How Good is the Office Air Quality Where You Work?

Clean Air Solution by Camfil USA. Leader in Air Filters for Commercial and Industrial applications.

Learn how poor office air quality can affect productivity

We don’t often think about how much time we spend indoors, much less how much time we spend at work in an office space. But it’s important for us to understand how the air we breathe can affect our long-term health. That’s especially true when it comes to office air quality, since most adults spend at least eight hours in these enclosed areas.

“There is the tendency for people to believe that outdoor pollution has no effect once they go indoors, but studies have shown that indoor air quality may actually be worse than what is found outdoors,” stated Kevin Wood, Camfil USA Vice President Sales & Marketing. “And because so many people spend time at work, office air quality has become a pressing issue in terms of overall health. That’s why it’s important for the public to understand some of the risks associated with less than ideal air quality at many offices throughout the U.S.”

One of the reasons that office air quality can be compromised is that there are so many sources of pollution.

Many offices are located in industrial areas filled with commercial facilities that generate emissions.

In addition, some offices are located in areas that are adjacent to major thoroughfares, which means exposure to vehicle exhaust, one of the largest sources of harmful particulates.

And per an article on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website, office air pollution can also result from (1) “building maintenance activities, pest control, housekeeping, renovation or remodeling, new furnishings or finishes, and building occupant activities.”

The EPA has identified several factors that determine office air quality, the most important of which are a well-designed heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system, and the presence of effective air filtration devices to eliminate harmful pollutants.

How Carbon Dioxide Compromises Office Air Quality

Unfortunately, office air quality isn’t just a question of pollutants that can worsen respiratory problems such as asthma, but it is also an issue of mental focus and concentration.

Per an article on the Co.Design website, (2) a recent study conducted by researchers at Harvard University and Syracuse University has shed new light on the effect of carbon dioxide (CO2) levels at offices throughout the country.

Scientists studied 24 workers in “knowledge” industries such as engineering, designing and architecture, and observed them in a simulated office during several days of a normal eight-hour shift.

During that time, scientists changed the CO2 levels at the research office to low, moderate and high levels.

The workers in the study were unaware that the CO2 levels were being manipulated, and the researchers took pains to ensure that even the highest concentrations of CO2 were similar to those found in standard office buildings.

“It was our goal to make sure these simulations were tied to real world environments,” stated Joseph Allen, Assistant Professor at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and co-author of the study. “We didn’t want to test the exotic or extreme, we wanted to test conditions that most of us find ourselves in.”

After spending time in the office, participants were given a 90-minute cognitive assessment that measured their decision-making skills.

The results showed that participants scored 15% worse on the days when they were exposed to moderate CO2, and 50% worse on the days when they were exposed to high CO2, compared to the days when they were exposed to the lowest CO2 level.

Per the article:

“Higher CO2 levels hurt people’s ability to use information, respond to crises, and strategize–types of thinking closely related to productivity…”

What raises concerns about these results is that most previous research on the subject had led scientists to believe that CO2 levels were not harmful to office workers.

Allen and his research team could not identify why carbon dioxide would have such an effect on cognition, but they are conducting further studies.

And based on an article in U.S. News & World Report, the issue that scientists will have to wrestle with is that overall outdoor CO2 levels continue to rise: (3)

“If outside levels continue to increase as a result of global warming, it will become harder, if not impossible, to reduce indoor levels of carbon dioxide by pumping in air from the outside. This increases the potential for direct impacts on human cognitive function, and it also makes it more difficult for us to successfully ventilate our indoor environments to acceptable levels.”

Although this is only one study, it does show that CO2 levels can have a direct effect on worker cognition, focus and concentration, which has a direct effect on worker productivity and overall health.

Need Clean Air Solutions?

For more than 50 years, Camfil has made air filters for office buildings handling units and HVAC systems to ensure clean office air quality. Please visit Camfil website to find out how Camfil’s products are both energy-efficient and affordable.



Lynne Laake

Camfil USA Air Filters

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Top Reasons You Need to Be Using HEPA Filters

Clean Air Solution by Camfil USA. Leader in Air Filters for Commercial and Industrial applications.

Learn why HEPA filters are your best bet says leading HEPA Filters Leader Camfil

You don’t have to be a HEPA filtration expert to understand the basic function of a standard air filter, which is to trap as many harmful pollutants as possible. But here’s a question you should ask yourself: Are all air filters basically the same? The short answer is “no,” because the health benefits of High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance (HEPA) filters are greater than that of a regular filter. A HEPA filter captures the smallest airborne particles, classified as sub-micron in size. A micron is 1/25,000 of an inch or one one-hundredth of the diameter of a human hair so sub-micron particles are even smaller than that.

“The air filtration industry is always looking for new ways to improve the efficiency of filters, which is why the development of HEPA filters was such a game-changer” stated Kevin Wood, Camfil USA Vice President Sales & Marketing.

“These high-end filters capture a greater number of particulates to ensure that the air blowing through a the area requiring protection is cleaner. That means overall health and well-being, protection of processes and protection of patients and employees in medical facilities so it is vital that people understand why HEPA is the choice to make.”

