My six-year-old daughter has suffered from severe asthma and allergies since birth. It is for this reason that my husband convinced me to purchase an Eco Quest Breeze Ionic Air Filter, which retails for around $800. Over the past month or so I have developed a persistent cough and headache, while my four-year old son has started having nosebleeds, and we have lost several of our African Cichlid fish. One of the things we noticed were our fish gathering at the top of the tank, and they appeared to be gasping for air. About two weeks ago our family took a weekend trip out of town, amazingly my headache and cough disappeared. This got us to wondering could something in the house be making us sick? After ruling out several other triggers, we started wondering if it could be our air purifier. After doing some research, I was horrified to learn that the air purifier that was marketed to us to improve the health of our daughter was actually linked to more severe health problems.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ionic air purifiers can produce ozone, a major component of smog. Even at low levels exposure to ozone can trigger a variety of different health problems, including chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath, and throat irritation. This can lead to aggravated asthma and increased susceptibility to respiratory illness. One study even concludes that exposure to ozone can even contribute to the development of asthma. In addition, healthy people, as well as those prone to respiratory problems can suffer health problems due to exposure to ozone. Now isn’t that ironic? These same ionic air purifiers are being sold to consumers like me to help prevent asthma symptoms, or at least that is what the manufacturers claim. So how does a product that the EPA states can aggravate asthma help to prevent asthma?
The manufacturers of these air purifiers often falsely claim that they eliminate bacteria, mold, and chemical contaminants from the air. According to studies by the USEPA and the Consumers Union show that these air purifiers do not effectively destroy microbes, remove odor sources, or reduce indoor pollutants enough to provide consumers with any health benefits. The ozone that these air purifiers emit often deadens an individual’s sense of smell, masking the odor of these indoor pollutants.
While many state and federal agencies are fighting the manufacturers of these ionic air purifiers, in an effort to protect the health of the public, it is proving futile due to the fact that no one agency has been given the authority to control the ozone admissions from these devices. In the meantime the Air Resources Board (ARB) is trying to actively educate the public concerning the negative health effects of these devices.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has developed a list of air purifiers that it has found to emit potentially harmful levels of ozone, and should be avoided. The CARB also notes that exclusion from the list should not be construed as an endorsement, and that devices not listed here may still emit harmful levels of ozone. It should also be noted that the CARB advises against the use of any air purifier that produces ozone.
Here is a copy of the CARB’s list of air purifiers to avoid, this list was last updated on May 5, 2006:
Air-Zone (All models)
XT-120, XT-240, XT-400, XT-800
Airdow (ADA Electrotech Co., Ltd.)
ADA 388, ADA 311, ADA 703, 704, 705, 706, 708, 728, 729, 739
Alpine (Certain models)
Living Air Classic, XL-15, Living Air BreezeAT, LA1, LA2, Peak, Flair
Applied Ozone Systems (Most models)
APSNA – Air & Water Purification Systems North America (All
FA1, C3, BAT, F2
Aqua Sun Ozone International (Certain models)
202A, 308, 206-A, Kleenair 2500R, 217A, 2500, 100
Aran Aqua Pollution Control Systems
SS-Series Aranizers (SS-1, SS-3X, SS-4X, SS-6, SS-8, SS-10)
NS-Series Aranizers (NS-3, NS-5, NS-6, NS-8, NS-10)
Sun Aire Air Purifier
EdenPURE Area Air Purifier
Biozone (All models)
50, 102, 500, 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000
Breathe Pure (Merazon Health Products, Inc.)
Cliff Scott Enterprises (All models)
CSE 100, CSE 101
CD-200, CD-100, CD-120, CD-210, CD-2120, CD-2200
Crystal Air (All models)
Pro (700, 3400-1), Multizone 280, Pro 420
Csonka (All models)
Original Air Care, Super Air Care, Pro Air Care
EcoQuest (Most models)
Fresh Air, Living Air Classic, Breeze AT, Flaire, Fresh Air To Go
Ecozone (Hong Kong)
H-50, XL-250 SH, TS-50, M10
Enaly (Most models)
OZX-A200B, OZX-A500B, OZX-A3500, OZX-A700
HealthWay Home Products, Inc.
Healthway Air Deodorizer
Jenesco (All models)
DC-12, PT101, PT101W, PT109, PT109W
King Air & Water Purification Corp.
1004A, 1004, 1004SP
Lenntech (All models)
ZipZone, EnviroPro (420, 700, 3400, 3600, 3600-5)
Matsutek Enterprises Co., Ltd.
ION737, AR-150, CA-320, CA-721
Merazon Health Products, Inc.
see Breathe Pure
Nature’s Air (compare LightningAir, Spring Air) (Only model)
Odatus (All models)
Ozone Environmental Technologies
Uvonair (1000, 3000, 5000)
Ozone Solutions (All models)
MZ-280, OMZ-420, OMZ-700, OMZ-1000, OUV-550, OMZ-2500
Peak Pure Air
Peak O3 Air Purifier
Prozone (All models)
The Prozone (Purifier), Whole House Twister, PZ6-AIR, Whole House
Air & Surface Purifier
Pure ‘n Natural (Certain models)
OZ-2000 ( Odor Zapper ), Sani-Mate AS-250-B
Quantum Pure Aire
AccuAire, ALS-1500, ALS-3000, RMS-100, ClassicAire (CS-1000, CS-
2000, CS-3500), XP-350
Queenaire Technologies, Inc.
QT Storm, QT Thunder, QT Thunder-24, QT Tornado, QT Cyclone,
Rain Fresh Air
RainbowAir (All models)
Newaire Plug In, Activator (250, 500, 1000)
SpringAir (Certain models)
see Better Living
SurroundAir (Certain models)
Taoture International Enterprises, Inc. (Most models)
SBR-1, SBH-1, C12-1, C12-U1
Trump Electronic Company
TP-2, TP-3, TP-4, TP-6
Windchaser (Certain models)
IF-1, IF-2, IMC-1
Perfect Air Plug-In, PA 100, PA 200, PA 300, O3 Air Purification