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Toxins in Air Purifiers and Air Cleaners

Nowadays air purifiers have become common in offices and homes. The marketplace is overflowing with products claiming to use various technologies, including activated carbon, HEPA filters, ion generators, UV light, and ozone generators. But did you know that air purifiers can actually cause damage to our bodies? It’s true. Toxins emitted from air purifiers are known to cause a number of health related ailments, primarily affecting our respiratory system.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as many states have conducted scientific studies on the health effects of air purifiers and air cleaners. The results of their analysis show that many air purifiers, especially those that utilize ozone emitting technology, are hazardous to our health. Their analysis also shows that such health problems typically arise out of improper manufacturing, installation or use.

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Ozone, the primary catalyst used in many air purifiers to neutralize atmospheric impurities is also found in smog as a by product of burning coal, gasoline, and other fuels. Although this is not well publicized by manufacturers of air purifiers, ozone is toxic to our bodies. Additionally, ozone molecules are unstable and do not react with some harmful toxins, such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde, thus allowing impurities to remain in the air.

The EPA has issued various articles and guidelines outlining the use of ozone for air purification. According to the EPA, exposure to ozone can cause respiratory distress, reduced lung capacity, irritation of the throat, cough, chest pain, and shortness of breath. Probably the most dangerous aspect of ozone toxicity is that many times, these symptoms are not visible until the situation becomes critical.

In addition to ozone, the poor manufacturing, faulty installation or improper use of air purifiers can result in recirculation of the impurities in the atmosphere. Although manufacturers may boast about their products being “maintenance free” for 3-5 years, users must check filters for blockages and debris at least once-per-month and, whenever necessary, replace the filters immediately.

To help offset some of the health issues related to improper maintenance, the EPA recommends purchasing air purifiers which use a combination of mechanical and electronic technologies. This way, a wide spectrum of toxins (solid particles, mites, microbes, pollen, gases, etc.) are cleaned through a more effective multi-stage filtration process.

To learn more about the use of ozone generators, visit the Environmental Protection Agency website at