How Air Filters Are Measured

HEPA filters are not measured using the same testing Standards as other HVAC filters which don’t even come close to the particle removal efficiency of a HEPA filter. Standard filters are rated in terms of a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) or efficiency values quoted based upon their ability to remove particles in terms of PM10, PM2.5 or PM1.

HEPA filter efficiencies are quoted using efficiency values at most penetrating particle size (MPPS). These efficiencies can range from a lower level of 99.97% at 0.3 micron to a very high efficiency level of 99.9995% at 0.12 micron.

HEPA filters are typically used in semi-conductor manufacturing facilities to eliminate contamination that can compromise the miniature circuitry used on chips, in pharmaceutical manufacturing to ensure the integrity of the drugs we use to treat maladies or even those drugs required daily and in medical facilities to protect the most compromised of patients who may have high exposure during operating procedures.

To use HEPA filters in standard HVAC system or residential application the deficiencies of such systems must be addressed, mainly too small a fan system, most not capable of moving air through the filter. In critical situations, fan systems can be upgraded with stronger fans or higher horsepower motors to overcome the limitation. Be sure to consult a professional before application.

HEPA to the Rescue

HEPA filter technology became a U.S. government standard in 1983. They were first developed in the 1950s as a way to filter microscopic radioactive particles during the construction nuclear weapons during the Manhattan Project during World War II. After the war, we had a technology but no commercial market to offer it to. The invention of the transistor and resultant semi-conductor based product manufacturing opened a market to produce these products in the 1960s. Later they were applied to pharmaceutical manufacturing and then they were introduced into medical facilities. In fact, the original name “absolute filter’ was coined through the project and is now a registered Trademark of Camfil since the rights to manufacture the product were original purchased by Camfil.

It’s important to remember, however, that as effective as HEPA filters can be, they will not trap every particle in the air.

99.97% means there will still be 0.3% of particles that get through the filter. That includes some viruses, smoke particles and of course items that are milli-micron in size such as gases.

For health care, officials have found that particles ranging from 0.3 microns to 0.9 microns are the most harmful to human health, because they are tiny enough to get past the hairs lining nasal passages, but too large to be expelled through breathing.

Even though these filters are primarily designed for high tech applications, anyone with existing allergies, asthma or other type of respiratory problem should evaluate and invest in HEPA filters to significantly reduce harmful particles in the air.

Clean Air Commitment

At Camfil, we offer HEPA and ULPA (Ultra-Low Particulate Arrestance) air filters for commercial facilities such as food and beverage. Please visit our website to learn more about the products we offer.

Lynne Laake

Camfil USA Air Filters

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The Possible Link Between Air Pollution and the Stock Market

Clean Air Solution by Camfil USA. Leader in Air Filters for Commercial and Industrial applications.

Learn about a study that links bad air and stock market performance

By now, the dangers of air pollution are well documented, especially as it relates to children and the elderly, who have weaker immune systems, and people who suffer from respiratory problems. But a new study has found a link between air pollution and the stock market, which may indicate that bad air quality is not just a health issue, it may also be an economic hazard.

“Traditionally, we know about the health problems that are associated with bad air quality,” stated Kevin Wood, Camfil USA Vice President Sales & Marketing. “But now we are starting to see that perhaps there is an economic price to pay that is directly related to air quality, and that may help open the eyes of some government officials throughout the world about paying more attention to air pollution.”

The Study

Per an article in the Harvard Business Review titled Air Pollution Brings Down the Stock Market, (1) writer Scott Berinato interviewed Anthony Heyes, a University of Ottawa Economics Professor who conducted the study.

Heyes analyzed information from the S&P 500 index and compared it to the daily air-quality reports provided by an EPA sensor in Wall Street, located in New York.

Heyes and his team found a correlation between high levels of air pollution and low stock performance, which lead them to conclude that bad air quality negatively affects the stock market.

According to Heyes:

“Every time air quality decreased by one standard deviation, we saw a 12% reduction in stock returns. Or to put it in other terms, if you ordered 100 trading days in New York from the cleanest-air day to the dirtiest-air day, the S&P 500 performance would be 15% worse on the 75th cleanest day than it was on the 25th cleanest day. We also replicated this analysis using data from the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, and saw the same effect.”

Heyes believes that higher rates of pollutants in the air affect people’s emotional state, making them more likely to feel depressed.

“[Bad air] negatively affects how you feel and how good you are at thinking,” Heyes stated. “Two, bad moods and lower cognitive capabilities tend to reduce your appetite for risk. Low risk tolerance is associated with lower returns.”

Related Effects of Air Pollution

Heyes’ study that air pollution can affect people’s mood doesn’t exist in a vacuum, however, because a 2015 University of Utah study found a link between suicides and elevated levels of air pollution.

Per an article in Live Science, (2) the study analyzed information on 1,546 suicides in Salt Lake County from 2000 to 2010.

