There are air-purifiers claiming the effect of ozone in elevating in house air quality. Believe it or not, not all air cleaning devices are appropriate for home use – some air purifiers emit ozone that can be harmful to your health. Air purifiers are ineffective if they are producing ozone in your home as they work to purify the air. Ozone is a molecule composed of three atoms of oxygen. Two atoms of oxygen form the basic oxygen molecule that is essential to the air we breathe. The third oxygen molecule can re-attach to molecules of other substances and alter their chemical composition. Ozone is an important ingredient of smog and is a highly reactive and unstable gas. When inhaled, ozone can damage the linings of the respiratory tract. Symptoms include chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath and throat irritation. Ozone is especially harmful for those with chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma and compromise the ability of the body to fight respiratory infections.
Which air purifiers should I avoid?
It is important to avoid ozone generators and ionizing air purifiers. These air purifiers send out a stream of negative ions that attract pollutants and become too heavy to remain airborne. The contaminants are removed from the air but do not leave the room and are not captured on the air purifiers collection plates or filters. They fall to the floor, land on walls, and are easily put back in the air. Ozone generators and ionizing air purifiers would be very effective if they did not pose a health threat. The biggest factor about these air purifiers is the ozone that they emit. The EPA has warned consumers against using ozone generators, and states in recent experiments ionizers were found to be less effective in removing particles of dust, tobacco smoke, pollen, or fungal spores than high-efficiency particle filters (HEPA).
What other methods can be used to control indoor air pollution?
- Source Control: Eliminate or control the sources of pollution. This is the most effective way in protecting your health from air pollutants.
- Ventilation: Dilute and exhaust pollutants through air ventilation.
- Air purification: Remove pollutants with air cleaning methods. Air purifiers using HEPA or activated carbon filters to not emit ozone and purify up to 99.97% of contaminants in the air. HEPA works to purify dust, pollen, allergens and activated carbon filters work to purify odor, cigarette smoke, and chemical gases. Together they are able to remove the majority of contaminants that are airborne.
The concentration of ozone would have to greatly exceed health standards to be effective in removing most indoor air contaminants. In the process of reacting to chemicals indoors, ozone can produce other chemicals that themselves can be irritating and corrosive. Although some reviews say that the ozone produced by electrostatic air cleaners is safe for those in normal good health, both the EPA and American Lung Association advise against using these devices, because there are many ozone-free high-efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) models on the market. It is advised to use proven methods of controlling air pollution.
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