Particles and Why They Matter for Air Quality

Photo of dust from clapped handsYou breathe in particles because they are everywhere. Some particles don’t come out of your lungs. That’s why they are important.

Airborne particles matter for air quality; both outside and inside. Some particles are so small that your lungs can’t breathe them out or expel them.  These super small particles are referred to as non-respirable particles. These small particles are of the most concern for health.

These can be organic like mold, bacteria, and viruses; or inorganics like ozone, smoke, and air pollution.

Particles are separated into repairable and non-respirable groups. Non-repairable means it’s so small it gets stuck in your lungs. The chemical composition of particles also determines the effect they have on your health.

There are a lot of people flooding the market with particle sensing devices that only test for “course” (over 2.5 µg/m3) particles. Those sensors are significantly cheaper than the “fine” (under 2.5 µg/m3) particle sensors. We have tested a lot of different, low-cost sensors and most don’t work. We can’t recommend any of the current ones on the market.

We do recommend Purple Air and search for American Air Testing to see what our outside air quality is like.

During wildfires this app is very helpful EPA Smoke Sense Study.

There is an AI prediction of indoor air by street address here: Breezometer.

How to lower the particles you are breathing

The best way to do that is with a true-HEPA only air purifier. You may be able to add a true-HEPA filter to your heating or HVAC system. Portable true-HEPAs work very well, also. You may want to consider adding a charcoal filter to the HEPA. The charcoal or carbon will trap vapors (gasoline, smoke, etc.)

Please don’t add any UV, ultrastatic, ion generator, or other. A true-HEPA with charcoal will not add anything to your indoor air – it will only remove particles.

Give us a call to discuss your project at 415-337-2923.

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Why Hire Us

We are the environmental testing team in San Francisco that has helped many clients with unique and difficult problems.

Mold problems in San Francisco usually happen in buildings that are old enough to contain asbestos and lead-based paint. So, it’s important that an unskilled, unlicensed person doesn’t start removing walls and create a “major asbestos release” in your store or bedroom.

We give real-world advice about environmental cleanup. We consider your emotional and financial health in our directions. We want to choose the method that will clean up the problem so that it does not return is our goal. The financial issues and the everyday living with ongoing mold remediation/asbestos and lead abatement are given primary consideration in our evaluations. No, we won’t tell you not to fix the mold problem in your tenant’s bedroom because it is cheaper and quicker for you to put a coat of paint over it. We understand that it’s loud, it’s expensive, there are too many strange people walking in and out of your space. We understand and try to minimize the frustration and move the job along a fast as possible.

Our team is experienced, licensed, and insured for all the work we perform.

Specializing in hard projects; projects that need a toxic mold, asbestos, and lead removal instructions to satisfy our clients, a lawsuit, insurance claims or tenant concerns are our wheelhouse.

All written reports are thorough and complete. By addressing the actual concerns of all involved, the issues usually are resolved without anger, mistrust, or litigation. And we write in English that is usually understandable by all. There is always a follow-up phone call or two to answer followup questions.

We work primarily in San Francisco but will go an hour in any direction.

And we will always call you back, or return your email, text, or phone messages.

Ask around – you’ll find out other people think we know more, too.

Give us a call to discuss your project at 415-337-2923.

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