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Air Quality When Pouring Soft Plastics Will an Air Filter Help?

Air Quality When Pouring Soft Plastics Will an Air Filter Help? 1
Alright guys, today we're going to talk a little shop safety/public service announcement/promoted product piece here. I don't do a lot of promoted products, frankly not a lot of people reach out to me because I'm not that big of a channel. But, the folks over at Dreo reached out to me and offered to send me one of their HEPA filters and at first I told them no, I wasn't going to pin people's products for free when the people that watch my channel really don't need one.

Feeling Sick During Mass Production

Then I started ramping up a lot of this lure production we're doing for W.M Bayou and I was injecting a lot more for a lot longer than usual. So when I'm prototyping stuff, I'll go out and I'll shoot one and fish it. If I like it, I'll do a large production run so we have a couple of lures in the pipeline. Right now, I'm producing larger runs of lures to get them out to some of the people that use our lures for testing and I started noticing that I started to feel like crap after just about 3-4 runs over the course of about an hour to an hour and a half. My eyes were all messed up, I was having trouble breathing and I just felt really bad. At one point, I even thought I had COVID because it was making a run through our house and but then I realized it wasn't COVID, it's just that all that stuff from the lure production was sucking up in the air.
air filter in ceiling

My Current Air Filter System

I was also being very careful, I wasn't sitting there sucking on fumes, I had my mask on, I had on a respirator, the proper gloves and my roof is even built to suck out all of the air in the room and replace it within two minutes. But, I still feel like crap so obviously something wasn't working. So, I reached back out to the Dreo folks and I asked if I could give their air filter a shot. Thankfully they said yes so I got their HEPA filter and I also picked up an air quality sensor from Purple Air that I bought myself, that one wasn't sponsored. I wanted something that looked like it was relatively good quality, not one of those you can find on Ebay for $20 that doesn't actually measure air quality.

Baseline Air Quality Test

So I got the air quality sensor in and I decided to do a baseline test without the air filter in place and it was eye opening. It peaks when I was using the microwave which I know is not the best way to heat soft plastics. Using the microwave dumps a lot of energy and a lot of heat in there and it's easy to make it too hot which will then produce a lot of fumes. But when I say it's not the best, I really mean from an air quality standpoint, I know tons of people that use the microwave the make lures. But from an air quality standpoint, it's going to generate a lot of fumes.

air filter results graph

Implementing the Dreo

The next day I decided to take out the Dreo and this thing is pretty big and looks cool. I don't know anything about air filters but it looks cool. I decided to just replace the inline vent fan with the air filter right over the top of my microwave and just see how it worked. I turned it on and hit the turbo button and ran another batch of lures. So when I'm doing these, I do one initial heat with fresh plastisol and then I do a reheat. I really do that because I want to see if there's a difference between the fresh batch and the read, which there is. I actually thought the reheat would be worse because I have glitter in there and if I overheated the glitter it would overheat and burn, but it was actually less on the reheat than the initial heat.

Dreo Results

You can see when I ran with the Dreo, the air quality improved significantly. I am still wearing my mask because a HEPA filter isn't going to protect against everything, but it did take all of the particles out of the air and it really helped to improve the air quality. I felt a lot better when I was done, still not great, but I certainly didn't feel tired and worn down which I think is a win.
I'm still going to keep looking to see if I can find a way to remove VOC's quickly, my mask does an okay job but I think it's still seeping in there somehow. I'm going to have to get a full blown respirator or I've seen some filters that claimed to do VOC, maybe I'll check those out too.
At the end of the day, I would recommend that you buy a HEPA air filter for your shop. You don't want to be sucking in all kinks of gunk into your lungs, it's just not good. I'm not an air filter expert, but it seems like a good, quality air filter that works and you can buy one HERE.
Take care- Tight lines