Last summer was a smoke-filled one in Washington State. Will this summer be similar? Well, the drought conditions in Washington State have led to forests and grasslands filled with wildfire fuel. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, now is the time to prepare for the possibility of a smoky summer. Dan Jaffe was interviewed by KUOW recently and advised residents to get prepared. “You don’t have to spend a lot of money to actually do a pretty good job of protecting your indoor air quality.” You can make a simple smoke filter for your home with a box fan and a furnace filter.
Listen and read the KUOW report
Learn how to make an air purifier for your home
A new paper by group members Dr. Nate May, Clara Dixon, and Dr. Dan Jaffe evaluates the effectiveness of low-cost air filter units during wildfire smoke events. The increased wildland fire activity in the western US in recent years produces high concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which negatively affects the health of millions of people. During wildfire smoke events, staying indoors is often recommended. However, how good is indoor air quality during smoke events? The authors looked at PM2.5 measurements from the PurpleAir sensor network, a publicly available network of low-cost air quality sensors located indoors and outdoors. They also analyzed the effectiveness of residential filter units in reducing indoor PM2.5. One low-cost DIY filtration method consists of attaching a Minimum Efficiency Rating Value-13 (MERV-13) fan filter to a standard box fan. This method was found to be highly effective at reducing indoor PM2.5 when recirculating air in a single room.
Read the full paper in Aerosol and Air Quality Research
See the video on how to make your own air purifier at home
Credit: Mark Stone/University of Washington.
A new article on the University of Washington website looks at the growing severity of wildfires and the broad research that the university is doing on their impacts. The article highlights the work that we do on wildfires’ effects on air quality. Also featured is the Joel Thornton lab at UW Seattle and the work of other UW researchers who study wildfires and forests.
Claire Buysse and Dan Jaffe set up radiometers to measure UV light on the top of Mt. Bachelor Observatory, August 2019. Credit: Mark Stone/University of Washington.
In the summer of 2019, UW photographer Mark Stone visited Mt. Bachelor Observatory, as well as other research sites, and captured the UW’s research in stunning photographs.
Read the article.
Mt. Bachelor Observatory research site at the top of Mt. Bachelor, Bend, Oregon, August 2019. Credit: Mark Stone/University of Washington.
Seattle Times, Crosscut, KIRO7, KOMONews, KOMOAM, KING5, and Q13Fox. Dan discussed his work on indoor air quality during the wildfire season and showed how to make a very effective DIY air purifier using a box fan and a MERV 13 furnace filter.
In September, Seattle and the Puget Sound region recorded the worst air quality ever. For example, in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle it was 314 on the air quality index on September 17. During our area’s recent smoke apocalypse, Dr. Dan Jaffe has been a frequent media guest. He has been interviewed by the
See links to all of the articles and videos along with descriptions
*Fit means more than fabric.
Have you wondered how effective your cloth mask is in protecting you from the COVID-19 corona virus? We wondered that too, and this led to our newest research project—studying the effectiveness of cloth face masks. Shahbaz Qureshi, a 2020 UWB Biochemistry graduate, and Praphulla Boggarapu Chandra, postdoctoral researcher, have been working with Dr. Dan Jaffe on testing mask effectiveness. Their research was featured on KIRO 7 news, where Dan Jaffe was interviewed by reporter Jessica Oh.
Shahbaz Qureshi adjusts a cloth mask on a mannequin head in an experiment testing the mask’s effectiveness. Photo credit: Marc Studer.
The preliminary research results show that for filtration, fit is more important than the mask material: Tight-fitting masks were twice as efficient in stopping aerosol particles as looser masks. “All masks reduce the particulate—the aerosols you’re putting out in the world and the aerosols you’re breathing in—both ways to some degree,” Jaffe said. “If you wear it properly and you have a tight-fitting mask, it reduces it a lot more.” Dr. Jaffe also plans to present the mask problem to his Quantitative Environmental Analysis class in the upcoming Autumn quarter. “Students will for themselves see: How good is my mask, and how important is the fit?”
Watch the KIRO7 news video on the mask research
Read more about the mask research on the UW Bothell News page