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newsrel -- California Cleans Up Indoor Air Cleaners

Posted: 27 Sep 2007 14:30:57
Please consider the following Air Resources Board press release
announcing the board's decision to regulate the emission of
ozone from indoor air purifiers.  You can review the release
online at:
Thank You
Dimitri Stanich


Release 07-39
September 27, 2007
Dimitri Stanich
(916) 322-2990 

California cleans up indoor air cleaners

Devices emit ozone, a gas known to create and exacerbate
respiratory problems

SACRAMENTO: Today, the California Air Resources Board adopted
the nation's first regulation to prohibit indoor air cleaners
from emitting more than 0.050 parts per million of ozone.

Some air cleaning devices, called ozone generators, have been
shown to produce indoor ozone concentrations several times
higher than the state's outdoor air quality standard. CARB's new
regulation prohibits the sale of devices in California that
produce enough ozone to harm human health. The standard of .050
parts per million will assure that concentrations remain below
that level. Some devices exceeding these levels may be exempted
but only for industrial use and where exposures are already

There are many types of air cleaners using a variety of
technologies to remove pollutants from the air in homes and
offices. Some produce ozone intentionally and others as a by
product of the electronics. The law mandating CARB act, Assembly
Bill 2276 signed into law in the autumn of 2006 targeted those
consumer devices that produce large amounts of ozone.

"People with respiratory problems need to be protected from
ozone," said Mary Nichols, Chairman of the Air Resources Board.
"Consumers bought these devices hoping to reduce suffering for
themselves or a loved one, only to make the situation worse."

An ARB-funded survey by the University of California at
Berkeley, found that in the last five years 50 percent of
California households that purchased air cleaners did so to
address asthma and allergy problems. Forty five percent of those
homes included children.

Ozone is the main ingredient of smog and is the primary target
of numerous local, state, and federal health-protective
measures. Very low exposure is tolerable to humans but at higher
levels adverse and even dangerous health effects can result. Much
research and analysis has led California to establish an outdoor
ozone standard of 0.070 parts per million over an 8-hour period,
and 0.090 parts per million over a one-hour period. Exposure
beyond this level can lead to lung inflammation and impaired
functioning, coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath,
worsening asthma symptoms, hospitalization due to respiratory
issues, and potentially death. The new regulation will prevent
this type of dangerous exposures to an estimated 500,000

Some manufacturers of ozone generators have argued that ozone
has the ability to reduce levels of indoor air pollutants.
Research has shown that the opposite is true. Ozone reacts with
certain indoor chemicals to form ultra fine particles, which are
respiratory irritants, and formaldehyde, a known human
carcinogen. Manufacturers also alleged that ozone reduces odors
and kills mold and bacteria in the air. However, while ozone can
react with some odorous chemicals, it also irritates nasal
passages and degrades one's sense of smell, thereby masking the
smell rather than eliminating it. Ozone can kill microbes in the
air but only at concentrations roughly 100 times greater than the
amount allowable by this regulation.

Michael T. Kleinman, a professor of Environmental Medicine at
the University of California at Irvine, supports the board's
actions, "Ozone is associated with human deaths. It can cause
irreversible changes such as fibrosis-like stiffening of the
lung." Kleinman added, "In my opinion, the use of an
ozone-generating device as an indoor air cleaner is dangerous,
especially if occupants already have lung or heart diseases, or
are elderly."

The new CARB regulation also requires all air cleaners pass an
electrical safety test to prevent fire hazards. They must also
carry a specified label on packaging that helps consumers
identify acceptable CARB-certified air cleaners. Any air
cleaning device designed for use in a single room, a whole
house, an entire floor in a multi-story commercial building,
inside cars, as well as "personal air purifiers" worn around an
individual's neck is subject to this regulation.

For more information go to ARB's website:

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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