High Efficiency particulate air filtration system or HEPA filtration system has been designed to eliminate at least 99.97 percent of minute airborne particles and contaminants that are bigger than 0.3 microns in size. This criterion has been set by the United States Department of Energy as well as the European Committee for Standardization, and has been followed globally for HEPA filtration system manufacturing. The European Standard defines 5 HEPA classes i.e. H10 to H17, with respect to increasing HEPA filtration system’s efficiency. The term HEPA refers not to a particular filter design but to the standard efficiency level i.e. 99.97 percent capturing of airborne particles and contaminants.
HEPA Filtration Systems – The History and Uses
HEPA filters were first made in the 1940s and used by the Manhattan project to curtail the spread of radioactive contaminants present in the air due to World War II. HEPA filters were launched commercially 10 years after that, with an objective to remove bacteria, fungi, viruses, pollen, hair and particulate matter like smoke, pet dander and dust, from the air in the buildings.
HEPA filters rose in popularity and started to be used for industrial applications with technological up gradation, that accompanied with war and the growth in various industries. These industries necessitated highly efficient air filters. These industries included computer industry, electronics, nuclear power and aerospace industry. Hospitals as well as pharmaceutical manufacturers also necessitated the air filters, while emergence of tight air pollution laws in the United States and other region that started in 1970s, also raised awareness regarding importance of pollution free air, to a great extent.
HEPA filters are now installed in hospitals and air crafts, greatly obstructing the spread of airborne viruses, fungi and bacteria. Aircraft filters help decrease the spread of diseases from city to city. HEPA filters in the medical settings and other healthcare uses are usually rated higher than the prescribed global standards, often as high as 99.99 percent efficient. In Europe, these filters are also equipped with the high-intensity ultraviolet lights to kill versus and bacteria trapped by the HEPA filtration system.