Air Cleaners, Filters, and Purifiers

Many of us have to breathe to stay alive. Okay, all of us have to breathe to stay alive. Some of us just need cleaner air than others, or our ability to think and function is severely impaired from inhaling common pollutants found in both outdoor and indoor air.

This is where air purifiers and filtration devices come in.

Here are links to a few good documents and websites to read before you spend any money, that discuss what to look for and what to avoid:

Air Filters: Choosing Portable Equipment…

Good explanation of the different types of filtration and some surprising things people with MCS/ES need to be aware of:

Air-Filters-2008 PDF

Air Filters: Choosing Portable Equipment…Plus


Air Cleaning Devices for the Home Frequently Asked Questions (updated July 2014)


MCS Canadian Sources DIY ideas

This website has unfortunately been offline for an extended period of time. The most useful item there in regards to this post, was how to attach carbon pre-filtration or HEPA duct filters to fans and make a DIY air cleaner when more expensive options are not available.

Some of the instructions are still available but without the photos:



Since these are medical necessities for so many of us, if a doctor prescribes the need for one, you should be able to get it covered by some health insurance or disability plans, or get a tax credit during income tax time.



I realized after I published this post  that I should state what is obvious to many of us:

Air “fresheners” do NOT freshen the air. They merely add harmful toxic chemicals to it.

And an air purifier alone will not resolve the issues. They are the last step.

Air purifiers are the least effective of the four methods:

Dilution by ventilation
Localized Reduction by filtration

~ C. Grimes(IAQ expert)

Should industry be allowed

 We should have a right to a healthy environment. Right now many of us don’t. Instead, polluters have the right to pollute.

right to healthy environment 3

If you are a Canadian, and think we should have the right to a healthy environment in Canada, then please join this initiative:

the Blue Dot campaign

21 responses to “Air Cleaners, Filters, and Purifiers

  1. I have three of those mini Austin ones and I definitely need to replace the interior filters. Thanks for this … I just saved some of those documents. Ticks outside, toxins inside. What’s a Lymie with chemical sensitivities to do? Outer space, maybe. I’m halfway there anyway with the brain fog. :-/

  2. Great reference for air filter shopping! Thanks for posting!

  3. We purchased an Airgle Purifier about one year ago. We had a toxic exposure when some “not so smart” roofers put roofing tar in the intake of our a/c. That was in 2005 and we barely made it thru that. Ended up having to purchase a MHBOT for hypoxia and many other treatments to get to a point of having some type of life. Then in August, 2013 our HOA just had to resurface our street with hot asphalt, in Phoenix, Arizona. What a time to pick to resurface!. We had to get new windows and then purchased the Airgle Purifier, it saved us. We still got sick from all the off gassing but without it considering all of our prior issues that would have been the end of us. It has a charcoal filter and one other filter in the machine. It is a large unit on casters but is so quiet you don’t even know it’s on. I was so surprised when we received it, no smell to any of the packing materials, I’ve never seen anything shipped as secure as this and no smell to the purifier.
    Couldn’t be happier with it. Just a thought for those of you who get toxic from the smaller units made of plastics and Lord only knows what else. Hope this helps someone, I found it online, told them our problems and they shipped within two days. Very good company with lots of knowledge for chemically sensitive people. Good luck!!

    • Toxic troubles indeed!
      I am glad the machine you got worked for you but I suggest when it comes time to replace your filters, that you ask them for a HEPA without anti-microbials added!
      A big red flag for me is that they use an anti-microbial treated cHEPA filter… NOT advisable at all, especially for people with MCS. Chemicals such as Triclosan or Microban are usually used, and these are having adverse health effects on many.

      Also, these machines are much pricier than several other brands with similar machines, but contain fewer pounds of carbon. I’m not sure if the extra technological gadgetry is worth the extra cost. Something people would need to decide for themselves, I guess.

  4. I suppose I should have mentioned a few more things in the blog post (please excuse my brain fog – I haven’t had my air purifier filters replaced this year, and they need to be).

    For people with MCS/ES, machines that have worked for many (but not all) are by Air Pura, Foust, Austin Air, and Aireox. Those are not made of plastic. (I have no financial involvement with any company) and all have a lot of activated carbon in them, instead of carbon impregnated wraps.

    Some people love their IQAir machines, but they are plastic, and don’t offer any choice in carbon blends in North America, both of those reasons were enough to scratch them off my list.

    For people with MCS/ES, it’s usually a good idea to test the different types of carbon, as some may be ok, but others not.

    Another source of problems for people with MCS/ES, can be the glue used in making HEPA filters. Sometimes quite toxic caulk is used. Ask them what they use, and if they won’t tell you or send you a sample, and you have severe MCS, I recommend moving on, or getting a machine without true HEPA.

    Also, avoid any and all anti-microbials! Ask to make sure filters aren’t treated with them.