“Researchers then compared the timing of these suicides with air pollution levels, including fine and coarse particulate matter, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitors in the county. They found that suicide risk went up two to three days after levels of fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide rose.”

The study also found that the link between suicide and air pollution was most prevalent in men ages 25 to 64, and that suicide rates were highest in the spring and fall.

Amanda Bakian, an epidemiologist at the University of Utah and the author of the study, said:

“What it makes us think is that air pollution interacts with other spring and fall risk factors for suicide.”

And while the researchers stopped short of declaring a direct causation between air pollution and suicides, they do show a correlation that is disturbing and worthy of further study.

Research has also shown that bad air quality may be correlated to a spike in violent crime.

An article on Breitbart (3) cited a National Bureau of Economic Research study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Davis, which found that violent crime in Chicago increased when air pollution levels were higher.

The study analyzed two million crimes reported by the Chicago Police Department from 2001 to 2012, and “noted the direction of the wind as it blew across neighborhoods near five interstate highways…”

Researchers then factored in precipitation, temperature, wind speed and wind direction during that time and found that serious crimes such as rape and homicide increased by 2.2 percent in neighborhoods that were downwind of those interstates that also had higher levels of nitrous oxides.

Doctors have found that nitrous oxide can affect the part of the brain that causes people to act with aggression.

Again, the study only found a correlation, not a direct causation, but it is clear that increased air pollution can have a negative effect on human behavior.

Clean Air Solutions

For more than 50 years, Camfil has provided clean air filtration systems for commercial industries in an effort to help improve indoor air quality. We understand that air pollution has implications beyond just health, and are committed to creating products that offer clean air solutions. Check out our air filters website for more information about our products and services.



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Air Quality Week – Learn About Cities with the Worst Air Pollution in the U.S.

Clean Air Solution by Camfil USA. Leader in Air Filters for Commercial and Industrial applications.

Learn about cities with the worst air quality.

When you think about air pollution, you probably think about clouds of smoke or soot, or vehicle exhaust, but do you also consider whether you are living in a city with the worst air pollution in the country? That is an important question when it comes to long-term health, which is why it’s so important to understand what pollution means and why it could affect your well-being.

“Well for years, we have sounded the alarm about the importance of clean air,” stated stated Kevin Wood, Camfil USA Vice President Sales & Marketing. “There is a direct correlation between the level of air quality and some ailments that are related to breathing, and can be worse in cities with the worst air pollution.”

You probably based where you chose to live on several factors such as job opportunities, standard of living, weather and proximity to other members of your family.

But it’s unlikely that you factored in the level of pollution as one of your major considerations, because the truth is, despite the fact that pollution levels are killing millions throughout the world, the issue has not become as urgent as it should be.

And that’s partly because a lot of people believe that as long as they limit the time they spend outdoors, they can avoid the worst aspects of pollution.

But the truth is that outdoor pollution has a huge effect on indoor air quality (IAQ), which is why it’s so important to know what cities suffer from the worst air pollution.

Outdoor Pollution Worsens Indoor Air Quality

According to a fact sheet on the University of Kentucky Occupational Health and Safety website, outdoor pollution is one of the major factors that affects IAQ.

Per the fact sheet, (1) polluted outdoor air from sources such as vehicle exhaust, pollen and industrial pollutants have a major effect on IAQ.

In addition, emissions from sources such as dumpsters, loading docks and factories, as well as soil gas from radon sources and pesticides can also worsen IAQ.

And according to an article in Care2: (2)

“Scientific evidence indicates that indoor air can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities. Other studies indicate that people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. The math isn’t so great – for many people health risks may be greater due to indoor air pollution rather than outdoor pollution.”

And that’s the problem when people try to escape poor outdoor air conditions by believing in error that they are safe at home, an office or in some other enclosed area.

Thus, knowing the air pollution levels in some of the biggest cities in the U.S. can provide you with actionable information to help you determine how air quality may be affecting your health or the health of someone in your family.

Top 10 Cities with the Worst Air Pollution

According to an article on, although the overall outdoor air quality has improved in the U.S., (3) the air is still harmful enough to exacerbate respiratory issues such as asthma, per the American Lung Association.

The article ranked the 10 cities in the U.S. with the largest level of particulate matter (PM) per year. PM is a numeric value from a program originally created by the US Environmental Protection Agency to provide values to the public so they could understand possibly dangerous outside air conditions. When levels are too high, newspapers, local radio and television voice warnings to vulnerable people; those with asthma or other respiratory problems where increased activity during these periods of high contaminant levels could impair their health. PM is classified in three levels, PM10, PM2.5 and PM1. Health experts have determined that the most harmful PM values are those at PM2.5, which includes particles 2.5 microns or smaller, which are microscopic, but capable of being swallowed or inhaled.

Once these particulates enter a person’s body, they can irritate the lungs and throat and cause respiratory problems.

