Cleaning up air emergencies with activated carbon


Activated carbon filters can help clean the air at Aliso Canyon

Currently, the Aliso Canyon area of Los Angeles County is experiencing a massive methane gas leak that is expected to last for months. The leak, which was discovered Oct. 23 at the Southern California Gas Company’s (SoCalGas) Porter Ranch storage facility, has proved a monumental challenge for scientists and engineers. With a solution still weeks away, the release of methane is already equivalent to the average annual emissions of about 347,000 cars, according to Tech Insider.

However, it’s not the methane that’s caused illness for many area residents and forced thousands of occupants to evacuate. Mercaptan, the chemical that emits a rotten egg smell to raise awareness about the presence of methane gas, has left many Aliso Canyon residents suffering various symptoms, including nausea and nosebleeds.

In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that mercaptan can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, rapid heartbeat and respiratory irritation, among other short-term health problems. While methane can’t be filtered, mercaptan and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be removed with the use of activated carbon air purifiers.

One way SoCalGas is helping residents during this time of crisis is paying for air purifiers that are approved by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). AeraMax Professional units are CARB-approved and use activated carbon filters to efficiently remove natural gas odorants, including mercaptan, from the air. AeraMax Professional commercial-grade air purifiers are available in floor stand models so that you can easily move them to target problem areas and filter the air in any room you occupy.

AeraMax Professional comes standard with a 3/8 inch activated carbon filter. For Aliso Canyon residents and others dealing with strong odors and VOCs, we recommend ordering the two inch carbon filter for maximum absorbency.

Once the severe odor or VOC problem has been solved, the two inch filter can be replaced with the standard carbon filter to optimize year-round use. Besides removing odorants, commercial-grade air purifiers benefit occupants by eliminating 99.9 percent of airborne contaminants including airborne allergens and viruses including the flu virus.

SoCalGas advises residents to reach out about reimbursement before purchasing an air purifier by calling the SoCalGas Aliso Canyon hotline at 818-435-7707 or emailing

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