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A Brief History of HEPA Filters and Radioactive Fallout

Posted by Ivey on March 22nd, 2011

IQAir HealthPro PlusAs a result of the devastating events in Japan, we have received several phone calls from customers concerned about radiation exposure and looking for ways to diminish this risk.

First, it’s important to note that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission reports no expectation for harmful levels of radiation to reach the U.S. Plus, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is using the existing nationwide radiation monitoring system, RadNet, to continuously monitor the nation’s air, drinking water, milk, and precipitation for environmental radiation and additional monitors have been deployed to Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The EPA is also making daily data on radiation monitoring efforts readily available online.

That being said, many U.S. citizens are still interested in the relationship between air filtration and radiation exposure. These two things actually have a long history. In fact, High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, which are some of the most effective and popular air filters on the market today, were actually developed out of the need for effective filtration of radioactive particulates.

During World War II, scientists from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom were commissioned to work on the Manhattan Project, which would ultimately lead to the development of the first atomic bomb. While this work work was taking place, the need to protect scientists from exposure to radioactive fallout became apparent. Since radioactive fallout is particulate in nature, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission recognized that it could be filtered using mechanical filtration and developed HEPA filtration to protect scientists from exposure to radioactive particles.

IQAir Replacement HEPA Filter for HealthPro LineFollowing World War II, HEPA filter technology was declassified and began being used in commercial and residential products. HEPA filters are rated to remove 99.97% to 99.99% of airborne particles that measure 0.3 microns and larger, such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and mold spores. Today, these filters are commonly found in high-performance air purifiers, such as the IQAir HealthPro Plus.

The HealthPro Plus is a top-of-the-line air purifier that is consistently ranked a best buy among industry insiders. Perfect for homes of allergy- and asthma-sufferers, the IQAir HealthPro Plus features true HEPA filtration and a two-stage gas filter to remove more polluting particulates—including ultra-fine particles—from the air than conventional air purifiers. In addition to excellent filtration, this IQAir purifier also features a convenient filter life monitor, six fan speed settings, a soft-touch control panel, remote control operation, and triple-seal filter design.

For more information on air purifiers, read our Frequently Asked Questions About Air Purifiers article in the Sylvane Learning Center.