The 10 cities that ranked as having the worst air pollution were:

  1. Bakersfield, CA
  2. Visalia-Porterville-Hanford, CA
  3. Fresno-Madera, CA
  4. Los Angeles, CA
  5. El Centro, CA
  6. San Jose/San Francisco/Oakland, CA
  7. Modesto-Merced, CA
  8. Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton, Pennsylvania, Ohio, W. Virginia
  9. Harrisburg-York-Lebanon, PA
  10. Louisville-Jefferson County-Elizabethtown-Madison, KY, Indiana

It’s no surprise that so many cities on the worst pollution list are in California, as the state has always had problems with poor air quality.

One of the reasons Bakersfield leads the nation as having the worst air pollution is that it’s located in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, which is the source of a “lot of dust, pesticides, and fertilizers.”

In fact, the Bakersfield area ranks first in the nation in the level of annual particulates as well as 24-hour peak averages.

And with a population of more than 18 million, Los Angeles has the highest level of ozone and ranks fourth for yearly level of harmful particulates.

What’s clear about many of the cities on this list is that they are in large, urban areas with common sources of pollution such as vehicle exhaust and factory emissions.

Air Filtration Solutions

For more than 50 years, Camfil has been waging a battle against outdoor pollution and how it affects IAQ. Our commercial air filtration products are designed to help eliminate harmful particulates and to help keep you healthy. Please visit our website for more information about our products.

Lynne Laake

Camfil USA Air Filters

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Should I Care About Clean Air?

Clean Air Solution by Camfil USA. Leader in Air Filters for Commercial and Industrial applications.

Learn why clean air is vital to your health and wellbeing.

Most people can identify air pollution through a thick haze in the air, or through the exhaust that blows out of a car, but the concept of clean air and why it’s important may not be something that we think about often enough. But with outdoor pollution worsening in nearly every major world city, clean air and the lack of it, especially in underdeveloped countries may become a health crisis issue.

“We know that the quality of outdoor air is becoming worse every year,” stated Kevin Wood, Camfil USA Vice President Sales & Marketing. “So it is not a question of ‘if,’ but more a question of ‘when’ the crisis in air quality will hit the level where world leaders understand it as a serious health issue. For many people, air pollution makes sense in that it’s a negative thing that needs to be addressed, but it’s only when you reduce it to a human level in terms of how poor air quality affects health, that the problem is really understood.”

Outdoor Pollution Problems

According to an article published on the World Health Organization (WHO) media center site, (1) “more than 80% of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution are exposed to air quality levels that exceed WHO limits.”

The report also found that 98 percent of major cities in countries with at least 100,000 low income and middle income residents, have an air quality index that is below WHO limits.

That figure drops to 56 percent in highly developed countries such as the U.S. and Canada, but that is still a number that should concern anyone who understands the adverse health effects of low quality air.

Indoor Air Quality

But it’s not just outdoor pollution that should concern you, because indoor air quality has also become a problem, due to a variety of pollutants generated inside commercial facilities and residences.

In fact, an article on referenced a study, which found that indoor air quality was often worse than the air found outdoors.

According to Prashant Kumar of the University of Surrey, who was one of the lead authors of the study: (2)

“From cooking residue to paints, varnishes and fungal spores, the air we breathe indoors is often more polluted than that outside.”

Without effective air filtration systems, indoor pollutants can cause a variety of health problems, including the worsening of asthma.

Reasons to Care About Clean Air

Although statistics paint a bleak picture about the downward trend of air quality, people most often respond to critical issues when it becomes more personal.

So why should you care about clean air?

There are multiple reasons, but nearly all of them are directly related to the long-term consequences of breathing contaminated air.

Per an article on the CBC News website, (3) a study found that traffic pollution may be linked to “slower cognitive development and lower memory test scores.”

Dr. Jodi Sunyer and researchers at the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona, conducted the study, which analyzed three factors related to memory and focus in 2,700 grade-school children every three months over a year.

Sunyer found that in schools located in highly polluted areas, cognitive development was slower than in schools in less polluted areas.

While there may be other factors involved, the study did raise concerns about the effects of breathing vehicle exhaust on the developing minds of children.

But there’s some good news on the other side of the equation.

Per an article on, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine (4) “found that reducing air pollution improved lung health in kids ages 11 to 15.”

The study analyzed 2,000 children in five Los Angeles neighborhoods over a period of 12 years, and found that as the air quality improved, lung function also increased.

And although Los Angeles still has high levels of pollution, the city has made significant strides to reduce auto and factory emissions, which has reduced the overall level of outdoor air pollution.

So, you can see that as air pollution increases, it has a very negative effect on the cognition and the lung-capacity of children.

But it’s also true that making improvements in air quality can also have a positive effect on the mental and respiratory health of children.

Camfil Air Filters & Clean Air Solutions

The takeaway from all this is that clean air should be a human right, but in many developing countries, vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly are suffering health issues because they are exposed to harmful particulates outdoors and indoors.

For more than 50 years, Camfil has sold affordable and energy efficient air filtration products to commercial facilities. We understand how important it is to provide clean air solutions to as many people as possible.

Please visit our website to learn more about clean air, and to find out what products we offer.

