Air Filtration for Salons: Why You Need It
BY: Seth Wyatt, Purafil, Inc.
It can prevent you from getting sick
Many viruses and bacteria are aerosolized, which means they can float around inside very small water droplets or other small particles in the air for hours. When you breathe these droplets and particles into your lungs, with enough exposure you or a client can contract an illness. Tiny particles not visible to the human eye are generated by yelling, talking, sneezing, coughing, etc., and aerosol transmission has been shown to be the primary mode of transmission for SARS-CoV-2. Filters work by cleaning the air and taking out these particles. This mitigates the risk of bacteria and virus transmission so we are less likely to get sick from someone else or spread something to a coworker.
Other contaminants in our air can also cause inflammation, irritation, and other illnesses that can have health impacts. These contaminants can enter from outdoors (think car exhaust) or be generated by a gas stove, cleaners, a furnace, or things we burn like candles and incense. There is up to five times more pollution indoors than outdoors. We spend 90 percent of our time indoors, and clean air is critical to our overall health and well-being.
The Science of Air Filtration Helps Us Understand Different Kinds of Purification
Air filtration is the process of removing airborne particles from the air by using filters. These air filters trap contaminants—toxins, dust, and pollen—before the air is recirculated by the HVAC system. Air purification is the process of sanitizing the air by neutralizing airborne toxins (bacteria, viruses, gases, and other pathogens). There are different technologies that can neutralize contaminants, and some are safer than others and should be researched and understood. These include ultraviolet-C (UVC) radiation, oxidation, antimicrobials, etc. Subtractive technologies (removing things from the air) are safer than additive technologies (where things are being proactively put in the air) to combat contaminants. Examples of additive technology would be ionization, ozone, hydrogen peroxide, etc. When proactively putting things into the air to combat contaminants, you must consider that you are breathing these things into your lungs and these things are also able to go out and react with things in the environment—cleaners, paints, etc. The by-products from these reactions are unknown and could be harmful.
We’re Indoors Most of the Time
We spend the vast majority of our lives indoors (home, work, and vehicle)—around 90 percent of the time in the US. There are many contaminants in our indoor air that we cannot see. When speaking specifically to airborne viruses and bacteria, the people around us in our homes, offices, and public settings can very easily introduce pathogens that linger in our air for hours and can make many people sick in a short period of time. Specific to SARS-CoV-2, approximately 15 minutes of exposure over a 24-hour period is enough to make someone sick—that is a really short amount of time, and if our air is not being cleaned often and well, the pathogens remain for us to breathe into our lungs for a long period of time.
It Can Eliminate Workplace Odors
General air ventilation with your HVAC system removes odor slowly, but not very efficiently. HVAC systems are not made to pull out the gases that cause the odor; they just end up recycling the air. Certain portable air-cleaning products use technology that can capture and remove gases and odors, however. Gas phase molecular filtration media chemisorbs gases and odors in an instant and irreversible reaction, so once captured, those odors will not be released back into the air. Some portable air cleaners that leverage molecular filtration type medias can also be highly effective for odor control and odor elimination.