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Businesses hope air purification systems will make their clients safer from COVID-19

KGW-TV Portland logo KGW-TV Portland 7/15/2020 Chris McGinness

Amid concerns about spreading COVID indoors, some businesses are hoping new air filtration systems will help keep their clients safe.

Cycle Bar in Tanasbourne recently installed a device into their HVAC system that uses UV light and airborne hydrogen peroxide to clear the air. 

The device costs around $1,000 and the general manager of the indoor cycling studio said she is thrilled to have what she calls another weapon against indoor pollution and germs.

“This is another tool in the arsenal, let’s go ahead and use it. And for me, it was additional peace of mind” said general manager Ali Lingenfelter, who's also a cyclist and a seasonal allergy sufferer.

The device is called a  REME HALO air purification system, made by RGF Environmental based in West Palm Beach, Florida.

“The REME HALO installed in the supply site of the A/C system creates airborne hydrogen peroxide that’s circulated throughout the conditioned space” said Tony Julian, a VP with the company. .

The device also treats all the air going through a heating/cooling system with a UV light, which is known to kill germs.

To be clear, they have not yet been proven to kill the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, but it has been tested on other viruses.

“The Avian Flu and H1-N1 were very efficiently reduced by the P-H-I Cell in the REME HALO. So we have all the confidence that the coronavirus would be handled just as well,” Julian said.

We asked indoor air expert Dr. Richard Corsi of Portland State University about ion generating air purifiers back in the spring. He wasn't sold on them at the time.

“They may have some benefit, but we just don’t have peer-reviewed technical data that’s systematic experimental research in a laboratory to actually say how beneficial they are,” Dr. Corsi said

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Recently Dr. Corsi noted that peroxide is a very good cleaner and produces few byproducts. He's always maintained that any time we're adding things to the air in the name of the cleaning, there's a possibility for unintended byproducts. 

In the context of the COVID-19 health emergency, this could be a great weapon.

“We know that this is strenuous cardio activity, we want to have people feel safe and comfortable doing it," Lingenfelter said. "What are the things we can do besides social distancing to augment that? OK, here’s one more thing that we can do, one more extra step. Do we have to do it? Well, if the option is there, I think, yeah we should do it."

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Chris McGinness is a meteorologist and reporter for KGW. Got a story idea or a great photo you want to share? Email him at cmcginness@kgw.com or reach out on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram

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