    Years ago I read that either potassium iodide or potassium permanganate was better if you wanted to filter out more gases (one was too irritating, and possibly too caustic for use in residential settings). Sadly, I can’t remember which was which, can’t find the info by google, and the website that I had parked all my info like that on no longer exists.

    Some people do not tolerate the machines straight out of the box, but have to run them either in another room or outside, for anywhere from a few hours to a few months! I’ve needed a few days sometimes. There have also been machines that never off-gas enough to use!

    In an ideal world, it might be possible to rent a machine for a week or more before committing to purchasing it, as they can be big investments. It’s worth asking if a manufacturer or local retailer would do that, and then take the cost of the “rental” off the purchase price if you decide to go for it… If a retailer stands behind their machines, they shouldn’t have an issue with it (but please don’t do this if your place is really moldy, as it could contaminate the filters for someone else if you decided not to keep the machine)

    Some companies will allow returns, others will not. Ask before buying. Educate yourself, and be realistic…

    May all beings who breathe have clean air!

  5. Great tips and info on air filters. It would be nice to afford one, and some water filters, organic food, safe cotton clothing, bedding etc.,….
    I can’t even afford doctors fees and treatments : (
    When I have to go to the doctor we can’t make our rent payments, and the money for the treatment I need just to maintain my metabolism funcioning comes from our money for food and clothing and thats as far as it goes!
    It’s really a completely diferent story when you have no aid, pension or support and have become a ‘burden’ to those who once depended on you.

    Sorry for getting off the subject again but so many times things just are not what they seem. I have aquired some serious ‘trust issues’ and I find it hard to trust others enough to ‘open up’ and communicate. I read other blogs but for some reason I feel safer or more confortable with you or on your website.
    It’s hard being so isolated and you ‘express’ how I feel most of the time and you always have such good articles. Sorry I don’t mean to use your comment section as if it were a ‘support group’ or a ‘help line’. You already do so much for us all keeping us so well-informed. Thanks ♡♡♡

    • I understand ((( Therese ))) – this can be a really lonely, difficult, and expensive health struggle… and boy do I know about things not being as they seem!!!

      I wish I was up to encouraging and “allowing” more dialogue, but I am often far too brain dead to know how to respond to people who are really confused and desperate, and I also don’t have the brain or energy to socialize just to pass time, everything takes me so much time to do, I am very slow, so the days go by with very little getting done :/

      I’m missing the social and entertainment genes too, I think… When I used to go out dancing or listening to live music, I often preferred to go alone so I could actually listen to the music instead of chattering the night away… It was devastating when I realized that even the exposures to peoples perfumes and colognes etc at outdoor concerts were too risky for my health :/

      Anyway, back to my blog here, I try to share info that makes it easier for us to make well informed decisions…
      If I had more brain and energy, there would be a lot more here…

      For now, I do a lot more info sharing on the fb page and in groups, and occasionally I remember to, or force myself to put it here too, often because I keep looking up the links separately for people who ask :-)

      I would really like to be more creative here, but my brain hasn’t been co-operating enough… maybe someday… Maybe soon there will be more acceptance and access to basic needs for us… Here’s hoping <3

  6. I think you do a fantastic job! Especially because I admire the effort and time you put into it even with the brain fog etc. : )
    You help so many others sharing your knowledge and experience!
    If creating this website, facebook, etc. and keeping up all this is not creative well then I’m not sure what your refering to, You have covered so much that I haven’t been able to read it all but it’s all very ‘usefull’ and ‘helpfull’ info. ♡

    Don’t have facebook or even know how to use Skype yet. I don’t have the strength or tolerance to be on the computer for long and have to limit these exposures to minimum but it’s necessary for researchig and communicating as you know. Where would we be without these tools? Thanks again for ‘being there’ and for ‘creating’ this website and all the posts on it ♡♡♡

    God bless you ♡♡♡

  7. That would be great♡♡♡

  8. Linda, I feel like I was attacked regarding my input on air purifiers. I would like for you and your readers to know I have no money either and no family. I have had to refinance the small home I live in and the only way I was ever lucky enough regarding the hyperbaric chamber was that a friends step-mom borrowed money and has basically made ALL the payments for us to stay alive. I don’t know that much about purifiers, I only wanted to share in hopes it might help someone, not to brag—-that’s what it felt like when I read your response and the one from Therese. I barely have money for food, I cut bars of soap in half to share with the other sick person in our home and life really isn’t worth living most of the time. I have read and re-read the comments and my feeling are really hurt because I know what everyone is talking about. I had to borrow 80 cents from my neighbor to get my meds so my input was only to MAYBE be of some help to others. I have tried some of the other purifiers and had really bad reactions to them, so I kept looking. I have been so impressed with your website and done nothing but praise you to anyone who will listen. If I came across that I have money and life is good–well that is very far from where I am. It is a struggle, smells cause seizures that are very painful, it is hard to find food I can eat without reactions and I have no social life and haven’t had for years. And yes, get sick and loose the people you thought were friends. I’m too sick to let this bother me like it has, I will keep my comments to myself. Good luck with your health and I really this you have a ten plus website full of good info. Thanks, foggedbrain

    • I’m sorry Kay, it was not my intent to attack you. I am often only able to put into words knowledge, not able to engage with feelings or conventional social conversations – this is one of the symptoms I have from exposures, and why I don’t socialize… I have areas of my brain and experience that just don’t connect, or very rarely connect.