Lynne Laake

Camfil USA Air Filters

T: 888.599.6620,

F: Friend Camfil USA on Facebook

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How Harmful Is the Air Quality on Planes?

Clean Air Solution by Camfil USA. Leader in Air Filters for Commercial and Industrial applications.

Learn about the quality of air you may be breathing on your next flight.

Although we tend to focus a lot on the outdoor pollution that is plaguing many major cities throughout the world, indoor air quality is also a big problem, and that includes the air you breathe when you fly on an airplane. Air quality on planes can affect your health in ways that you may not even realize.

“The problem with air quality on planes is that you are really talking about incubating pollutants that are generated inside the cabin,” stated Kevin Wood, Camfil USA Vice President Sales & Marketing. “And without an air filtration system, passengers can inhale or swallow these pollutants, which are capable of worsening respiratory problems such as asthma. So, it’s important for airline passengers to understand what determines the quality of air inside an airplane.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) article, potential cabin air hazards include: (1)

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Ozone
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Pesticides
  • Communicable diseases from passengers who are ill
  • Pressurization changes that affect cabin air circulation

And according to a piece published on the Association of Flight Attendants website, (2) there are other sources of airplane cabin pollution, including ‘bio effluents,” which enter the air when you exhale:

“….your breath contains all kinds of gases and vapors, such as carbon dioxide, ethanol and aldehydes…[and] water droplets in your breath or in a sneeze or cough can transport bacteria or viruses into the air. Meanwhile, you are busy shedding skin particles that can also serve to transport bacteria and viruses, and your digestive system is busy generating gases.”

And here’s something you probably didn’t know.

Although there are engineering standards that recommend levels of air filtration for airplanes there is no federal requirement for airplanes to install air filters, so that means that the air in many cabins may not be filtered or cleaned in any way, exposing you to harmful particulates.

Toxic Fumes Becoming an Issue

The issue of air quality on planes became a big issue recently when four flight attendants filed a lawsuit against Boeing, accusing the aircraft giant of negligence regarding the presence of toxic fumes inside an aircraft’s cabin.

Per an article in USA Today, (3) the four flight attendants were all working an Alaska Airlines flight that was forced to make an emergency landing after toxic fumes escaped into the cabin.

When the plane landed, all four flight attendants were rushed to a hospital, and two of them lost consciousness while the plane was still in flight.

The four filed suit against Boeing – a supplier of planes for Alaska Airlines – for “exposing them and the plane’s passengers to toxic fumes that seep into the plane’s ventilation system.”

As the article explained, the majority of airplanes receive ventilation through outside air that circulates through the aircraft’s engines into the cabin. This is known as the “bleed air system,” and is used in a wide variety of aircraft to generate clean air inside a cabin.

But if something goes awry, such as a broken seal inside an engine, then oil can contaminate the air that flows into the cabin.

The flight attendant’s lawsuit accuses Boeing of being aware of the issue since the 1950s, but not doing anything to fix the problem.

What’s more concerning, however, is that the bleed air system can create contaminated air in a cabin without black smoke blowing into the cabin, which means passengers can easily inhale toxic air and not be aware of it.

That’s the reason that part of the lawsuit asked for Boeing to install air quality sensors to alert pilots that bad air is circulating throughout the cabin.

And according to an article in Gizmodo, (4) bad air quality on planes can cause symptoms such as “…irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, headaches, light-headedness and dizziness, fatigue, weakness, generally feeling unwell, confusion and difficulties in concentration.”

The challenge for health care experts trying to make the case that air quality on planes can be hazardous to public health, is that there are not many passengers who report these types of symptoms to their doctors, so there is very little anecdotal evidence.

In most cases, flight attendants are the ones who report their symptoms, and unless they file lawsuits, it is doubtful that the quality of air inside plane cabins will be as publicized as it needs to be to help protect passengers.

Providing Solutions

Energy efficient air filtration solutions can help eliminate a significant amount of pollutants from airplane cabins. Most airliners are designed with HEPA filters to clean the air recirculated within the airplanes. Sometimes the filters are removed by the air carriers because moving air through the filters uses energy which costs the airlines additional fuel dollars. Most apply the filters properly for the protection of their customers and employees.

At Camfil, we have also developed products specifically designed to reduce the pollution generated in the airports. Our goal is to protect people in the airports and after they step into the airliner cabin.

Please visit our catalog to learn more about our air filters at airports and how they can help generate clean air solutions.

Lynne Laake

Camfil USA Air Filters

T: 888.599.6620,

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Air Sickness: Common Air Pollution Ailments You Need To Know

Clean Air Solution by Camfil USA. Leader in Air Filters for Commercial and Industrial applications.

Learn Common Ailments Caused By Poor Air Quality

You probably don’t think about the quality of the air you breathe unless the pollution is so bad that it makes you take notice. But throughout the world there are a number of air pollution ailments that are becoming worse as air quality continues to trend downward.

