Tag Archives: air quality

Popular Science interviews Dan Jaffe on wildfire pollution

Popular Science recently took a look at how wildfires are polluting our air. They cited research about the increase in two pollutants due to wildfires: PM2.5 (fine particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in size) and ozone. This research, conducted by Dmitri Kalashnikov, a doctoral student in environmental science at Washington State University Vancouver, found the co-occurrence of these two pollutants has increased significantly in the last 20 years in the western U.S. during July–September, as wildfires have increased.

Dan Jaffe noted that understanding the relationship between PM2.5 and ozone levels isn’t straightforward. He and Jaffe Group researchers have previously found that the most extreme levels of PM2.5 and ozone tend not to occur on the same days. He says that the new paper is still “definitely a step forward.”

Understanding and responding to the increase in wildfires and their unhealthy pollution are important issues for western communities and policy makers.

Read the Popular Science article

Air purifiers can help protect from COVID-19 and smoke

The Washington Post interviewed Dan Jaffe for a recent article about the benefits of air purifiers against airborne particles such as those from coronavirus and also wildfires. The article offers advice on what to look for in an air purifier and how to use one. Their advice in a nutshell: use HEPA filters, fit the purifier to the space, set it up correctly, and use the purifier in the rooms where people are. And one more thing—there is an option that is cheaper than spending $200–1000 for a purifier!  At the end of the article, they cite the Jaffe Group’s research into using a standard box fan with an attached MERV-13 furnace filter to clean particulate matter from the air. Making a simple air purifier is an easy project you can do at home. The article also mentions that wearing masks is important.

Read the Washington Post article

Learn how to make an air purifier for your home

Smoky summer ahead?

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


Low-cost filtration method improves air quality during smoke events—see the new paper


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