Using a clean air purifier is an effective way to alleviate allergies and reduce the number of air pollutants in your home. Unfortunately, not all clean air purifiers are created equal, and if you’re not careful you may end up buying a unit that emits ozone—a harmful molecule linked to health complications and faster aging.
This article explains why ozone is harmful and how to select a clean air purifier that does not emit this damaging molecule. While some companies design air purifiers that do not emit ozone such as Blueair, many purifiers do, which is why it is important to research before you buy a new air purifier.
What is Ozone?
Ozone is a naturally occurring molecule that performs a positive role in the atmosphere by regulating the Earth’s temperature. However, closer to the ground, ozone can be found in emissions from cars, factories, and chemical plants and can have considerable health consequences when breathed in on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, many clean air purifiers on the market emit ozone as a part of the air purification process. You can smell the ozone associated with these purifiers. Because ozone is an inherently unstable molecule, with its extra oxygen atom (ozone is O3) and extra electron, it can bond to pollutants in the air. Some manufacturers claim ozone can neutralize air pollutants and act as a type of air filter.
While this may be true to some extent, the fact that ozone can also bond to atoms in our body that we need makes it harmful, which can counteract any beneficial filtering properties these units may have.
Health Consequences Associated with Ozone Inhalation
Many studies have shown negative health consequences associated with long-term exposure to ozone. Since ozone is unstable, it bonds to organic material in your body thus causing considerable health complications.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a strict limit on ozone in the air and generated a list of some of the complications that can arise due to prolonged exposure to ozone, including:
• sore throat
• chest pain, heart attack
• shortness of breath, asthma, pulmonary problems
• inflammation of the lungs
• faster aging
Ozone can also exacerbate underlying health conditions such as asthma and reduce the body’s ability to fight off respiratory infections. Furthermore, the EPA warns that lung damage from ozone inhalation can occur even if symptoms are not immediately apparent. As a result, it is important to reduce one’s exposure to ozone as much as possible.
In light of this information, you should research carefully when buying an air purifier to ensure you are not buying one that emits ozone. It’s also advisable to choose an air purifier from a company that has received ratings from third-parties such as the EPA or the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.
Finding a Safer Air Purifier
Blueair, for example, is a Swedish manufacturer of air purifiers that is conscious of the health implications of ozone inhalation, and does not create air purifiers that emit ozone. Blue air has received endorsements from the EPA (through its Energy Star program) and the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers so you can be assured of the validity of its claims.
All Blue air purifiers are ionizing air purifiers and none of them produce ozone. Not only do they contain ionizers, but the higher end models employ three filters—electrostatic, carbon and HEPA-grade filter technologies. When you decide to install Blueair’s optional SmokeStop filter in the Blue air units, you can filter out unwanted odors as well (something ionizing air purifiers are unable to do).
Blueair air purifiers are comprehensive air purification units which remove indoor air pollutants and allergens without emitting harmful ozone.
When selecting a new purifier for your home, it is important to consider both how well it filters the air and whether or not it emits ozone. To maximize your air quality, you would be well-advised to find a company like Blueair which has been reviewed by third-party rating agencies.