Frequently asked questions

What is NPBI?

Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization (NPBI), classfied by the EPA as an "emerging technology," is a device inserted into ventilation units (HVAC) that generates toxic byproducts like ozone and VOCs. During the COVID pandemic, it has been sold extensively to schools as a way to compensate for inadequate ventilation. Unfortunately, regulatory authorities, leading academics, and preeminant athorities in their fields writing directly to MUFSD all warn that it creates more far more pollution than it is shown to remove.

If MUFSD disconnects NPBI, will they have to close schools?

No! MUFSD's reopening plan was approved by the Department of Health, which specifically warns against using NPBI, saying, "Units that feature ionizers, precipitators, or ozone generators do not provide additional benefit and can generate harmful byproducts." (p12). Additionally, the NY State Education Department warns, "needle point bipolar ionization (NBPI)… technology can generate ozone, formaldehyde and ultrafine particles from reactions with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). For this reason, SED working with Department of Health is not recommending it at this time. Such technology is being marketed heavily; please be cautious – the marketing literature does not discuss the byproducts of ionization."

Is there a better way to clear the air?

Yes! Every neighboring school district (New Rochelle, Pelham, Scarsdale, Harrison and Rye Neck) has either: 1) MERV 13+ rated HVAC filters, 2) 100% outside air intake in HVAC and/or 3) portable HEPA filters in classrooms.

I'm not worried about COVID - why should I care about NPBI or HEPA?

Whether you and your loved ones are vaccinated, or you're just not worried about COVID, indoor air quality is about a lot more than virus transmission. Ozone, VOCs, and other toxins emitted by NPBI can cause respiratory disease, cancer and autoimmune disease. Even healthy people without prexisting conditions can be seriously harmed by ozone pollution. Excess CO2 has been shown to reduce cognitive function - isn't that what our kids need when they're in class learning? That's why every neighboring school district has upgraded their ventilation or installed affordable, portable HEPA filters in classrooms to give kids clean air. And, even if you're not worried about your kids and COVID, higher transmission puts all students at risk of quarantines and schools closures, and we want our kids in class!

Aren't HEPA filters expensive?

No! The portable HEPA filters used by Scarsdale sell for less than $540. Plenty of other great options exist in this price range. The board wants to spend more for one outdoor classroom than it would cost to provide clean air for every single classroom in the district.