Efficacy of Do-it-Yourself Air Filtration Units in Reducing Exposure to Simulated Respiratory Aerosols

47 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2022

See all articles by Raymond C. Derk

Raymond C. Derk

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Jayme P. Coyle

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

William G. Lindsley

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Francoise M. Blachere

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Angela R. Lemons

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Smantha K. Service

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Stephen B. Martin

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Kenneth R. Mead

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Steven A. Fotta

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Jeffrey S. Reynolds

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Walter G. McKinney

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Erik W. Sinsel

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Donald H. Beezhold

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

John D. Noti

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Abstract

SARS-CoV-2 can be spread by aerosols expelled by infected people when they cough, talk, sing, or exhale. Exposure to these aerosols while indoors can be reduced by portable air filtration units (air cleaners). Homemade or Do-It-Yourself (DIY) air filtration units are a popular alternative to commercially produced devices, but performance data is limited. Our study used a speaker-audience model to examine the efficacy of two popular types of DIY air filtration units, the Corsi-Rosenthal cube and a modified Ford air filtration unit, in reducing exposure to simulated respiratory aerosols within a mock classroom. Experiments were conducted using four breathing simulators at different locations in the room, one acting as the respiratory aerosol source and three as recipients. Optical particle spectrometers were used to monitor simulated respiratory aerosol particles (0.3 to 3 μm) as they dispersed throughout the room. Using two DIY cubes (in the front and back of the room) increased the air change rate as much as 12.4 over room ventilation, depending on filter thickness and fan airflow. Using multiple linear regression, each unit increase of air change reduced exposure by 10%. Increasing the number of filters, filter depth, and fan airflow significantly enhanced the air change rate, which resulted in exposure reductions of up to 73%. Our results show DIY air filtration units can be an effective means of reducing aerosol exposure. However, they also show performance of DIY units can vary considerably depending upon their design, construction, and positioning, and users should be mindful of these limitations.

Keywords: Do-It-Yourself air cleaner, Indoor air quality, Inhalation exposure, Ventilation, Air filters, Aerosols

Suggested Citation

Derk, Raymond C. and Coyle, Jayme P. and Lindsley, William G. and Blachere, Francoise M. and Lemons, Angela R. and Service, Smantha K. and Martin, Stephen B. and Mead, Kenneth R. and Fotta, Steven A. and Reynolds, Jeffrey S. and McKinney, Walter G. and Sinsel, Erik W. and Beezhold, Donald H. and Noti, John D., Efficacy of Do-it-Yourself Air Filtration Units in Reducing Exposure to Simulated Respiratory Aerosols. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4272112

Raymond C. Derk (Contact Author)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( email )

Jayme P. Coyle

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( email )

William G. Lindsley

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( email )

Francoise M. Blachere

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( email )

Angela R. Lemons

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( email )

Smantha K. Service

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( email )

Stephen B. Martin

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( email )

Kenneth R. Mead

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( email )

Steven A. Fotta

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( email )

Jeffrey S. Reynolds

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( email )

Walter G. McKinney

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( email )

Erik W. Sinsel

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( email )

Donald H. Beezhold

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( email )

John D. Noti

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( email )

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