Whole Room versus Source Capture

During my bachelor days I would host a weekly poker game for that eight-week gap between the Super Bowl and the start of baseball season. One of the players insisted on smoking a cigar and his choice of cigars was certainly closer to an “old stogie” than a Bolivar Royal Corona. It would take days for the tobacco stench to fade. The solution was a smokeless ashtray where a tiny fan would suck the smoke into a small pouch with a filter and some activated carbon. While not perfect it was a huge improvement. Little did I know but I was using a rudimentary source capture system to clean the air. Central HVAC systems in homes and office buildings are designed to deliver fresh and clean air to whole rooms. Air that is in one room can be transferred to another room through the ductwork. This is not a concern in homes, but it is in your dentist’s office where patients sit with their mouths open for long periods. With Covid-19, it is clear to see that the pandemic has affected dentistry on a global basis. In the U.S., the CDC recommends “the use of a portable, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) air filtration unit while the patient is undergoing, and immediately following, an aerosol-generating procedure” in a dental setting. Other methods to restore confidence in dental offices are Ionizers, ozone generators for disinfection on unoccupied spaces, and carbon filters. Another method acts the same as a laboratory or kitchen “hood” that sucks up air directly from the source. Known as a “source capture system”, They are a big improvement over that smokeless ashtray that my cigar smoking friend used during those poker games.

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