Teenager’s Research Exposes Harmful Air Cleaners

At just 14 years of age, Otana Jakpor of Riverside, CA has already received a scientific award from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), after showing that ozone-producing air cleaners actually harm the lungs.

The teenager got the idea for her science project after reading a Consumer Reports article which warned that several types of air cleaners emit harmful levels of ozone. Ozone aggravates asthma and other respiratory conditions. Consumer Reports, however, did not test how the machines affect humans.

That’s where Jakpor stepped up. Her mother has asthma, and she used her mother’s spirometer to measure the lung strength and capacity of people exposed to air from ozone air cleaners. She found that subjects had reduced lung function after exposure to ozone. Those affected the most were people who had asthma, who suffered an 11 percent drop in lung function after two hours in a room with an air cleaner that generate ozone.

(Ionic Breeze and Oreck air cleaners are two popular brands that have been shown to emit ozone.)

“I had science experimentation parties,” Jakpor told The Press-Enterprise. She measured lung function of friends and family as they arrived, then turned on an ozone generator and took measurements again in two hours. “We’d make cookies and watch movies. In the summer, we’d make sundaes.”

Jakpor presented her research to the California Air Resources Board, and the board has since voted to ban the sale air purifiers that emit harmful levels of ozone.

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