Are HEPA Filters Safe and Do They Contain Fiberglass?

HEPA filters are renowned for their ability to capture particles larger than 0.3 microns in size, thanks to the hundreds of thousands of incredibly small, sticky fiberglass fibers they use. While these filters do release a small amount of fiberglass particles into the air, the amount is negligible and decreases over time as the filter ages. In other words, the amount of particles released by a HEPA filter is no more harmful than dust in the air, making them a safe and effective option for air filtration. Most HEPA filters contain fiberglass, while others are made with synthetic polypropylene filters. The glass fiber in the filter grinds microparticles in the air, but the number of crushed particles is well below official safety levels.

This technology has been in common use since the 1950s, and it has been proven to be an effective way to remove pollutants from the air with an efficiency of 99.9%.To ensure that these filters are safe, manufacturers and advertisers have been allowed to make certain claims about them. But how do scientists know that they can actually detect the fibers that come out of the filter? A bipolar system purifies the air without releasing harmful particles and is therefore considered a safe filtering option. When it comes to choosing between fiberglass and synthetic filters, data shows that fiberglass filters can remove more fibers than synthetic filters, although the amount of particles released by both types of filters is very small. Smart Air chooses to use synthetic fibers to reduce the risk. Similarly, Whirlpool Whispure AP51030KB is a favorite among air purifier users and critics because of its powerful dual filters, multiple fan speeds and incredible air cleaning speed. This is why companies that commercially manufacture these air purifiers warn that they should not cut HEPA filters or recycle filters for other purposes. However, when prefilters are not used, fiberglass filters may need to be replaced anywhere every 8 to 12 months, depending on the use of the air purifier and the quality of the filters.

According to the EPA, this type of air filter can theoretically remove at least 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold and bacteria. When filters are changed, old filters are decontaminated, packaged, sent to biological waste and destroyed. In almost every home or building, placing HEPA filters will improve air quality and remove almost all pollutants, but it still won't be 100% perfect. If the filters are not replaced at least once a year, the air purifier will most likely lose efficiency in cleaning up impurities and will malfunction if too much dirt accumulates in the filters.