“The notion of clean air as a human right isn’t something that people think about very often, but there are so many countries in which the air quality is so poor that it can become a big health care issue. That is why people must be aware of the common types of ailments that are triggered by air pollution so that they can take the precautions necessary to ensure good health.”

An article on the World Health Organization (WHO) site, echoes this assessment as one part of the piece read (1):

“Air pollution is a major environment-related health threat to children and a risk factor for both acute and chronic respiratory disease. While second-hand tobacco smoke and certain outdoor pollutants are known risk factors for respiratory infections, indoor air pollution from solid fuels is one of the major contributors to the global burden of disease. In poorly ventilated dwellings, indoor smoke can be 100 times higher than acceptable levels for small particles.”

In fact, the WHO believes that women and children are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution because they spend so much more time indoors.

Air Pollution Ailments

According to Merck Manual, the “major components of air pollution in developed countries are nitrogen dioxide, ozone and airborne solids and liquid particles.”

These particulates are often microscopic, but they can easily be swallowed or inhaled, leading to common types of ailments such as:

  • Eye/Nose/Throat Irritation – These are often short-term ailments in which you experience irritation of the eyes, nose and throat. Symptoms often mimic that of the common cold, including a runny nose, reddened eyes and a cough. Left untreated, air particulates could damage your respiratory tract and cause more serious health problems.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – According to an article published by the Physicians for Social Responsibility, (2) “COPD is caused by exposure to pollutants that produce inflammation, and immunological response. Exposure to air pollutants plays an important role in the development of COPD and the origin and development of acute exacerbations.” In patients with COPD, the airways grow narrow with time, and unfortunately that condition is not reversible.
  • Asthma – While air pollution does not directly cause asthma, it can make asthma symptoms far worse. Air particulates such as dust, smoke and pollen can trigger asthma attacks because they irritate the lining of the lungs and throat. Asthma affects more than 20 million people in the U.S., a third of which are children. In some developing countries where healthcare is not as advanced as it is in the U.S., asthma sufferers can die if they don’t obtain the proper treatment.
  • Heart Disease – According to a piece on the American Heart Association website, a 2010 study that updated a 2004 study found that (3) “exposure to air pollution contributes to cardiovascular illness and mortality…medical researchers are particularly concerned about pollution particles smaller than 2.5 microns.” These particles have been linked to irritation of the lungs as well as irritation of the blood vessels surrounding the heart, which leads to hardened arteries.

Worse Times Ahead

And the reason all this matters is that air pollution is not improving throughout the world.

In fact, according to an article by Anmar Frangoul on, (4) “air pollution is the leading environmental cause of death on the planet and 92 percent of the global population is living in areas where the air is unhealthy.”

Those figures were taken from a report titled “The State of Global Air 2017,” published by the Health Effects Institute and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Global Burden of Disease Project.

More troubling, the report also found that people who were exposed to particulate matter for a long period of time were more likely to have shorter life spans. In 2015, that translated to four million premature fatalities linked directly to low air quality.

As in years past, countries such as India and China are being hit especially hard, and in 2015, both countries had more than one million premature deaths linked to air pollution.

But the UK is also seeing its share of early deaths, as a recent report found that 40,000 people died at an earlier age than expected because of poor air quality.

Staying Vigilant

For more than 50 years, Camfil has designed affordable and energy-efficient air filtration products for commercial facilities. We believe that clean air is a human right, and we know that air filtration is the key to eliminating the harmful particulates that can compromise long-term health. Please visit our site to learn more about our clean air solutions.



Lynne Laake

Camfil USA Air Filters

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Food and Beverage Contamination: Are You Eating and Drinking Harmful Particulates?

Clean Air Solution by Camfil USA. Leader in Air Filters for Commercial and Industrial applications.

Without effective air filtration, food and beverages can become contaminated due to poor air quality

Most people understand that air pollution and poor air quality are issues that are important, but it often remains an abstract concept until it affects them directly. But food and beverage contamination grabs people’s attention, because eating and drinking is a vital and necessary part of everyone’s day. Understanding how airborne particulates can compromise the quality of food and drink is the first step in understanding how air filtration systems can provide a solution.

“The food and beverage industry has a big challenge when it comes to protecting their employees and their processes from harmful air pollutants,” stated Mark Davidson, Food and Beverage Segment Manager. Unlike other industries, an E. coli outbreak or a Salmonella outbreak from one shipment of food can cause havoc for months and years. It can destroy a company’s reputation, and worse yet, it can permanently dent the trust that consumers place in that company’s ability to deliver food that is not tainted. For those reasons, effective air filtration systems are essential to the survival of food and beverage companies.”

How Contamination Occurs

Food and beverage contamination can occur in several different ways during processes such as packaging, sampling, production, storage and transport.

However, per an article in Nutritional Outlook magazine, there are three main types of contamination that typically affect the food and beverage industry: Cross-contamination, particle contamination and microbial contamination.

During the production process, cross-contamination occurs when more than one type of food is produced at a facility, and equipment used to process that food is not properly cleaned. As a result, contamination from one type of food is transferred to another type of food due to the improperly cleaned equipment.

