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newsrel -- Consumer alert: Some so-called air purifiers generate dangerous indoor ozone levels

Posted: 01 Dec 2008 14:12:12
Ozone can not "clean" indoor air. 

December 1, 2008
Dimitri Stanich

Consumer alert:
Some so-called air purifiers generate dangerous indoor ozone

SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board is warning
consumers this holiday season to not 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

"Consumers should take care when considering purchase of an air
cleaning device," said ARB Chairman 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.

Recently the sale of these devices became regulated by the ARB
in order to protect public health. 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
ARB 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. Information on these approaches is available at:
http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/indoor/indoor.htm .

Persons still wishing to use an air cleaner should look for
models that use high-efficiency pleated filters, known as HEPA
filters, or electrostatic precipitators that do not emit high
amounts of ozone. Guidance for selecting air cleaners, including
ratings in Consumer Reports articles and ARB's fact sheet
entitled "Air Cleaning Devices for the Home: Frequently Asked
Questions," are accessible at:
http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/indoor/ozone.htm .

Further, a list of air cleaners to avoid is available at:
http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/indoor/o3g-list.htm .

More information about ozone-emitting air cleaners and the Air
Resources Board regulation can be seen at
or call the ARB indoor air hotline at 916-322-8282.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California
Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and
protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through
effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and
considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air
pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain
health based air quality standards.


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