Free Air Purifiers for Utah Schools

There are many health and educational benefits to air purifiers in schools, they can help cut down on absences, they can help raise test scores, improve student behavior, and improve the overall health of students. Even low-level air pollution makes it more difficult for students to learn, reduces test scores, and diminishes academic performance. The good news is that, through a partnership with the Utah Department of Health with a federally funded program, air purifiers are now free to schools throughout Utah.

Read the CDC’s guidance on improving ventilation in school settings.

For more information on the benefit of air purifiers click here.

“During the inversion, indoor particulate matter levels didn’t reach unhealthy levels and were actually similar indoors at both schools, even though outdoor air pollution was slightly higher at West High. That’s probably due to the building’s air filters, Mendoza says.”

writes Paul Gabrielsen, University of Utah

“Within 30 minutes of breathing levels of diesel exhaust consistent with what children may breathe in an old bus on the way to school, EEG tests show abnormal brain wave activity of inflammation and general cortical stress, which reduces learning capability. Other studies show directly that air pollution inhaled in the morning, on the way to school, can affect a child’s ability to learn that same day in the classroom.”

Dr. Brian Moench

“We found a significant relationship between chronic low-level traffic-related air pollution exposure and neurobehavioral function in exposed children.”

Wang S, Zhang J, Zeng X, Zeng Y, Wang S, Chen S. Association of traffic-related air pollution with children’s neurobehavioral functions in Quanzhou, China.

“Our work demonstrates that low-level exposure, even within levels compliant with NAAQS, can affect absence rates. These affected all school levels and schools of different socioeconomic circumstances.”

 Daniel L Mendoza et al 2020. Impact of low-level fine particulate matter and ozone exposure on absences in K-12 students and economic consequences

“Acutely, air pollution increases the permeability of cells that line the respiratory tract, allowing easier penetration by the virus. Air pollution allows greater viral replication by decreasing the immune response, the scavenging of viruses by white blood cells, and the activity of antioxidants.”

Dr. John Macfarlane

For more information, please contact Brandi O’Brien, the program coordinator. 

UPHE has been advocating for air purifiers in classrooms for years, and especially since the beginning of the global pandemic. During the pandemic, we’ve urged schools and individuals to use air purifiers due to their ability to capture and filter out viruses, helping prevent respiratory illnesses. Air pollution increases the permeability of cells that line the respiratory tract, allowing easier penetration by the virus.

The Air Purifier Recommended by UPHE

UPHE was asked by the Utah Department of Health and Human Services to weigh in on an air purifier that would provide the benefits listed above. We chose the Medify MA-112.

Energy Use

The MA-112’s power consumption is 95W. The cost of power in Utah is 10.63¢ / kWh (according to electricchoice.com). Based upon the MA-112 running 40 hours per week, prorating the annual cost to 9 months, the units cost ~$15.81 in power consumption annually.

This project is supported by the Centers for Disease Control, P.L. 117-2 and under this ‘ELC Reopening Schools’ project of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $184,529,758.00 with 100 percent funded by the Centers for Disease Control/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by the Centers for Disease Control/HHS, or the U.S. Government.