We tested the filter of a Honeywell HEPA filter air cleaner (Model #50101) in a downtown Los Angeles office close to Pershing Square. The Honeywell, purchased for about $90 from Home Depot, went into service September 1 making our test of the debris on the filter a three-month aggregate survey.
The filter registered a whopping 364% of normal or 3.64 times normal. As the machine was not running before its filter was tested, there should have been no additional radiation over background due to “natural” radon and radon progeny.
The historic building we tested in was built around the turn of the last of the last century. It was surprising that the 10-minute interior background average was 45.0 CPM because in our 1,470+ radiation tests since March 15, 2011, this level was usually found outside where some radiation is not blocked by structural walls and windows.
The office had central air which led us to think that perhaps the readings on the HEPA filter would be lower than what we found testing the radioactive air in the west Los Angeles Basin November 11, 2011.
We were wrong. Even with the filtered central air and a smaller HEPA filter on the Honeywell 50101 (compared to the Honeywell HEPA filter air cleaner we have in Radiation Station), the spot readings were significantly higher.
Numerous people have asked how we keep ourselves from getting radioactive contamination on us and in us conducting these radiation tests. As the video shows, I do sometimes handle HEPA filters with bare hands but I assiduously wash my hands while doing these tests so I’m not too worried about that. More important is keeping the Inspector Alert free of radioactive ‘goo’ because I go to great lengths to keep radioactive contamination from affecting Denise Anne or me.
Breathing hot dust is entirely different matter. For vacuuming the HEPA filters and cleaning them (as well as the vacuum), I wear an N-95 face mask which is very effective against air particulate matter.
We now recommend that people wear these inexpensive masks when flying in airplanes or jets to combat breathing in airborne fallout high in the atmosphere. This concern was driven home when we got tested one of these masks worn by a woman from Los Angeles International Airport to Japan June 23, 2011. That mask measured 45.6% above the immediate prior interior average here at Radiation Station where the mask was tested.
[Note: I mistakenly say at the end of the video that the triple meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi began March 1, 2011. They actually began March 10, 2011. We regret the error.]
11:50 SPOT CHECK of Honeywell HEPA filter in DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES OFFICE: 164 CPM sustained or ~364% of background higher or 3.64 times background higher.
11:30 am – 10-minute INTERIOR average DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES OFFICE: 45.0 CPM