If you’re wondering if an air purifier is worth it, the short answer is yes! We’ll outline 6 important reasons an air purifier is worth the cost.
Are Air Purifiers Necessary?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air is typically 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air, and people tend to spend upwards of 90% of their time indoors.
Thousands of chemicals lurk in our homes, brought in by everything from beauty products, dry cleaning, and scented candles, to shoes, shower curtain, cooking on a gas stove, and furniture.
Some of the pollutants commonly found in our homes are known hormone disruptors and carcinogens (cancer-causing substances). For example, certain phthalates, a class of chemicals that makes plastic flexible, transparent, and durable, are both! They adversely affect human reproduction and development and have been linked to certain cancers, particularly, breast cancer. If you’ve ever had a new vinyl shower curtain, you’ve smelled them.
So, the EPA recommends having a high-efficiency air filtration system in addition to ventilating your house by opening windows and doors often and limiting the source of exposure to the extent possible (aka minimizing chemicals and plastics).
Here are 6 common sources of indoor air pollution that prove an air purifier is worth it.
You Cook with a Gas Stove
Gas stoves and ovens are often a primary source of indoor air pollution, especially if the exhaust fan is not turned on every time it’s in use. They emit nitrogen dioxide which can cause respiratory and cardiovascular issues, particularly in children who are more susceptible. A recent report by the Rocky Mountain Institute has found that “gas stoves may be exposing tens of millions of people to levels of air pollution in their homes that would be illegal outdoors under national air quality standards.” (1)
If you use a gas stove consider always using the exhaust hood and run an air purifier while in use.
You Use Household Cleaning Products
Household cleaning products can introduce chemicals into the home air, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can be harmful when inhaled. According to the Berkley Lab, “A substantial number of scientific studies now have found that chemicals, including VOCs, emitted from cleaning and sanitizing products may have health effects, primarily in those using the products professionally, but also in those doing domestic cleaning in their own homes. Published reviews of the scientific literature have found that cleaning work, including professional use of cleaning or sanitizing products and domestic use of cleaning or sanitizing sprays, is associated with increased risk of new-onset asthma and other respiratory effects.” (2)
I highly recommend using an air purifier and opening windows while using household cleaning products, and as a healthier option, consider making your own household cleaners using ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils. I also really love these non-toxic cleaning products.
You Burn Incense, Candles, Or Use Air Fresheners
Many of us like to use candles, incense, and air fresheners, but the artificial fragrances and other chemicals emitted by them can be hazardous to our health.
Burning candles releases VOCs and particulate matter into the air. Particulate matter is a mixture of extremely small liquid droplets and particles that can enter your lungs. Extended exposure to particulate matter may lead to heart and lung problems. (3)
Air fresheners release a range of potentially hazardous air pollutants that can impair air quality. It’s quite the paradox, that a product designed to improve our home environment, is inadvertently making it worse. According to research published in 2017, “Even so-called green and organic air fresheners can emit hazardous air pollutants. Air freshener ingredients are largely unknown and undisclosed, owing to regulatory protections on consumer product ingredients and on fragrance formulations. In studies, fewer than ten percent of all volatile ingredients are typically disclosed on air freshener labels or material safety data sheets. From an indoor air quality perspective, air fresheners have been indicated as a primary source of volatile organic compounds within buildings. From a health perspective, air fresheners have been associated with adverse effects, such as migraine headaches, asthma attacks, mucosal symptoms, infant illness, and breathing difficulties.” (4)
To add a beautiful smell to your home, try using an essential oil diffuser with pure essential oil.
Minimize burning things indoors and if you do, ventilate the air using an air purifier.
Your Floors Are Carpeted
EWG and other consumer health organizations recommend limiting the amount of carpet in your home, ventilating by opening doors and windows, especially within the first 72 hours of installation, or choosing natural materials like wool, bamboo or jute, which don’t have this off-gassing problem.
You Have Furniture
Furniture is a major source of off-gassing and air pollution in the home environment. You’ve undoubtedly experienced a “new furniture” smell when you brought home a new couch or object. You’re smelling the VOC’s and other chemicals off-gassing. While the strong smell typically subsides in a matter of days, it’s possible that odorless chemicals will continue to off-gas for longer.
You Live in a Humid Climate or Have a Mold Issue
If you live in a humid climate or have water damage in your home, your home is more susceptible to mold. Numerous studies have linked indoor mold to various health issues, such as upper respiratory tract symptoms, coughing, and wheezing. Individuals who are highly sensitive to mold may have allergic reactions, which could include sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rashes. (7)
A high-efficiency air purifier can reduce the number of spores in the air and prevent from circulating around your home. But most importantly, if you have mold, be sure to have it professionally cleaned and removed, and any water leaks fixed to prevent future damage.
Is an Air Purifier Worth It?
Yes! As you can see, it is impossible to limit all exposure to chemicals and indoor air pollutants. So, the best think you can do is minimize them as much as you can, and invest in a high-quality air purifier to clean up the rest.
The Most Effective Air Purifier
While there are many air purifier options on the market, most of them utilize a HEPA filter, which is not the most effective way to clean the air. A DFS (disinfection filtration system) is 40x more effective than a HEPA filter and is able to capture much smaller particles, including microbes like bacteria and viruses. DFS filters are used in hospitals, schools, planes, and other public places because they are the most effective air filters available.