UCD study finds Camfil air purifiers effective against airborne particles

For this experiment, a room at the MMUH in Dublin measuring 4x2.5x2.6m was filled with aerosol for thirty seconds

A study by air filtration provider Camfil, in conjunction with University College Dublin (UCD) and the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital (MMUH), has found the company’s City M air purifiers remove aerosols from poorly ventilated rooms at four times the normal rate. Experiments done by UCD researcher and lecturer, Dr Kevin Nolan of the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, on the presence of aerosol in poorly ventilated spaces, used the purifiers to clean a room of aerosol.

For this experiment, a room at the MMUH in Dublin measuring 4x2.5x2.6m was filled with aerosol for thirty seconds using a smoke wand. The presence of aerosol was measured by observing the average image intensity of laser light scattered by the aerosol. These experiments found when untreated, the aerosol dissipated over 500 seconds. When the air purifier was at its maximum speed, the aerosol was cleared in under 160 seconds. When a small heater was used to provide added natural convection flow, the untreated aerosol particles dissipated in 800 seconds, which was reduced to below 200 seconds with the use of the purifier.

These findings are significant, Camfil says, because on April 30th, 2021 the WHO declared that COVID-19 is transmitted mostly through the inhalation of airborne aerosols within close range. Air purifiers can reduce the spread of COVID-19, while also tackling other health problems.

The WHO estimates that 400,000 deaths in Europe and 1,080 in Ireland every year are attributable to poor air quality. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified air pollution - particularly PM2.5 - as a leading cause of cancer. High-efficiency particulate air filtration (HEPA) technologies can reduce the circulation of airborne particulate matter by more than 99%, Camfil claims.

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