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QUESTION: Can air purifiers really remove particulates as small as 1 micron? 19/09/09 Connecticut, USA - United States of America

Do you have any experience using air purifiers to remove lead dust? Some manufacturers, such as the Oreck brand, claim the capability of removing particulates as small as 1 micron.

ANSWER: Sep 21 2009

Hi,

my only experience was being in my office when an air filter company representative came to demonstrate their HEPA air filter many years ago. All I can recall of the experience is that I could not bear the noise and wanted to have it turned off as soon as possible. If the HEPA filter is a decent size there should be no trouble believing the claims made by manufacturers.

Check the noise level before purchasing! Sorry I can't be more helpful.

Yours Sincerely

Elizabeth O'Brien

EMAIL TWO Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2009 10:42 AM

Subject: I'm interested to know why you might need to remove lead from air with an air purifier

Dear Sir,

I should have asked when I emailed you two days ago, whether I can suggest any way that you can avoid the need for an air purifier, as opposed to researching their effectiveness. In the hierarchy of controls for hazards in the workplace, there are possibly useful controls which could be instituted in your situation, if it is in fact lead in air that you are trying to filter out and even if its in the home. The controls in order of importance are:

  1. substitute the hazard with another of lower risk.
  2. isolate the hazard from the person put at risk.
  3. minimise the risk by engineering means.
  4. minimise the risk by administrative means.
  5. provide PPE (personal protective equipment)

Source: http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/formspublications/publications/Documents/
hierarchy_of_controls_5620.pdf

If someone is trying to filter lead out of air because they live near a lead smelter or lead mine, crematorium or lead processing plant, and they've been unsuccessful in getting the government to control the lead emissions from the facility, in place of "substitute the hazard with another of lower risk" you could use instead "move the person from the source."

Cheers

Elizabeth

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