USC Environmental Health Centers

Current news, events and research projects of the Environmental Health Centers based at USC

September 6, 2022

NEW INFOGRAPHIC: Do-It-Yourself Air Filter

USC Environmental Health

The Community Engagement team in the Division of Environmental Health at USC in collaboration with the community organization Pacoima Beautiful based in Pacoima, CA co-created a new infographic on building a Do-It-Yourself Air Filter to improve indoor air quality

Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the air can significantly impact the health of community members, especially those living in highly polluted areas. These particles can enter the bloodstream and travel to the brain, causing harmful effects. PM2.5 also increases the risk of lung and heart disease and other health problems.

Workshop with Pacoima Clean Air Ambassadors

Some people are more susceptible to air pollutants, including children, pregnant women, the elderly, and individuals with pre-existing conditions. Proximity to industrial sources of air pollution also plays a role in the health of communities, as seen in Pacoima. There are numerous strategies to reduce exposure to pollution levels, including this low-cost DIY air filter. 

"Due to the polluting industries in the area, like the gravel and asphalt company, there is fine particulate matter in the air. This DIY Air Filter is a great, low-cost option for folks to have in their homes to improve their indoor air quality." - Dora Frietze-Armenta, Lead Project Planner for Pacoima Beautiful

“The DIY Air Filter has not only purified the air in my home, but it has also relieved my family and I of lots of stress. My mom, who worries about the unhealthy air quality in Pacoima and second hand smoke from our neighbors, has visibly been more relaxed in the last few months of using the air filter. The DIY Air Filter has brought both peace and health to my family, and I will forever be grateful for this crucial addition to our home.” - Victoria Virgen, Youth Member and Clean Air Ambassador for Pacoima Beautiful

Click through to see full graphic: English / Español

“Indoor filtration and air purification systems reduce indoor pollution and improve health outcomes. DIY air filters perform very similarly to store bought filters and purifiers, making them a great and affordable alternative to the more expensive filtration systems. Most people may even have all the materials needed to build a DIY air filter already in their homes. Hopefully, this infographic can help people build and maintain DIY air filters to improve the quality of air in their homes.” - Jennifer Ahumada, EH Matters Fellow

EH MATTERS fellow Jennifer Ahumada (USC Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, ‘24) led the infographic. Thanks to the community leaders of Pacoima Beautiful, Yoshira Ornelas Van Horne, and Wendy Gutschow for supporting this work.

This infographic was supported in part by: 

  • NIH R25ES031867
  • P30ES007048 
  • USC Environmental Justice Research Lab 
  • TCC Funding 
    • California Strategic Growth Council (SGC)
    • California Climate Investments (CCI)
    • California Department of Conservation (DOC)

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