For the purposes of air filtration, however, particle contamination and microbial contamination are far more relevant to the issue at hand.

Particle contamination occurs when tiny airborne particles settle into food and open beverage containers during the production process, or during the packaging process.

This type of contamination is nearly always due to a lack of effective air filtration system that can eliminate many of the particulates before they land and mix into the food. But in addition to air filters, food and beverage facilities must also understand how the construction and design of their facilities may hinder or help the incubation of harmful particulates.

The third type of contamination – microbial contamination – refers to the growth of bacteria and mold.

Microbial contamination can occur due to improper sanitation procedures by employees, or through moisture in the facility from leaks that can worsen over time and lead to mold. Many bacteria and mold can become airborne and if not removed by effective air filtration can become a liability.

The Importance of Filtration and Facility Design

Combating food and beverage contamination at these facilities typically comes down to implementing an air filtration strategy as well as optimizing the design of a facility.

High efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) air filters are rated to eliminate 99.97 percent of particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter, which is about 300 times smaller than strand of human hair, and far smaller than the human eye can perceive.

HEPA filters are so effective that even the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Healthcare Facilities recommend their use to trap microbial spores in patient rooms.

This makes them ideal for eliminating microbial contamination in food and beverage facilities. However, even the best air filtration system cannot be fully effective without an adequate ventilation system, which considers humidity and temperature, and the amount of fresh air circulating through the facility.

Camfil’s Clean Air Solutions

At Camfil, we understand the challenges facing the food and beverage industry, which is why we have designed our air filters to be ultra-efficient and affordable.

Our air filters have three key characteristics that are vital to eliminating harmful particulates from your food and beverage facilities:

  • Efficiency – Camfil filters do not include an electrostatic charge that can quickly lose its filtering capability. Camfil filters are built with fine fibers that maintain efficiency for the life of the filter and continuously reduce airborne pathogens and particulates.
  • Low Resistance – Camfil filters provide greater and more continuous airflow three times longer than other air filters on the market. This means that your HVAC system won’t have to work as hard to move clean air through your facility, which saves energy.
  • High Capacity – Camfil filters can hold twice as much dirt as the leading air filters in the industry, while maintaining rated efficiency and airflow. This helps extend the working life of the air filter and means fewer change outs, which also saves you money on replacement filters and the labor costs of frequent installations.

For more than 50 years, Camfil has offered clean air solutions to combat food and beverage contamination. We are committed to offering the best products in the air filtration industry, as well as providing information about important issues affecting air quality. Visit our site for more information.

Lynne Laake

Camfil USA Air Filters

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How Retail Store Air Quality Can Make You Sick

Clean Air Solution by Camfil USA. Leader in Air Filters for Commercial and Industrial applications.

Retail store air quality may contain airborne contaminants that are adverse to good health.

The level of outdoor pollution is not only vital to good health for people who spend significant times outside, but it also affects the level of air quality inside commercial establishments. Studies have found that retail store air quality will often be worse when outdoor air pollution is at a high level, and that can affect store employees and patrons.

Related: Did You Know Cleaner Indoor Air Can Help Bring Your Retail Shop More Business?

“What we are finding through multiple studies is that retail store air quality can compromise worker productivity in the form of missed work days through illness,” stated Kevin Wood,Vice President Sales and Marketing. “And if retail spaces lack effective commercial air filtration devices, then airborne particulates will continue to worsen within that store, and you will start to see a corresponding increase in breathing illnesses related to poor indoor air quality.”

Recent Review of Retail Store Air Quality

A recent review of indoor air quality in retail stores titled, Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality in Retail Stores, shed some light on this issue.

The authors of the review examined multiple online databases and studies related to the quality of air at retail stores throughout the U.S. and around the world. They focused on factors such as air filtration, ventilation, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter and microbiological contaminants.

The review found that the ventilation rates in retail shops were lower than the ventilation rates found in bars, restaurants and healthcare facilities. The authors speculated that the reason retail stores had a lower ventilation rate was due to the presence of exhaust fans in bars and restaurants.

In addition, retail stores that featured open doors, or doors that opened frequently due to patron entrance and exit, were found to have much higher airborne contaminants due to infiltration from outdoor air.

Ventilation rates were also affected by the existing HVAC system, as well as by the amount of air that was leaking in and out of the store based on building construction.

The Importance of Air Change Rates

One of the factors that the study touched upon was the air change rate within retail buildings. Per a piece on The Engineering ToolBox website titled, Air Change Rates in Typical Rooms and Buildings, an air change rate is defined as the rate at which the air within a space is filtered or replaced by new air in a 60-minute time period.

Related: What Office Managers Can Do to Maintain Their Air Quality

Typically, the air within a retail space should be changed or cleaned between six to 10 times, which would mean an air change rate range of 6-10.

When air stagnates and is not filtered within a retail store at this recommended rate, then air pollutants can multiply and spread, resulting in poor indoor air quality. This is why retail shops that implement an effective air filtration strategy will have an air change rate of 12-16.

