly activated carbon is the only thing (and zeolite to some degree) that will remove chemical pollutants from the air. And fortunately, activated carbon is also very good at removing ozone from the air, too, which alone causes a great deal of repiratory distress for some people.
What carbon air filtration system or air purifiers are best? There are quite a few on the market now, with various levels of effectiveness. We’re going to try to make a point here about this: if the pollutants and chemicals in smog and outdoor pollution are mostly coming from industrial sources, doesn’t it make sense that you would need a carbon filter that is industrial strength to be able to remove those pollutants? Of course it does. This is why we most often recommend Aller Air air purifiers and filters-because their Vocarb carbon is the same that is used in commercial and industrial factories and it’s designed to remove that level of chemical pollution. Most other air purifier manufacturers do not have carbon or charcoal that is this strongly activated so they will not clean the air as well, plain and simple.
Austin Air’s HealthMate Plus and Blueair units with their SmokeStop Gas & Odor filter are fairly good second choices, but they have far less carbon than Aller Air units which means the filters won’t last as long. Aller Air has both whole house units and portable air purifiers with this powerful Vocarb carbon, as well as medical grade HEPA filters for removing the tiniest of particles. Like any carbon filter, though, they must be replaced regularly because the carbon becomes saturated with polluta