TechThese devices perform mediocrely. They were intended to protect our health

These devices perform mediocrely. They were intended to protect our health

Air purifier
Air purifier
Images source: © Adobe Stock
ed. KLT

5:53 AM EST, November 22, 2023

Air purifiers, disinfectant lamps, and ionizers don't always operate as anticipated. Research from scientists at the University of East Anglia suggests that such devices do not significantly reduce the risk of viral infections in humans.

A team of Prof. Paul Hunter and Dr. Julia Brainard published this research. Their findings suggest that technologies designed to enhance the safety of social interactions in confined environments do not yield the expected benefits under real-world conditions.

The scientists analyzed several technologies as part of their research, including air filtering devices, bactericidal lighting, and ionizers. Their analysis reviewed evidence from 32 different studies associated with infection rates and symptoms in both individuals exposed and not exposed to air-conditioning technology. The studies took place in real-life environments like schools and nursing homes.

Regrettably, the results of these studies did not affirm the efficacy of any of the examined technologies in safeguarding the air from respiratory and gastrointestinal infections transmitted via air.

Prof. Hunter clarified that air purifiers are designed to filter pollutants from the air that passes through them. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many large corporations and governing bodies, including the National Health Service, the British Army, New York City authorities, and German authorities, contemplated installing this type of technology to reduce the concentration of viral particles in the air within buildings and small rooms. Nonetheless, the professor emphasizes the importance of weighing the benefits against the high costs of these technologies and understanding their current potential.

Can the Air be Purged of Bacteria and Viruses with This Equipment? Probably Not

Additionally, Dr. Brainard pointed out that the technologies they studied incorporated filtration, bactericidal lighting, ionizers, and other methods to eliminate or deactivate viruses in the air we breathe safely. Regrettably, she notes, they found no substantial evidence suggesting that these technologies can provide protection under real-world conditions.

"Even though singular studies propose that surface and environmental contamination can be reduced via bactericidal lighting and high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration, the consolidated evidence implies that these technologies do not hinder or limit diseases," Dr. Brainard added.

In summary, Dr. Brainard stressed that while their findings may be disheartening, public health decision-makers must comprehensively understand the situation. She expressed hope that further similar studies conducted during the pandemic outbreak will soon be available, making it possible to evaluate the worth of air purification during this period.

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