Are Ozone Generating Air Purifiers Effective At Removing Indoor Air Pollutants?
Some companies are touting Ozone Generators as cure-alls for indoor air pollution. Intentionally filling your living space with Ozone will make your home smell like a “ fresh mountain breeze,” is the claim. Many consumers have purchased ozone generators hoping to remove mold, mildew, odors, and bacteria, or other biological pollutants from homes and basements after flooding etc. Manufacturers of air purifiers have used names “activated oxygen,” “super oxygen,” and “saturated oxygen” to describe Ozone.
But what is Ozone exactly?
Ozone, or O3, is a molecule made up of three oxygen atoms. These three oxygen atoms form a toxic gas that is highly reactive with other gases in the air. Atmospheric Ozone found high up in the “Ozone Layer” is quite helpful, and protects us by shielding us from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Ground level Ozone often called smog is not helpful and can cause a variety of health problems.
The Effects of Ozone on the Body
Ozone as a toxic gas is very harmful to the lungs. Exposure to ozone can lead to trouble breathing, inflammation in the lungs and lining of the respiratory tract. Long-term exposure can lead to permanent lung damage, and less resistance to respiratory disease.
Symptoms of Ozone exposure include coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness/pain. People with Asthma can experience attacks, and worsened symptoms. People with chronic health conditions increase their chances of dying with repeated exposure to high levels of Ozone.
How Effective Is Ozone At Removing Indoor Contaminants?
Scientific studies have demonstrated that Ozone does very little to counteract indoor contaminants except at extremely unsafe levels. In fact at FDA approved levels Ozone does little to purify air, remove dust and pollen, or kill bacteria, viruses, or mold despite advertising hype made by manufacturers.
Ozone Generators Actually Increase Indoor Air Pollution
Far from removing household contaminants, ozone actually combines with common household chemicals to produce formaldehyde. The levels of ozone produced by some air purifiers in EPA tests were actually equal to a Level One Smog Alert.
What are safe ways to eliminate indoor air pollutants?
Eliminating or controlling pollutant sources of moisture, chemicals, and bacteria at the source is always the best option. Increasing ventilation from the outdoors can be a big help. Using HEPA filters in heating, and air systems can remove a lot of pollutants, and allergens from air. Also, air purifiers have been proven safe and effective as an indoor air pollution solution.
Ozone Generator Fast Facts
- Ozone is not Oxygen but actually closer to Smog
- Ozone has proven to be harmful to respiratory health
- Ozone has not been proven to eliminate pollutants
- Learn More at The EPA Ozone FAQ or Connecticut Department of Public Health
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