Evaluation of Ozone Emissions From Indoor Air Purifiers

Abstract:

Public concern about indoor air has resulted in a growing market for the sale of devices to reduce indoor pollution and improve indoor air quality. Several manufacturers are marketing ozone generators ─ appliances labeled as indoor “air purifiers” or “air cleaners” that intentionally generate ozone, the primary component of smog. The limited research available shows that these devices can emit large quantities of ozone, resulting in indoor ozone concentrations well above the health-based state and federal ambient air quality standards for ozone. At elevated levels, ozone can cause difficulty breathing, exacerbate asthma, and damage the lungs in sensitive individuals.

Due to concern about potential unhealthful ozone exposures, Air Resources Board (ARB) staff tested four models of ozone generators to measure the room concentrations that would result through the use of these devices and obtain current emissions data. Several manufacturers of ozone generators have stepped up the marketing of their products in California and the U.S. in recent years, taking out full-page advertisements in major city newspapers and developing extensive websites. They generally claim that their products produce “safe” ozone levels that remove indoor air pollutants such as particles, gases, allergens, viruses, odorous compounds, mold, and bacteria. Ozone has no effect on most pollutants, kills mold only at much higher levels, and reacts with some gases to produce significant increases in other pollutants, such as formaldehyde and ultrafine particles, also harmful to health.

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