The owners of retail shops who want to lower the number of particulates in the air must also ensure that they repair all leak sources within their building to prevent outdoor air from lowering the air quality within their business.

It’s also important for retail storeowners to remember that the number of occupants within their space will also affect the air change rate. The more people that frequent a retail store, the greater the air change rate has to be to account for the fact that there are more people consuming oxygen and more people bringing in pollutants from the outside.

The EPA Weighs in on Indoor Air Quality

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has tackled the issue of indoor air quality in commercial buildings, and has identified five main factors that affect indoor air pollution:

  • Indoor sources
  • Outdoor sources
  • Ventilation
  • Airflow patterns
  • Air filtration systems

Common indoor sources of poor air quality include cigarette smoke, combustion from furnaces and generators, condensation, chemicals, contaminated HVAC systems and mold.

Common outdoor sources include local traffic, gas stations, power plants, incinerators, restaurant emissions, pesticide spraying, roof drainage, fertilizer and sewer gas.

Ventilation refers to the amount of clean air that flows through an indoor space, which affects the level of particulates in the air. Ventilation can be enhanced with air filtration devices for maximum effectiveness.

Airflow patterns are the pathways by which air enters an indoor space. By understanding these airflow patterns and locations, retail shop owners can identify sources of possible leakage that can affect the way contaminants enter their stores.

And finally, air filtration systems are any devices in an indoor space that filter harmful contaminants. Given the amount of polluted air that enters a retail store, it is nearly impossible for an existing ventilation system to eliminate airborne particulates without the aid of air filtration devices.

Minimum recommended efficiencies for air filtration are published by ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers. Camfil USA, a major manufacturer or air filters and air filtration products, recommends the use of filters with a MERV of 13 to protect the people and products in retail environments. MERV is the minimum efficiency reporting value when the filter is evaluated under the guidance of a Standard for testing filters as published by ASHRAE.

How Camfil USA Air Filtration Products Handle Retail Store Air Quality

At Camfil, we know that retail store air quality can play a big part in worker efficiency and productivity, which is why we will continue to provide you with useful information about indoor air quality issues in commercial industries.

For more than 50 years we have been at the forefront of clean air solutions for commercial facilities, and our products remain the most affordable and energy efficient on the market. We look forward to helping retail business with indoor air quality filtration products. Learn more here. Download case study

Lynne Laake

Camfil USA Air Filters

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Camfil Announces That the New ISO 16890 Standard Is a Game-Changer for the Air Filtration Industry

Clean Air Solution by Camfil USA. Leader in Air Filters for Commercial and Industrial applications.

ISO 16890 Ensures That Air Filtration Efficiency Standards Will Be Uniform Throughout the World

Stockholm, Sweden – January 31, 2017: Camfil is pleased to announce that the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has introduced a new standard that changes existing testing and classification standards for all air commercial air filters used in general ventilation systems. This represents a revolution in the air filtration industry, as for the first time in many years; air filtration efficiency standards will be uniformly applied throughout the world.

“The reference for this new standard is ISO 16890,” stated Chris Ecob, Camfil’s Technical Director. “Of great significance is the fact that this standard has global applicability. And as if to reinforce that point, the decision-making was 100 percent voted positive by all countries around the world. Until now, there was no such global standard. In America, the ASHRAE 52.2 standard dominated, in Europe the EN 779 was dominant, and in Asia and the Middle East both standards dominated side by side.”

The ISO 16890 standard went into effect on December 1, 2016 and established new efficiency guidelines that replaced the ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers) standard as well as the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) standard. With different standards in effect, it was sometimes confusing for commercial air filter consumers to understand how to compare air filter efficiency rates in different countries.

“The new standard has some important benefits for specifiers and users of air filters together with the global air filter manufacturing industry,” added Ecob. “The standard is globally applicable and also invalidates attempts to compare results between existing standards. The standard will provide a level playing field for the air filter manufacturing industry. It will be easier to compare products on a level basis and make proper comparisons. In my opinion, this will serve to drive innovation and customer benefit. And at the other end of the scale, I believe it will serve to eliminate in the marketplace some of the low-performing products which probably shouldn’t be there.”

One of the biggest changes with the new ISO 16890 standard is that it requires air filter efficiency to be measured against fine particles that are sized at less than one micron. The standard requires that testing for fine particles be conducted when the air filter is new, and also repeated when any electrostatic charge on the filter has been removed or dissipated. The reason for the second test is that the presence of an electrostatic charge can artificially enhance air filter performance during testing in a laboratory. The second test ensures an accurate measurement of the air filter’s ability to eliminate the fine particles, which are most harmful to human health.

To learn more about the benefits of the new ISO 16890 standard, please read the blog published by Camfil, ISO 16890 Take a Breath Clean Air Is a Human Right.


Camfil is the world leader in air filtration and clean air solutions, with 23 production plants and R&D centers in the Americas, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region. For more information, visit us online at or call us toll-free at 888.599.6620.

Lynne Laake

Camfil USA Air Filters

T: 888.599.6620,

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