Air Purifiers for Art Studios & Artists
Many artwork mediums produce harmful particulates or release toxic fumes into the air creating an extremely unhealthy work environment. An air purifier is one tool that can help to protect your lungs from these harmful air contaminants.
Artists should be well informed about the hazards of the media that they work with and know the best ways to deal with each of those hazards.
Almost all art media produces some form of air contaminant. These are just a few examples.
- Chemical pigments and volatile organic compound vapours from oil paints, acrylic paints, watercolours, gouaches, encaustics, enamel and epoxy paints,
- Chemicals & VOCs from aerosol sprays used as fixatives for dry media
- Dust from dry media such as charcoal, chalks and pastels (This is mostly heavy dust that requires a dust extraction unit but suspended fine particulate matter is still produced)
- Chemical vapours from solvent-based pen and ink media
- Chemical vapours from air brushing paints and fixatives
- Suspended fine particulate from clays, stone and plaster work
- Vapours from pottery glazes and kilns
Depending on the types of media that you use, different filtering technologies may be required.
But before getting into each of the filter technologies It is also important to understand what an air purifier can and cannot do. Air Purifiers are not vacuum cleaners or dust extractors. They are designed to remove the microscopic particles and gaseous compounds that stay suspended in the air and are easily inhaled into our lungs.
So, in addition to an air purifier, it is advisable that every artist’s studio have adequate air circulation and extraction. Installing ceiling or window exhaust fans is a good idea regardless of the types of media being used.
HEPA filters have been the foundation filtering technology for all good quality air purifiers. Look for air purifiers that describe their HEPA filters as “True HEPA”, “Medical Grade HEPA” or “H13 HEPA”. These are the best quality and highest efficiency HEPA filters capable of removing 99.97% of particles @ 0.3 microns. HEPA is essential if working with dry mediums such as pastels, clays, plasters, stone etc. (Remember to also use some form of dust extraction when using dry media to collect the heavier particles that can clog up the air purifiers filters)
HEPA filters are good for: charcoal, chalks, pastels and other dry media, pottery dust, stone work and plaster dust.
Our Recommended HEPA Air Purifiers
Activated Carbon filters are well known for their capability to remove gaseous pollutants such as paint/pigment vapours chemical fumes and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs). When looking for air purifiers with activated carbon you only need to follow one guideline. The higher quality activated carbon and the more of it the better.
Activated Carbon filters are good for: oil paints, acrylics, enamels, fixatives, solvent based inks, aerosols, pottery glazing and kiln vapours.
Our Recommended Activated Carbon Air Purifiers
UV-C & PlasmaWave
UV-C and PlasmaWave technologies are not really filters in the conventional sense, but more of an oxidising mechanism. Both technologies work in a similar way where they will react with and alter or destroy certain pollutants on a molecular level. These are both great technologies to use in combination with activated carbon filtration where VOCs, chemical fumes and even bacteria are a problem.
UV-C & PlasmaWave are good as an extra filtration with activated carbon for: oil paints, acrylics, enamels, fixatives, solvent based inks, aerosols, glues, varnishes, pottery glazes and kiln vapours.
Our Recommended UV-C & PlasmaWave Air Purifiers
Electrostatic air cleaners use electrostatically charged collection plates to attract and collect the particles as they pass between the plates. These can be useful for artists who work with dry media. These types of air cleaners can handle slightly heavier dust particles as they don’t use filters however; a dust extractor or exhaust fans should also be used. Electrostatic machines will require their collection plates to be well maintained by regular cleaning.
These types of air cleaners are good as a secondary filtration to HEPA for: charcoals, chalks, pastels and other dry media, pottery, stone work and plaster. (The heavier dust particles won’t clog up an electrostatic machine if the collection plates are cleaned regularly)
Our Recommended Electrostatic Air Purifiers