At least one state has stepped up to defend consumers from false marketing claims that ozone generators are safe, effective air purifiers. In reality, ozone is a lung irritant, especially harmful to allergy and asthma sufferers. California is the first state in the nation to ban ozone generators.
The Air Resources Board of the California Environmental Protection Agency states:
Not all air-cleaning devices are appropriate for home use — some can be harmful to human health. The ARB recommends that ozone generators, air cleaners that intentionally produce ozone, not be used in the home. Ozone is a gas that can cause health problems, including respiratory tract irritation and breathing difficulty.
The new regulations take effect in 2009, and they will ban the sale of air purifiers that emit more than 0.05 parts per million of ozone. The ARB says that anything beyond this is enough to harm human health; however, some experts say that there is no safe level of ozone.
Other devices like copying machines may emit ozone, too. See Air Pollution in the Office Environment to learn more.
If you’re shopping for an air purifier, it’s best to avoid ozone generators, especially if you have a respiratory condition. Ironically, too many companies market ozone generators to the people who are most prone to the effects of ozone. Ozone generators, and ionic air cleaners that emit ozone, can actually cause asthma attacks.
To be safe, choose a safe air purifier with HEPA filtration. HEPA filters are guaranteed to remove 99.97% of all particles 0.3 microns or larger – virtually all household allergens – and they don’t pollute the air with ozone.