Air Filters: Are They Helpful for Allergy and Asthma Sufferers?

Sloane Miller Health Guide
  • Recently on, a reader wrote in asking about the best air filters for people with allergies. I've never used an air filter.


    However, this last year, my apartment building has been undergoing a major overhaul. The building's interiors and exteriors are being refurbished and over half the units in the building have been gutted and demolished. Painting fumes, plaster fumes, polyurethane fumes, sanding, spackling, gluing, tacking: you name it, they've been doing it daily in my building.


    Now more than ever the air quality in my environment is nightmarish. I received the Sun-Pure air filter as a gift from my stepmother. She thought it might help clear out some of the air particulates and help my overall lung health. Here's what it looks like.

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    According to this article from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: "Air filters are worth considering, but not as a solution to your asthma or allergy problems by themselves. In fact, research studies disagree on whether or not filters give much added relief in a clean and well-ventilated home."


    Given all this building construction, there's a fine layer of goodness-knows-what-kind-of-dust from the work being done. Anything to help reduce poor air quality was welcomed.


    Jim of Custom Air and Water brought over the Sun-Pure unit, unpacked it, assembled it and turned it on. Within a few minutes, my eyes started to burn, my lungs itched and my chest felt tight. Oh no! Apparently this is common with a new unit.


    Immediately, I turned it off and my symptoms disappeared. As per Jim's suggestion, I've been running it when I leave the apartment. After a few days the smell dissipated, and I can use it while I'm in my apartment without a reaction.


    Jim offered me the additional ozone lamp that purportedly kills mold that may be flying around in the air or living in the walls and multiplying. Mold reduction would be helpful especially as I am allergic. However, Jim cautioned me that oftentimes asthmatics have an issue with ozone lamps so it was best to run it when I wasn't at home.


    Hmm, that didn't sound so great. Upon some further research, I've read how harmful ozone is for asthmatics. The Mayo Clinic and the EPA have two interesting articles about ozone and it's effects on asthma sufferers.


    The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America had this to say:


    "...machines called "ozone generators" directly produce ozone (O3) molecules -- not as a byproduct, but as a direct product -- and blows it into the room to "clean" the air. Unfortunately these "ozone generator" machines can produce ozone up to 10-times more than the acceptable standard shown above. Therefore, AAFA and other groups recommend that you do not use "ozone generator" machines in your home."


    So no ozone lamp for me, I've opted out of using it for now.


    Have I noticed a difference using the air filter? Well, I don't know yet. Have any of you found using air filters helpful to your environmental allergies or asthma? Do you think it's worth the cost?

Published On: December 03, 2007