Air Board warns consumers about air purifiers
The California Air Resources Board has issued a warning to consumers not to purchase air purifiers or air cleaning devices that intentionally generate ozone.
Consumers may unknowingly purchase these “ozone generators” from advertisers touting the so-called benefits of “activated oxygen” that can make the air inside your home “as fresh as the outdoors after a thunderstorm.” Ozone, a well-known component of smog, has been extensively studied and the harmful effects well documented.
“Consumers should take care when considering purchase of an air cleaning device,” said Air Board Chair Mary Nichols, “Beware of misleading advertisements offering air purifiers that are simply indoor smog-making machines.”
Ozone generators are capable of emitting enough ozone indoors to far exceed outdoor health standards and can intentionally create the equivalent of a Stage 1 smog alert inside your home. These devices pump a well-known air pollutant into people’s homes putting everyone at risk, especially the most vulnerable among us, including the young, elderly, and infirm.
The devices can produce potentially harmful levels of ozone that can worsen asthma, cause serious lung inflammation, decrease lung function, and lead to hospitalization for respiratory conditions, emergency room visits for asthma, and increased school absences.
Air cleaners are currently being tested to assure they do not emit harmful levels of ozone; however, testing of air cleaners by certified laboratories is expected to take up to two years, during which time high ozone-emitting devices can still be sold. For that reason, the Air Resources Board recommends consumers avoid the purchase of any air cleaner for home or office that intentionally emits ozone.
The best and most effective way to avoid indoor air pollution problems is to remove the sources of the pollution or prevent emissions to begin with. Improving fresh-air ventilation is also helpful.
For a list of purifiers to avoid, visit www.arb.ca.gov/research/indoor/o3g-list.htm.