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.
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