Mitigating Airborne Pollutants in Cannabis Grows With a Commercial Air Purifier

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Cannabis growers are often exposed to a variety of pollutants in the air, ranging from irritating to life-threatening. A commercial air purifier can help mitigate the risk of harmful effects from these pollutants — but only if you understand exactly what kinds of pollutants you’re dealing with.

Higher Yields Consulting Mitigating Airborne Pollutants in Cannabis Grows With a Commercial Air Purifier

We recently sat down with our friends at Byers Scientific to discuss some of the most common air quality hazards cannabis growers are exposed to and learn what to do about them. 

Here’s what you need to know about potential airborne hazards in cannabis grow rooms, as well as how to mitigate health risks using a commercial air purifier. 

What Airborne Hazards Are Growers Exposed To?

There are a host of potential air quality issues for cannabis cultivations, but most fall into one of two categories: particles (also called aerosols) or gas. Each category also includes:

  • Primary pollutants. Produced directly from the plant itself. Examples of primary aerosols include spores, mold, and the like. 
  • Secondary pollutants. Made in the atmosphere when other aerosols and/or gasses react with one another. Ozone is an example of a secondary gas that can result from the mixing of terpenes and nitrogen oxides in the air. 

According to Dr. William Vizuete, Chief Scientific Officer of Byers Scientific, aerosols are generally the most dangerous airborne pollutants for growers to be exposed to. However, which aerosols are most harmful to human health depends on the particle size, amount of particulate matter present, and composition of the aerosol itself. 

Once you understand the exact type and size of particles and how much of them are present in your grow room, you’ll be better equipped to target and remove them from the air with your commercial air purifier. 

How Do Airborne Hazards Impact Growers’ Health?

Dr. Vizuete explains that exposure to toxic aerosols or gasses can have short-term effects — such as shortness of breath or cardiopulmonary issues — or lead to long-term issues, such as cancer. Just as different pollutants vary in toxicity, so can their effect on people.

“There’s a whole host of symptoms,” he says. “It really depends on what you’re being exposed to, because every single one of those exposures leads to different kinds of outcomes. And different folks have different responses to those.”

Marc Byers, Founder and President of Byers Scientific, adds that when addressing bad air quality, it’s important to distinguish between harmful particulate matter and odors. A high-quality commercial air purifier can target both, but only one is detrimental to workers’ health. 

Higher Yields Consulting Mitigating Airborne Pollutants in Cannabis Grows With a Commercial Air Purifier

“Odors are just a nuisance, and they’re subjective,” he explains. However, while unpleasant, odors themselves aren’t particularly dangerous. Particulate matter, on the other hand — along with toxic gasses — can be extremely harmful to one’s health and even life. 

How Can We Mitigate Risk?

When it comes to removing pollutants from the air, Dr. Vizuete explains that the filtration method often depends on the properties of the pollutants themselves. 

Organic molecules are absorbed by other organic materials and thus pulled out of the air. Biological aerosols and viruses are collected and deactivated through electrostatics, which adds an electric charge to the particles and makes it much easier to gather invisible — and potentially deadly — nano-sized particles.

Unlike most commercial air purifier solutions, which require large amounts of energy or constant changing of particulate filters, the Byers Scientific air filtration device combines both types of filtration — targeting both annoying odors and dangerous particles in the air — in one efficient device. 

However, beyond choosing the right commercial air purifier, one big problem in the cannabis industry is not understanding air quality problems in the first place. Josh Rembusch, Vice President of Byers Scientific, advises starting with a third-party analysis to understand the pollutants and size of the particles you’re dealing with. 

Then, instead of using protective gear to avoid those hazards, use engineering controls to remove them from the air. Finally, continue to re-test and monitor your air quality, so you always know what’s in your air and how much particulate matter is being removed — that way you can determine any further actions you need to take. 

Do You Have the Right Commercial Air Purifier?

“Qualifying and quantifying the problem really should be the first step and the last step,” Rembusch says in closing. Before you can address air quality issues in your facility, you need to understand exactly what issues you’re dealing with. 

Then, once you’ve targeted those problems with an efficient commercial air purifier solution, be sure to re-test and ensure that solution is effectively and continuously improving the indoor air quality. 
Contact us today to learn more about how Higher Yields Consulting can help you optimize your cultivation facility and create a healthier environment for maximum growth.

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