June 17, 2021

New Fact Sheet Focuses on Use of Portable Air Cleaners during COVID-19

A new fact sheet published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Worker Training Program (WTP) outlines guidance on the selection and use of portable air cleaners to protect workers from exposure to SARS-CoV-2. The fact sheet is intended to help employers, building operators, and others select and use portable air cleaners to remove virus-contaminated air from indoor spaces. WTP stresses the importance of ventilation and filtration to prevent transmission of COVID-19, especially in work settings with inadequate ventilation or those that require people to be close together for extended periods of time. In indoor spaces where adequate ventilation is difficult to achieve, the fact sheet suggests that portable air cleaners can be considered to supplement heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system ventilation and filtration.

The WTP fact sheet describes key steps for selecting portable air cleaners, including how to determine the capability and number of air cleaners needed for a workspace. Additional considerations such as use and room configuration, maintenance, and cost are also discussed. The fact sheet urges users to increase outside air and filtration in the building’s mechanical ventilation system, if feasible, before considering the use of portable air cleaning units. WTP also warns against the use of air cleaners that generate ozone in occupied spaces; these products are not safe in settings where people are present because ozone can irritate breathing, the fact sheet explains.

The fact sheet is available as a PDF. Additional COVID-19 resources can also be accessed via WTP’s website.