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I am allergic to House dust mites. There are some air purifiers on the market that suppose to "clean" the air and reduce allergens. I have been really skeptical concerning these devices. Recently I received an offer from my health insurer to buy items that might prevent allergies. Most items were bed linen, but they also offer a wide variety of these air purifiers.

Coming from a health insurer, I started to wonder if there might be some validity in the claims that air purifiers like this one and this one.

Does using an air purifier objectively relieve allergy patients?

  • Do not confuse sales pitches appearing to come from a service provider as anything more than they explicitly state. Many times service providers will accept payment in exchange for mailing out sales information for a 3rd party, or including that info with your bill. Its a good match since people who get reimbursed for allergy medicine are probably looking for other ways to help with their allergies. They are not selling your contact information they are acting as an agent. That does not mean the products being sold do not work. – Chad Jan 3 '12 at 14:05
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    There are definitely airborne particles that can cause allergies, including pollen, mold spores and dust. A decent air purifier (with a pre-filter, HEPA filter and appropriate flow rate) can definitely capture these particles, which would help reduce the amount of airborne allergens. Is your claim "There's no such thing as an airborne allergen", or "Air filters cannot remove airborne allergens"? Either way I don't think this claim is notable (yet) - you should link to some others claiming the same thing. – John Lyon Jan 3 '12 at 23:31
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Here's an article from the EPA about residential air purifiers. They advise as first steps to avoid/remove sources of indoor air pollution and to improve ventilation with clean outdoor air. Once the limits of these techniques are reached, they advise that air purifiers may be useful, in certain circumstances. A telling quote:

How effectively air-cleaning devices alleviate allergic and other health symptoms remains uncertain. Strong data linking air-cleaning devices to reduced health symptoms do not exist. Many studies have associated air-cleaning devices with reductions in airborne indoor pollutant concentrations, but more clinical studies are needed to determine whether air cleaners significantly affect health outcomes. A literature review documented only a limited number of studies that attempted to evaluate the clinical outcomes of air cleaner use. These studies focused on more sensitive groups, such as asthmatic and allergic individuals, children, and the elderly. A number of the studies had important limitations, such as small study size, short duration, and lack of blinding (i.e., subjects and scientists were aware of air cleaner operation), which may result in a placebo effect. The results were also more suggestive than conclusive.

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