Fungi are organisms and microorganisms like molds, yeasts and mushrooms. The presence of these life forms are not limited to the outdoors, and they can gain entrance into indoor environments via doors, windows and the outdoor air intakes from air-conditioning, heating and ventilation systems. Fungal growth and sporulation can even originate in the building given enough time under the proper moisture conditions, but regular maintenance can avoid this.
Numerous scientific studies have explored the effect fungi have on indoor air quality (IAQ), and this research has consistently demonstrated that fungi can be the cause of numerous human health problems, including allergies, infections, irritations and toxic effects. There are also toxigenic fungi, which are rarer, that are responsible for an array of additional, more severe, health effects. Unfortunately, fungus is commonly present in our homes.
When fungus is present in the home, the best-case scenario is that it introduces odors and it reduces the overall breathability of the air. However, it can also exacerbate allergies, and it can cause skin and breathing irritations. In worst-case scenarios, the presence of fungi can cause dangerous infections and toxicity. Therefore, although fungus in the home is relatively benign in most cases, an assumption in any one case can be a very harmful mistake. Just as numerous scientific studies have explored the negative effect fungi have on indoor air quality, many parallel research studies have investigated the positive effects that HEPA air filters have.
HEPA, which stands for high efficiency particulate air, is a type of air filter that has approval from the United States Department of Energy and which is used in leading datacenters, hospitals and military installations throughout the world. This research into HEPA filtration has uncovered a wide array of beneficial effects on the air that we breathe. The effect relevant to this discussion is the efficiency at which HEPA filters reduce indoor airborne fungal levels.
In fact, at a recent IAQ conference, scientists demonstrated that they were able to reduce fungal levels by 70-percent simply by using a portable HEPA air filter system. In homes fitted with adequately sized units, the reduction is even greater. The study cited during the IAQ conference involved asthmatic children ages six through eleven from schools in Perth, Australia.
The researchers tested fungal levels at each child’s home. Then, they placed a portable air filtration unit fitted with a HEPA filter in each child’s bedroom for a period of fifteen weeks. The researchers also instructed parents to maintain their regular cleaning schedule during that fifteen-week period so as not to influence the study. When the researchers returned to test the fungal levels, they discovered that the portable HEPA units had reduced fungal levels by 70-percent and particulate matter by 38-percent. However, what surprised them most was that outdoor fungal levels decreased by approximately 53-percent.
This demonstrated how effective a HEPA air purifier is at removing airborne fungus, and it shows that even undersized HEPA air purification units can have a dramatic effect on IAQ. At the conclusion of the presentation, the scientist presenting it called the assembly to action. He wanted greater focus on fungus from the scientific community.
With that, they would have the evidence necessary to convince governments around the world to regulate airborne fungus. Even in a well-regulated country like the US, there are no laws regulating fungus levels in buildings.
At home, we don’t need to wait for regulation. We can take action now. HEPA air purifiers are available in a wide range of sizes and configurations. The great benefit of shopping online is that you can explore them all in order to find the one that suits you perfectly.
Clean Air Plus is a veteran and family owned small business. We represent the leading manufacturers in HEPA filtration including Austin Air, IQAir, Amaircare, Oransi and Airpura. Shop online or call one of our friendly experts at 888.247.1147. We'll be happy to help.