Q&A: Can my HEPA air filter reduce levels of airborne lead?

From PureLiving China’s Bumps & Babes Ask the Expert series.

Question:
I just read the news about the US CDC lowering the threshold for lead poisoning in young children and it’s made me really worry about my newborn baby’s health here in Shanghai. Does a HEPA filter help reduce levels of airborne lead?

Answer:
Airborne lead is an issue in Shanghai.  We’ve found that the level fluctuates with season and industrial activity.  Sources include: industrial emissions, lead battery production and reclamation of lead from batteries, some diesel and aviation fuel, and use in manufacturing.  Lead is a particulate (lead dust ranges in size from 0.3 to 10 microns), so most HEPA filters will help reduce indoor lead levels.  You cannot smell lead.

However, filters, are only one part of a lead reduction strategy. Other critical steps include

  • Knowing when and how to ventilate
  • Testing for lead in your environment because lead in soil is persistent for decades and can be easily tracked into the house
  • Using HEPA vacuums (read our Electrolux UltraActive vacuum review here)
  • Reducing environmental exposure to lead in homes (food, jewelry, toys)

Visit the PureLiving Learning Center to learn more about the health dangers lead poses, where lead is commonly found in China, how to find out if your home or office has lead, and options for remediation.

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