What Is The Deal With HEPA-Filtration?

Posted by Mark Farnsworth on Jun 2 2014 03:08 PM

This post continues our blog's examination of the exciting world of dust, why dust can be dangerous and the 'art' of containment. These are the very basics, the foundation, of infection and dust control.


hepa filterWe know that dust can be dangerous to immunocompromise patients in hospitals and therefore needs to be eliminated from the air via filtration. This helps minimize the risk of hospital acquired infections. 

To understand HEPA-filtration in this application, it is important to remember that filtration is only achieved with movement of the air (flow) towards the filter. We will talk about appropriate air-flow levels and why they are important in our next post. 

What is HEPA-Filtration? HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air and is a standard set by the U.S. Department of Energy. 

The standard of HEPA quality air is 99.97% of .3 microns in diameter. This means that HEPA filtration filters 99.97% of all particles that size (.3 microns)

Why .3 microns? Particles this size are the most difficult to capture and HEPA-filters are even more efficient in capturing both smaller particles (strange but true) and larger particles (that makes sense!)

HEPA-Filtration is the standard in most healthcare facilities when it comes to dust containment (especially in high-risk areas) to clean the air from the harmful contaminants we discussed in prior posts. 

Be wary of any product that labels itself as "HEPA-type", "HEPA-style", "99% HEPA" or just mention they contain a HEPA-filter. Many of these will note a 95% removal rate of particles 2 microns or greater.  Two microns may sound small -- but it is 550% larger than a particle that is .3 microns. A HEPA-filter alone also does not guarantee HEPA-filtered air.

Instead you are looking for "sealed HEPA" or "99.97%". The best HEPA-filters test even better at 99.995%. Most importantly, you need to know if your HEPA-filter has been "challenged" or "tested" and know if it has passed. We believe this is not a spot-check on an assembly line, but a specific test on your specific HEPA-filtration unit. Like most infection control personnel, we believe it should be done at a minimum of 1x per year or upon knowledge the filtration system may be compromised.

More on HEPA-filtration and air-flow in our next post. Meanwhile,if you have any questions about dust containment, HEPA-filtration, or ICRA testing of or our HEPACART™ product line, you can find out more about us at www.hepacart.com, e-mail us at info@hepacart.com or simply click the button below to download our catalog:

Download HEPACART Catalog

 

Also, feel free to add a comment below to further the conversation and best of luck with your next containment or filtration project.

 

 

 

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