      I do understand that sometimes our only choice, what will work for our own “sensitivities” is something that won’t work for others for any variety of reasons. And how excruciatingly difficult survival can be, and how often all we have to choose from is bad or worse, not better or worse.

      Thank you for your kind words. Sorry I let you down. You know I wish for you and everyone else to receive what is needed for healing <3

  9. Dear Kay, I also apologize if anything I expressed made you feel attacked or ofended in any way. It was far from my intention to make make anyone feel unappreciated or upset in any way! I did start off saying these were great tips (if only I could afford to buy an air filter), it’s really important to know what works or not for others, even though we may all have diferent tolerances. Don’t feel that your tips and opinion have gone unnoticed or are unappreciated, that’s not so. Sometimes it’s hard to get across what we really mean or feel : ( happens to me a lot lately : ( Maybe because I owe last months rent and don’t know where we can find the money to pay it, and this has conditioned the way I commented, without me really realizing it, but I didn’t mean to implicate that anyone was boasting or bragging about anything.
    I’m so sorry you’re suffering all these difficulties too! Don’t give up! Cherish those ‘true’ friends that you have, they are a precious gift. The social exclusion is as devastating as the lack of understanding but you are lucky to have such caring friends that help to carry you through this hell on their angel wings. ♡♡♡
    Big reiki hugs & God bless you all ♡♡♡

  10. Linda and Therese
    Just wanted to take a few minutes to thank you both Very Much for your replies. Maybe I was just extra sick and sensitive that day and I took things wrong. I really think it was very kind of you both to write to me about this. I have been having a hard time and my partner is sicker than me and I try to take care of the two of us — sometimes it is easy to get on overload as you both know. This disease is quite a roller-coaster ride, and again I was just hoping my little bit of luck with the purifier could maybe be of some help to someone. Thank you for all the work you put into this website and I am so impressed with all you have done. I have certainly learned a lot from it and try to pass the information on to others so maybe they will find a better way for their lives. I wish you both the best in your journey to get better, it is such a struggle for so many of us but oh what a learning experience!.
    Thanks again for your kind words.

    • Thank you Kay, your contributions ARE appreciated.

      I hope and pray for a world where we all have a healthy environment, and there’s no right to pollute and make others incredibly ill and left without proper health care or supports.

  11. Thks for understanding♡♡♡

    Having always been a considerate person carefull to not hurt anyones feelings or offend them by what I say, I feel pretty frustrated lately as it seems I unknowingly do this ever more often : ( I suppose this has to do with the deteriation of my cognitive and communication abilities. So it’s great to know that you ‘understand’ and don’t feel hurt or offended : )

    Hang in there! Things will get better once you can maintain your ‘environmental control’ and make your home a ‘safe haven’, it takes time and effort (lots for so many of us that can’t afford these necessities) but every little bit counts and gives you a bit more ‘quality of life’. You’re on the right track so don’t ‘give up’. I’m absolutely sure that all of us feel like giving up many times a day/week etc. It would be so nice not to have to struggle and fight just to barely function!
    Please check out all the great info on how to ‘avoid toxic exposures’ that Linda has posted, I have learned to ‘control’ my exposures (the best I can) and I definately have less FM, more energy or less serious CFS and can at least look after myself (better or worse) stand on my feet long enough to prepare and cook a meal, climb my staircase to sleep in my bed etc…. this is a lot compared to when I didn’t know what was affecting me and I was bed-lain, had cronic pains and anemia, was literally suffocating with asma and meds, having escalating angina and risk of a stroke, etc… I truely hope that having a good air filter/conditioner will help you and your partner have a better quality ‘safe environment’ to heal and get better ♡♡♡


  12. In a previous comment I’d recommended Air Pura but I can no longer do so. They have changed some materials in the filters and they are no longer suitable for people with MCS or anyone else who doesn’t want to get a bloody nose from filters. They were great to talk with in the past, but as soon as there was a problem, they refused to accept or resolve it.

  13. Here is a link to the instructions from MCS

    Unfortunately the photographs don’t appear to be here, but the written instructions are available, in case they help.

    I’ve also noticed some how-to’s on youtube making similar contraptions, so googling DIY air filtration might bring them up, just beware that some might use tapes or materials that are not MCS safe

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