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Blog/Opinion: Why don't air cleaners help?

By HHI Staff

Sometimes people with asthma, allergies or sensitivities just can't seem to find relief. Why don't air cleaners help these people? According to the EPA:


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Pollen, dust mite and cockroach allergens, some mold spores, and animal dander carried on large particles settle rapidly before they can be removed by filtration. Because these particles do not remain airborne, air-cleaning devices are relatively ineffective in their removal. Therefore, effective allergen control requires routine cleaning and dust control including the weekly washing of bed sheets, frequent vacuuming of carpets and furniture, and regular dusting and cleaning of hard surfaces. (For more on allergen control, visit

A significant fraction of cat and dog allergens and a small portion of dust mite allergens associated with mite feces are carried on small particles. Consequently, they are more easily dispersed throughout a house, remain airborne longer, and are more likely to be removed by air cleaners. Although there is evidence that some air cleaners can remove a portion of smaller particles from the air, there is little evidence that these reductions in particle levels alleviate health symptoms.


This lack of improvement in symptoms may be due in part to the fact that, once sensitized, allergic and asthmatic individuals respond to much lower levels of pollutants.





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The Healthy House Institute (HHI), a for-profit educational LLC, provides the information on as a free service to the public. The intent is to disseminate accurate, verified and science-based information on creating healthy home environments.


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(Note: The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of The Healthy House Institute, LLC.)

Why don't air cleaners help?:  Created on December 27th, 2010.  Last Modified on December 27th, 2010


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